From left: Muhami, Thiara, Leduc, Hughes Bottom: Dobbs
Photo by Kelly Whiteside

Molly Barrieau
The Navigator

In the candlelit basement of the ACMe Food Co. restaurant, five young men took to the small stage the night of Friday, February 7 to perform the second show of their Vancouver Island Comedy Tour. The hilarious tour showcases just a few of the up-and-coming comedians that call the Island their home.

The culturally diverse group has already performed half of their tour of Vancouver Island, beginning in Duncan on Thursday, February 6.

Sirtaj Thiara, the producer and opener of the tour, stepped onto the one-person stage wearing an Oakland Raiders Letterman and baggy sweats. He sipped his beer between jokes, bringing the ever-changing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to his docket with his combination of Canada’s most popular truck and the drunk politician as the “Rob Ford super-duty 1500”­—the new truck “runs on alcohol and always has crack in the windshield.”

“This is my second set ever,” jokes Thiara, a VIU student whose three-and-a-half year career as a comic brought him to this tour. Throughout the evening, he was comfortably laughing at his own jokes and cheering on his comrades from the bar.

The MC and host, Tyler Hughes, kept the audience smiling between sets with varied quips, from “the five ways to tell if she’s Native” to “why sloths would make great pets,” explaining that sloths are just “really slow monkeys with swords on their hands” and clawing at the air. Hughes is an aspiring actor, working on small projects with APTN. His very short stint on the Canadian show Arctic Air as an extra has become the butt-end of his jokes, blaming the unfortunate cast-off to a bee-sting.

Curran Dobbs followed in a mismatched suit and growing beard. He began his set with a self-deprecating acoustic song about his comedy career and its difficult earnings, addressing the audience as “ladies and everyone else.” Peering at the audience between his hair and glasses, Dobbs showed his love for creating puns with his version of a turtle’s death as “rigortortoise.” He compares himself to Rain Man, only cooler—“I’m like Snow Man.”

Michael Muhami, the last comedian of the night, attributes his comfortable approach on stage to “lots of practice and repetition.” Muhami, who began stand-up last summer, ended the Nanaimo show on a high note, with the audience in agreement with his stories as a cashier at Safeway and his constant confusion about vegetables and their specific codes, explaining that the worst people to see at the register were “white guys with dreadlocks—they love fruits and veggies.”

“We just want to spread the humour,” said Hughes. The core group of guys will continue together, hoping to create more shows, hosting at more venues as it happens. Other comedians appearing on the tour include Phil Leduc, Mikey Dubs, Daryl Shaw, Naveed Aziz, and Nick Schols.

Go! Island promoted the tour on January 30, interviewing two of the comedians, with Hughes climbing a lamppost in the background and Thiara’s contagious laugh filling the interview from the back-and-forth banter between the friends.

The comedic group will be in Port Alberni at the Rainbow Room on February 22 and back in Victoria on March 2. Tickets are $10, available at the door. More information is available on the Vancouver Island Comedy Tour and Taj Inc. Facebook pages.