Art and beauty. Sex and death. Love and freedom. These are some of the themes recently tackled by the Khyber Sketch Comedy Series, a performance-based comedy collective that hosts regular shows at the Khyber. But this week the group will find themselves on new, and perhaps shaky, ground when they attempt to centre their show on one of the most theatrical performance arts: the musical.
For group member and local comedian Everardo Ramirez, focusing an entire show on a specific subject such as a musical offers a different kind of entertainment than a typical comedy night.
"It's interesting to see how other performers interpret each theme, and what people get out of a word like musical, or freedom, or love or sex or death," he says. "It's a restraint, and so it's not just a 'whatever goes' type of show. You have to work within or somehow relate to that theme."
While these themes impose certain limitations on performers, the structure of the series is often more loose than other comedy shows. When founder Corey Mombourquette formed the group earlier this year, he envisioned the series as an open-ended format where comedians could participate in sketches, short plays, monologues, short films, music and performance art.
Mombourquette also wanted to see established performers (including Picnicface members Bill Wood, Cheryl Hann and Brian MacQuarrie) act alongside emerging comedians. Ramirez says that throwing the groups together is fulfilling for both sides.
"The Picnicface people are amazing at doing sketch comedy, and it's cool to be able to be on a show with them and see people responding to them as well as newer comedians who are trying new things," he says.
Just how that collaboration will look under the theme of musicals is yet to be seen, and even Ramirez is unsure of what to expect. But he does know that such uncertainty is what makes this series fun.
"I'm excited to see if people do a Flight of the Conchords-type of thing, or a full-on musical piece," he says. "I think it will show how bad I am as a singer. Which I think is kind of the joke."
Khyber Sketch Comedy Series: The Musical!
Thursday, September 26, 8:30pm
Khyber Centre for the Arts, 1588 Barrington Street