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Vancouver’s stand-up scene spotlighted at Rise of the Comics Live

Midlife crisis sent cellphone salesman headfirst into comedy world
Vancouver comic Scotty Aceman will host Rise of the Comics Live on Feb. 11 at St. James Community Square. Photo Dan Toulgoet

It’s without the slightest hint of humour that Scotty Aceman reveals that he’s a life-long tennis player and that Aceman is, in fact, his given name.

Instead, Aceman saves his LOLs for the stage.

A Vancouver-based stand-up comic, Aceman is organizing an event Feb. 11 called Rise of the Comics Live, which will serve as a sort of pep rally for comics across Metro Vancouver.

“Comics communicate very well amongst one another, but they don’t have all the marketing tools and there are a lot of other parameters they may not know about,” Aceman said. “So by doing the show, we’re hoping to gain some traction to expose the community.”

Seven comics will be featured over the course of the evening, including Just For Laughs headliner Ivan Decker, 2016 Yuk Yuks stand-up champ Chris Griffin, Ryan Williams, Harris Anderson, Jenny Toews, Yumi Nagashima and Steev Letts.  

The show will be filmed for future broadcast on Shaw TV and livestreamed on the night of the event on YouTube. Aceman hosts a weekly show on Shaw TV called Rise of the Comics that delves in to the routines and lives of the region’s funny folk, what makes them tick and where to see them perform.

Aceman himself is counted amongst their ranks, and so it begs the question: why would he give free publicity to the same comics he could battle for stage time in any given week?

“I am competing with them but I also I want to be showing them off,” he said. “That, to me, means a lot. I’m 53, so being middle aged it’s a bit easier for me to understand what’s important and how I can make this happen.”

Aceman suggests creativity has been in his family for three decades, though it wasn’t until the last three years that he dove headlong into Ha Ha land. He spent 25 years in cellphone sales before realizing his blood could actually help him make a go of it. Aceman’s cousin is Rob Cohen, a Calgary ex-pat who levelled up from Cowtown for Tinseltown. A comedy writer based out of Los Angeles, Cohen’s writing credits include The Simpsons, Wonder Years, MADtv and The Big Bang Theory.

Aceman lives with dyslexia and he felt a full-time move to comedy from a cushy sales job was too much. Cohen convinced him otherwise and Aceman’s first gig was in November 2015. It was “the most terrifying experience” of Aceman’s life.

“But when you’ve been rejected enough and you’re in a mid-life crisis, things just fall into place,” Aceman said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to necessarily be super funny or even funny to other people. But it means you’re going to be able to get through it. It’s really quite a learning experience about who you are and what you’re capable of.”

Getting over the hump and learning to accept bombing on stage is part of the Feb. 11 show’s raison d’etre, along with building solidarity amongst the estimated 200 comics in the region and 20 venues in Vancouver.

Though the Feb. 11 festivities at the St. James Community Square are already sold out, the show will be streamed on Aceman’s Youtube channel.

A broadcast date for Shaw TV has yet to be determined, though Aceman expects it’ll be on air before the end of the month.

For more info, see