After a year and half of ‘COVID-hiatus,’ Sin Bin Comedy is ready to return to their stomping grounds at Don Cherry’s Bradford with their first show this Friday July 23.
Organized by founders Jeff Tseng and Greg Enwright, the popular comedy show has been operating out of the Coach’s Corner at Don Cherry’s in Bradford since April 2016 and has featured some of the top pro comedians from all over Ontario.
Enwright, who is also a comedian, says he is excited to start back up again and has been coordinating with Don Cherry’s owners Jason Farrugia and Eric Fex, and their staff to ensure the first show is successful.
“We are going to fill up their front patio!” exclaims Enwright, adding the restaurant’s patio can hold up to 184 people safely in line with COVID-protocols.
Enwright will be the host for Friday’s show. Local comedian Ernie Vicente will open up the show followed by the headlining act featuring comedian Arthur Simeon.
Simeon is originally from Kampala, Uganda and has performed multiple times on Just for Laughs and HBO. He was highlighted as the cover story of NOW magazine in Toronto and is also part of a Toronto-based label called Comedy Records which featured Simeon on their ten-year anniversary album.
“The Sin Bin Shows hire… not first timers; audience members do pay so we want to ensure they have a good night out,” explains Enwright. “(Simeon) is doing the Just for Laughs show just days after this show, (so) he’s getting in as much practice as he can right now.”
Enwright adds that due to the COVID-break (which he admits was much longer than he expected), comedians and entertainers of the like were unable to perform at all, leaving many without the ability to stay experienced in their craft.
“With the pandemic, obviously we have not been able to do any shows. In fact, most comedians and artists haven't been able to flex their creative muscle since mid 2020,” laments Enwright.
“With things opening up, everyone’s desperate to get back on stage in front of an actual live audience. It's like we are all starting over again - almost like the first time ever. It's exciting and a bit scary as you feel any ground you made in your craft could be gone, so shaking the rust off is a must.”
Although Enwright has been performing at comedy clubs for the past six years, he admits the idea of getting on stage and making people laugh was ‘terrifying’, but that the desire to try stand-up comedy eventually outweighed the fear of bombing.
“Luckily I did great, I didn’t die,” he remembers about his first time in front of a live audience. “It took me six months after that first time to figure out how to get on that stage again. Hopefully you leave a lasting impression!”
To perfect his craft, Enwright enrolled in a course in Toronto called “Standup 101” which guided him with writing his lines to perfect his acts.
“The course wasn’t intended to make you funny, but actually help you write what you consider funny, and at the end of the course, deliver a five-minute set on stage at Absolute Comedy in Toronto,” he says.
Enwright shares that getting into stand-up comedy can be challenging, as there is not enough networking to find out where open mics and comedy shows are happening (outside of Yuk Yuks and Absolute Comedy he states).
It was when he met fellow comedian Jeff Tseng that he decided to partner up with his new friend and launch their own comedy show right in the heart of Bradford.
“We booked very strong, amateur comedians and… pro comics,” he says. “If you can’t get on shows, create your own!”
Over the years, Sin Bin Comedy has also provided shows for local fundraisers and has supported Bradford Minor Hockey teams and Bradford Cadets through comedy acts as a way to help fundraise for the organizations.
“Small towns like (Bradford) don't really have an arts/entertainment scene, which is expected. But it is possible to carve out a scene, even if its monthly,” he shares.
“My goal with Sin Bin is to bring the funniest comedians from around the country that no one has even heard of. The amount of talented comedians that we have is unbelievable! I have been so fortunate to see, perform with, and book so many talented comedians. We have an amazing pool of high-end talent right here in our own backyard.”
Enwright recalls the first few months of Sin Bin shows were met with "surprising success" with regards to audience turnout, selling out at nearly every show, as he attempted to book different types of acts that would appeal to a general crowd as much as possible.
He notes the "Bradford crowds" in attendance at Sin Bin Comedy shows have piqued the interest of pro comedians from all over the province, and they have started reaching out to him for future bookings.
“The crowds are really important – every comedian has a different skill-set,” he explains. “When people come to a show, they don’t have any expectations, they don’t know if this will be their ‘thing’. So, I have to make sure I have different acts.”
From a comedic perspective, he adds, “it forces you to get better, quicker. It can be amazing and soul-crushing at the same time.”
Sin Bin Comedy is offering a special welcome back pricing on tickets for the first show, and Enwright shares he plans on bringing back Amateur Thursdays eventually for those looking to take a crack at stand-up comedy (stay tuned for details).
To reserve a table for this Friday’s comedy show, tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite here.
For more details, visit Sin Bin Comedy on Facebook.