Tag Archives: Viceland

Viceland’s Funny How? dissects the art of standup comedy

I listen to a daily podcast from former radio show hosts Humble & Fred. The pair, in addition to discussing the latest news of the day and dissecting their lives, often have standup comedians in to promote their latest shows and talk a little shop. I’m always fascinated when a comedian drops by because, quite often, discussion turns to writing and the mechanics of standup. I love that kind of insight. What makes a person want to get up in front of a room of strangers and attempt to make them laugh?

That’s all covered in Viceland’s latest original series, Funny How? Debuting Monday and broadcast all week long at 11:30 p.m. ET on the channel, Funny How? trails Canadian Kliph Nesteroff, former comic and author of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy, as he discusses all things standup with the folks who do it every day.

The debut instalment, “The Art of the Bomb,” delves into exactly that … bombing on stage. Nesteroff shares his own experiences, rattling off numerous Toronto clubs where he crapped out, and chatting with folks like Dave Attell, Mike Birbiglia, Artie Lange and Chris Robinson, who recall their first time bombing with an audience. But what makes this episode, and Funny How? in general, so interesting is its analysis of standup comedy. What, exactly, does it mean to bomb on stage? Is it merely that your jokes don’t work, or does the audience play a part in it too? And how does failing on stage help in one’s evolution as a standup comic? As Attell says, failing on-stage doesn’t just happen in the beginning of your career; it can derail a veteran too.

Upcoming episodes cover breaking in, comedy classes, and niche comedy from the LGBTQ community to Christian comics. If you’re a visitor to comedy clubs, a fan of standup comedy or just marvel in the fact folks have the guts to do it as a hobby or career, give Funny How? a peek.

Funny How? airs Monday, July 10, to Friday, July 14, at 11:30 p.m. ET on Viceland.

Image courtesy of Rogers.


Viceland to explore fringe science with Director X’s Mister Tachyon

From a media release:

VICE Studio Canada and Rogers Media today announced the start of production on Mister Tachyon, an original, 10-part documentary series for VICELAND, created by renowned Toronto-born director, Director X. The series is currently filming across Canada, with additional broadcast details to be announced at a later date.

The series follows fictional character Mister Tachyon, born invisible due to his scientist father’s experiments. In a quest to reverse his invisibility, Mister Tachyon studies the fringes of science searching for a cure. From examining whether the earth’s magnetic field is secretly shaping our lives, to explorations around the power of thoughts to change the biology of people, Mister Tachyon tackles a range of questions by conducting real experiments with real people to determine if there’s any truth to the strangest and most controversial topics in science today.

One of the most prolific music video directors working today, Director X has created innovative, career-defining videos for such artists as Drake (including the massive “Hotline Bling,” “Started from the Bottom,” and the award-winning “Worst Behavior”), Rihanna (namely her 2016 smash-hit “Work” ), Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, and Sean Paul. Last year marked Director X’s feature directorial debut with Across the Line, a drama about a young black hockey player navigating racial divides in small-town Nova Scotia. Mister Tachyon will be Director X’s first original television series.


Link: Innovative comedy Nirvanna the Band the Show is ambitious in its amateurism

From Bill Harris of Postmedia Network:

Link: Innovative comedy Nirvanna the Band the Show is ambitious in its amateurism
There are eight episodes of the new TV series Nirvanna The Band The Show. I have seen four of them.

So how does one describe a project that spells Nirvanna with an extra “N”?

Hmmm … let’s see … you know, it’s on days like this that my ability to sum up TV shows in a few simple words really is pushed to the test. Continue reading.


Link: Nirvanna the Band’s wild Toronto antics are supremely funny

From Jake Howell of the Toronto Star:

Link: Nirvanna the Band’s wild Toronto antics are supremely funny
Of all the legendary concert venues in Toronto, Nirvanna the Band frontmen Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol are interested in playing a show at only one: the Rivoli, a Queen St. W. club known these days for its standup comedy scene and cavernous pool hall.

In fact, playing a show at the Rivoli is entirely the premise of Nirvanna the Band the Show, Johnson and McCarrol’s hilarious new “semi-scripted” television series that’s to debut weekly on Viceland on Feb. 2 and on City in March. Continue reading.


Rick McCrank explores empty lots in Viceland’s Abandoned

Growing up in Brantford, Ont., there were lots of abandoned places to check out. There was one just a short bike ride away from my house, a crumbling house hidden in a forest and purportedly haunted. My friends and I stayed well away from the place—even during the day—more because it was tumbledown and disused than reports of ghosts. (That came years later, in an empty sanitarium next to the Trailer Park Boys set.)

In Abandoned, debuting Friday on Viceland, Vancouver skateboard legend Rick McCrank boogies right on into empty places to check them out. In the first episode of 10 of the Canadian original, “Ghost Mall,” McCrank enters what used to be Randall Park Mall in Cleveland. As McCrank explains, the area the mall was in used to enjoy strong economic times, but those are long gone.

McCrank doesn’t just shuffle through darkened hallways filled with dusty old benches and broken glass; he gives a nice history on the modern shopping mall, a creation born in 1950s America, gleaming, convenient spots where families could spend hours dropping money on clothes, electronics, housewares, food—the sky was the limit—all under one roof. Shopping malls hit their stride in the 80s, a ubiquitous sight in cities. But the good times ended when online shopping became more popular, and the sprawling complexes began to close.

Accompanied by photographer Seph Lawless, who captured images inside for his book Black Friday—The Collapse of the America Shopping Mall, McCrank wanders around Randall Park Mall, observing not only the decay but how quickly nature is reclaiming the land with life.

Two things struck me as I watched “Ghost Mall.” The first was how misty-eyed folks got remembering the time they spent in these now-shuttered behemoths. The second? How I totally related to what they felt. Growing up as a child of the 80s, I spent copious time in my local Lynden Park Mall, poking around Coles bookstore, Sunrise Records or sitting in the food court hanging out with friends. Lynden Park Mall is still there—it’s changed a lot on the inside—but I still get that pull in my heart when I drive by.

I guess that’s the point of a show like Abandoned. McCrank tours defunct properties around Canada and the U.S., showing how life rolls on while milestones of the past crumble. Upcoming episodes find McCrank in east coast fishing towns, empty schools in St. Louis and flooded missile silos in the Pacific Northwest.

Abandoned airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Viceland.

Image courtesy of Rogers.