Laugh Track

Cartoon Sara by Serena Chan

More media whoring! I was lucky enough to be interviewed by The Peak and got this lovely drawing as a bonus! I love it so much! 

Interview by Jacey Gibb, Illustration by Serena Chen, Original Posting on The Peak

Join The Peak as we catch up with and interview some of Vancouver’s finest funny people.

Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve undoubtedly heard of something Sara Bynoe’s had a part in. The Vancouver comedian has been hosting shows for 15 years — from Say Wha?!, where people take turns reading from humorously awful, surprisingly real books, to her new monthly show Novelty Act, co-hosted by Riel Hahn. The Peak caught up with Bynoe to talk about the local comedy scene, dolphin lovers from the ‘70s, and why she thinks people shouldn’t take themselves so seriously.

[Interview has been edited and condensed for print]

Your website says you’re an “Actor, Writer, Producer of Fun Times.” Was your plan always to be this multifaceted?

When I was 14, of course my plan was to be like Winona Ryder and just do feminist movies. I remember having a dream when I was little about being at the Academy Awards and she’s behind me being like, “Good job!” The other story I always tell is from when I was 10 years old, my mom had this psychic friend and she said, “You’re going to be an actor and a writer,” and I was like, “Yeah, that’s what I want to be.” So I’ve been pretty clear for a long time that I wanted to go that route.

How would you describe the comedy scene in Vancouver?

It’s super fun, very integrated. There are lots of people doing stuff and the people who are super active are doing stuff in different facets, whether they’re doing stand-up, they’re doing improv, they’re doing my weird shows, they’re doing podcasts. We’re all guests on each other’s shows at some point or another.

Are there any recurring themes in your comedy? Cringe-worthiness seems to play a prominent role inTeen Angst and Say Wha?!

A lot of the books from Say Wha?! that I make fun of, someone thought this was serious. Someone wrote a dating book on how to pick up topless dancers. People reading this are earnest and think they should date a stripper. Same with Teen Angst, these moments when the world was out to get you and everything was so important. It’s like, hold up, take a step away from yourself for a second, and if you can find a way to laugh at yourself.

Have any of the writers ever found out that you read their book at Say Wha?!

This guy wrote a book called Wet Goddess: Recollections of a Dolphin Lover, which is a fictionalized memoir of his time in the ’70s having a relationship with a dolphin named Ruby. He must have had a Google alert on the book and he commented on our video and said, “Oh, I didn’t realize this was so unintentionally hilarious.” You wrote a book about fucking a dolphin. How can you not have a sense of humour about yourself?!

What has been your favourite project over the years?

Teen Angst is the longest running. That’s the show that won’t die. As long as people are having fun and wanting to read, I have fun doing it. It’s one of those things where I’ve been making fun of my teen angst longer than I was a teenager. But I love it. I’m really enjoying Novelty Act now. That’s a huge risk; it’s me and Riel Hahn, and we haven’t performed a lot together. This is my first time duo-ing with someone on a regular basis. It’s really exciting to get to understand a performer’s dynamic like that.

This month marks the fifth instalment of Novelty Act. How did the show get its start?

Riel and I were looking to have a show together and we were like, “Should we have guests? Let’s just try it by ourselves,” and to me that was a huge risk. Two hours, just me, and no gimmicks?! Riel was very trusting and thought we could do it though.

The name came from an encounter with a stand-up comedian who invited us to stay for a show and Riel asked who was on it and he was like “Dude, dude, dude, dude, dude.” That’s a lot of dudes, I don’t know if I’m into that. A lot of women I know aren’t into seeing comedy shows with all dudes. The Novelty Act name sort of evolved from that, where he’s like “Well, I wouldn’t have a lot of magicians on a show, so there are only a couple of women that I would want to have on my show,” and Riel’s response was “Wait, are you saying that women are a novelty act?” And he said yeah.

I don’t think he was really aware of what he was saying though. Riel said, “Let’s do a show with just us and call it Novelty Act.”

It sounds like Novelty Act is pretty unstructured. Do you ever have a set plan for the evening?

We have segments. We start with a check-in where we talk about funny or just weird things that have happened in our lives. Then we have question period with the audience, whether they’re questions about what we’ve been talking about or you have questions about your life and want advice.

They can be totally random. One time, a guy had been stood up on a date and he’s like, “What’s with people in Vancouver being super flaky?” and so we all talked about that. His next question was “Can I buy everyone a round of drinks?” He bought two bottles of champagne and cake that was cut up into little pieces and so we had cake and champagne. Amazing stuff happens at this night, I have no idea what we’re doing that’s creating this environment where people just feel inspired to buy everyone champagne.

The second half is usually more structured, we do some improv games. It really involves the audience. The whole evening, people have said it feels like a super-fun party hosted by your funniest friends.

Any closing remarks?

Get off your ass and come to more shows in Vancouver. You will have fun.

Your next chances to catch Sara Bynoe are on May 26 at The Emerald (555 Gore Avenue, Vancouver) for Novelty Act or on June 7 at Cottage Bistro (4468 Main Street, Vancouver) for Say Wha?! Tickets for either are $10 at the door.

Vancouver, I’m back! Let’s have some fun

Hey Vancouver, I’m back in your fair city. You thought I was gone forever, didn’t you? Well, not quite. Don’t write me off.

I’m back figuring out ma shite and while I’m doing that I’m going to do what I love the most – putting on shows! I hope to see you there. If not, I’ll probably pack up my bags and leave you again. That’s how Canada works, right? You’re never something until you’re something somewhere else.

Teen Angst Facebook Event Emerald

TEEN ANGST NIGHT

Tuesday, September 23
The Emerald, 555 Gore Street, Vancouver
$10. Eventbrite. Please purchase in advance to avoid disappointment.
Facebook Event

Somewhere in the back of your closet gathering dust and turning yellow with age is comedic gold. Those old journals, poems, and essays you wrote as a teenager when you thought you could do no wrong, would probably make you cringe at your former feelings if you were to read them today. Now, imagine sharing them in front of an audience. That’s exactly what happens at Teen Angst Night.

Teen Angst Night is a comedic reading series, hosted and produced by Sara Bynoe since 2000, where everyday people read from their embarrassing old journals, poems, songs, essays (and more).

You can share anything (poetry, songs, letters, journals, diaries, essays, stories, plays, lists, etc) so long as it follows these rules:

1- The work must be your own.
2- You must have written it between the ages of 10-19.
3- It’s best if the work is at least 4 years old.
4- If you cringe or feel physically upset while reading it- it’s worth sharing! The more embarrassing the better!

Sorry, reader spots are full. Another event will happen again soon. Get in touch if you want to be involved.

Say Wha Facebook Event Image 3

SAY WHA?! READINGS OF DELICIOUSLY ROTTEN WRITING

Sunday, September 28
The Emerald, 555 Gore Street, Vancouver
8-10pm
Tickets: $10, cash only at the door
Facebook Event

Funny people read from terrible books.

Have you ever read a poorly written novel and thought to yourself, who publishes this crap? Or come across a hilariously out of date self-help book in a thrift store? Perhaps you flipped through any celebrity autobiography and guffawed at her/his life story. Well, that’s what Say Wha?! is all about.

With readings by moi and
Nicole Passmore
Cameron Macleod
Lauren McGibbon
Chip Ellis

OTHER NEWS

Save Thursday, October 16 in your calendar. I’m working on a special event. It’s something new that I’ve been pondering for over a year. Stay tuned for more info.

Leave a comment. Follow me on Twitter or ‘like’ me on Facebook. Give me attention!

Say Wha?! The Podcast Episode 30

Say Wha Podcast

Say Wha?! The Podcast shares recordings from the comedy show Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

In this episode host Sara Bynoe reads from Bear, an award winning Canadian novel that is shocking. Warning: bestiality, sexual content, arguably bad writing, and not the best audio quality – but you’ve got to hear this.

I even phoned the Canada Council for the Arts and asked who sat on the jury to choose this book at the winner of the Governor General’s award. You will not believe who was on that jury!

Bear

Listen to the podcast on iTunesRSS feed, or just stream it HERE:

If you enjoyed this podcast be sure to like this post, tweet a link to it, or share it on Facebook.

Also, if you’re in Toronto, or know someone who is, don’t forget about the Say Wha?! show at Comedy Bar this Sunday, June 15.

May Shows

Here’s a run down of all the shows and events that I’ve committed to this month – so far. Yay!

RIO May

MAY 4Behind the Curtain, PAL Theatre, 581 Cardero Street 7:30-9:30PM, Tickets by donation

I’m hosting a storytelling event for PAL Theatre where I’ve invited performing artists to shed light on what life upon the wicked stage is really like. Facebook Event

MAY 6, 13, 20, 27Dance Dance Party Party Vancouver, Mount Pleasant Community Centre, 1 Kingsway, 8:45-9:45PM, $7 Drop In

This is my last month as the Den Mama for the Vancouver Chapter of this weekly event where women dance to guilty pleasure music in a judgement-free, fun focused, playful space with a laser light show. Facebook Group

MAY 16Clueless, Rio Theatre, 1660 Broadway, 11:30PM Doors, Midnight screening, $6 in costume or in advance, $8 at the door

I’m hosting this screening of one of my favourite movies of all time. Come and see how I’m like a Monet – from far away I’m okay but up close I’m a big old mess. I’ll be dressed as my favourite extra.  Rio Website

MAY 21 – Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing – Four Year Anniversary Show (and last show until the Fall), Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, 8-10PM, $10 at the door (sliding scale available)

A comedy show where funny people read from terrible books. Featuring: John Cullen, Brent Constantine, Riel Hahn, Lauren McGibbon, and Cameron Macleod. Facebook Event

Sundays, Rookie Night, Vancouver Theatre Sports League, Improv Centre, Granville Island, 7:30PM, $8,

You might catch me performing improv one Sunday. It’s a very fun show. Come and check it out. You can see if I’m cast this week by checking VTSL’s website

 

 

Say Wha?! The Podcast Episode 26

Say Wha Podcast A new episode is up! This one features a reading I did at the most recent live show.

Fun fact: Did you know that Say Wha?! The Podcast is one year old? It is! Thanks to the thousands of people from all over the world who have downloaded it. It’s cray-cray and awesome that you’ve heard it.

If you like it be sure to like this blog post, tweet a link to it, or share it on Facebook.

Listen to the podcast on iTunesRSS feed, or just stream it HERE:

AlienBook

 

Say Wha?! March Shows – Yes, Shows!

This month I’m doing both Say Wha?! shows. BOTH?! Yes, both. Yay, both!

Wednesday, March 19

Say Wha Facebook Event Image 2

Have you ever read a poorly written novel and thought to yourself, who publishes this crap? Or come across a hilariously out of date self-help book in a thrift store? Perhaps you flipped through Sarah Palin’s/ Justin Beiber’s/ R. Kelly’s etc. autobiography and guffawed at her/his life story.

Well, that’s what Say Wha?! is all about.

Funny people reading from bad books.

Hosted by Sara Bynoe

This month’s show features terrible books read and commented on by:

Robyn Edwards
Stu Popp
Brent Constantine
Devon Lougheed
Brent Hirose

Wednesday, March 19
Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street
8-10pm
$5-10 at the door (sliding scale, suggested $10 minimum of $5)
Facebook Event

Monday, March 31

Say Wha The Musical

Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing is a monthly comedy show where funny people read from terrible books.

We know there’s more Say Wha?! out there in the world besides literature. You’ll be pleased to know that there are a lot of terrible musical theatre songs out there in the world and we’re going to share them.

We’re diving deep into the musical theatre cannon and pulling out the worst, most offensive, and down-right terrible songs we can find and we will bring then to life – and then beat them with a stick.

Say Wha?! The Musical Edition is co-hosted and co-produced by Sara Bynoe and Mike Mackenzie. Talented singers TBC.

Monday, March 31
Backstage Lounge – 1585 Johnson Street on Granville Island
8-10pm
Tickets: at the door (ticket price TBC)
Facebook Event

Teen Angst and Say Wha?! Review

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The Charlebois-Post is a blog that focuses on Canadian performing arts, mostly theatre.

TJ Dawe has recently participated in both Say Wha?! and Teen Angst Nights and wrote this lovely review of the shows. Who’s TJ Dawe? Well, he’s one of my theatrical heroes. He ruled the Canadian Fringe circuit for many years. He’s a writer, director, and performer who is always doing great and interesting work. 

You can read his full review here. Highlights below.

“I like it when the definition of “theatre” gets stretched. That’s what Sara Bynoe’s doing.”

“I gut laughed the whole evening. So did the rest of the audience. It was a full house. It always is.”  – About Teen Angst Night.

“I almost pissed my pants. Which is its own kind of catharsis.” – About Say Wha?!

” If you get a chance to attend one, or participate – take it. It’s a healing experience.” – About both shows.

The next Say Wha?! show is Wednesday, January 15 at the Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, 8-10pm 

The next Teen Angst Night is Sunday, February 23 at the Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, 8-10pm