FAQ

Thank you for visiting our website! Perhaps you have a burning question about West End Girls. Hopefully, you can find the answer here.

 

When and where are your shows, anyway?

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Our show usually lives at Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West, downstairs, just West of Ossington) one Saturday night a month (usually the 2nd Saturday, but check the Comedy Bar website calendar for up-to-date listings). We love this because Comedy Bar has been voted #1 Comedy Club in Toronto by readers of NOW and The Grid many times over, and we agree.

 

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I’m an aspiring comic but I’ve never (or hardly ever) done stand-up. I’m also a girl, so your room sounds like a good place to start. Can I get a spot?

Yes, but if you’re that new you will more than likely have to wait for one of our special VIRGIN SUICIDES edition shows where we sacrifice virgins to the comedy gods. These shows happen twice a year – around Easter and Day of the Dead – and feature women taking the mic for the very first time, or women who have been doing stand-up for less than a year and have never played a West End Girls show.  If you’ve done a little bit of comedy – even at school – send me a link to one of your five-minute sets. If I see that, or if I see you live, and I’m blown away, I will possibly insist on sneaking you onto one of our regular shows.

 

I’m NOT new and I want to play your room.  How long will it take for me to get on the show?
Good question, sistergirlfriend!  That depends on a number of factors.  I program each show specifically with an arc of varying energies and styles over the course of an evening, and I’m pretty proud of my programming abilities. So, if I’ve never seen your act tell me something about it. Or better yet, show me! Send me a link or invite me to your show. I might wait to put you on to fit you into a lineup that I think is more fun in relation to your work. In general, the shows book up a few months in advance, so normally you won’t get on right away.

 

I don’t do “stand-up” in the traditional sense.  Can I still play your room?

At West End Girls, we embrace many different forms of comedy. Except mime. A mime would just get cut in the mean streets of Toronto anyone, and no one wants invisible blood all over the floor.

We’ve had clowns, excerpts from one-woman shows, solo character pieces, musical comedy, stand-up duos, improvised stand-up, and spoken word. Anything goes that can potentially make us laugh! I regret that we can rarely accommodate sketch troupes or group acts  of more than two people.

 

I’m a boy comic and I’d like to be on your show. I am hilarious. PROGRAM ME!

Hi, guy I’ve never heard of! I appreciate that the aggressive tone in your email stems from the fact that comedy is a cutthroat world and you’re just a guy trying to make it in the big city.

Because it’s really hard for men to get stage time in Toronto, I do program ONE token boy spot per show, so that means only 12 Token Boy spots per year. But those 12 better be REALLY funny because audiences tend to tune out when men are talking.

I am SO KIDDING, of course! But it is true that there are only 12 spots a year for those who identify as male, and I have to say that the tone in the emails I get from guys asking for spots is, more often than not, overly cocky. Just like with dating, my advice is: approach a woman with respect and be cool and you’ll get more play.

The whole point of this room is to give women more stage time. The fact that you have to wait longer than women to get on the show should give you a wee glimpse into what it’s like for a female comic who has wait months to get on at a club because they only program one or two women out of 12 on an amateur or pro-am night. In other words, nice to meet you and welcome to our world!

P.S. You may have heard rumours about me once upon a time allowing a certain male comic to do the show in drag. It’s all true.. but how could I resist? Cliffordina Meyerina rocks a mumu!
OK, so I identify as a male comic and you’ve never heard of me. Sorry for swinging my dick around like I’m the next Louis CK. Will you PLEASE program me anyway?

Possibly! I need to familiarize myself with your work, though. This isn’t an open mic, it’s a programmed show, which is part of the reason we have such a loyal following and such good street cred. I go to a lot of comedy shows, so if you get around and are really funny, chances are high I’ll see you live and approach you about doing a future show with us. Or, just send me a link to one of your sets. I promise I’ll watch. I like to watch.

The boys I program on West End Girls include: my favourite comics, award-winners, men who run rooms that program women in decent numbers, and men who come to our shows. Sexual favours may also be taken into consideration (don’t judge me – I only make out with people who make me laugh anyway).

 

Where are all these comics writing to you for stage time, anyway?

daniela@westendgirls.ca is the best place to do that.

 

If I come see the show, will I hear man-hating jokes and period jokes?

Maybe, but it’s highly doubtful.  In the six-year history of our room so far, I have heard exactly five period jokes, and one of them was from a Token Boy comic. And they all killed. Believe it or not, the man-hating quotient is relatively low as well. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover that female comics cover a whole range of topics in the human experience.

The overall brand that has emerged from this room reflects my personal programming taste in comedy: smart, frank and funny. Occasionally I’ll program women who don’t fall into that general approach, just to shake things up a bit. Sometimes the unlikeliest comics will surprise our audience, and I like to give them the chance to.

 

I hear your shows are REALLY dirty!

Not true.  At least no dirtier than most stand-up comedy shows.  Our comics have a variety of approaches, and we don’t censor the comics that we program. Chances are you’ll hear at least a few V-words over the course of a West End Girls show, so prepare your virgin ears. I think this perception I’ve heard that we’re “dirty” comics comes from the fact that to some it’s more shocking when ordinary women talk out loud about sex and dating than when men do it.

So, no, not that dirty at all, relatively speaking. But don’t be like that one guy who brought his five-year-old to our show, either. Stand-up is for grown-ups. That guy ran out with his poor little boy in ten minutes, and that boy learned some new words to teach his friends at recess.

 

Do men come to your shows?

Of course they do.  And they even laugh! Often our audience is a 50/50 split of men and women – much like with club shows. Usually the men who are there are with a date, and I’m told our shows are an aphrodisiac. This is because sexuality comes up fairly regularly in our acts.

 

But these guys in the audience are gay men, right?

People of all shapes, sizes, and stripes come to our shows and enjoy them. We are not homophobic or heterophobic and not racist, either. We also don’t hate men. Stop being so scared.  Comedy is fun, and if people weren’t having fun at our shows, we wouldn’t have lasted this long.

 

So, how do I start in stand-up comedy if I don’t want to jump into the fire by playing a Virgin Suicides show?

There are many places in Toronto to study stand-up comedy in a classroom environment. There are courses at the Humber School of Comedy, Second City Training Centre, and Comedy Bar. Several women in Toronto have taken Dawn Whitwell’s Comedy Girl course, including myself. I highly recommend her, as she will encourage you to develop your own unique comedy voice.

 

That was the funniest show I’ve been to in a long time! Can I book West End Girls comics to perform at my event or fundraiser?

Sure you can. We like to work as much as the next guy. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll quote you some prices. Some of the veteran comics who perform at our shows work for agencies like Yuk Yuk’s or Diamondfield or Giggles. In those cases we will direct you to their agents. Many of us are free agents, though, and there are comics for every type of function and budget level willing and able to entertain you.

 

Yours truly,

Daniela