Volume 93, Issue 90
Monday, March 21, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Audiences warming up to Tweedley's show
©Gazette file photo
"NOT SO MUCH HERE, OR HERE, BUT MORE RIGHT AROUND HERE..." Comedian Sean Tweedley points out his problem areas to a captive audience.
By Luke Rundle
Traditionally, life as a warm-up act for television shows has always been a job requiring a great deal of guts which brings no glory. However, this is certainly not the case for Toronto comic Sean Tweedley, who parlayed a warm-up gig for Open Mike With Mike Bullard into a show of his very own.
The Warm-Up Show With Sean Tweedley is a half-hour variety show in every sense of the word. Open Mike writer/sketch producer Tweedley brings audience members onstage to showcase their unique talents and shows candid glimpses of the inner workings of Open Mike.
Tweedley performs surplus monologue jokes and his own stand-up act in between emceeing the talent show, where people from the Open Mike studio audience, with talents ranging from animal calling to contortionism, are given the 15 seconds of embarrassment they richly deserve.
After a 12 year internment in comedy clubs across North America, the 31 year-old Tweedley has found a home in Toronto at Open Mike. "I write some of the monologue and we all write desk bits," Tweedley clarifies, happy with the amount of work he's been given. "I also write and shoot the sketches. I guess because I'm here in the editing suite putting the [sketch rough] cuts together, they call that producing as well."
Tweedley asserts his role as the show's warm-up was not the result of a strategic plan, but rather a slot he fell into. "In the first season, we'd have the crowd in there half an hour early and people had asked me to go out there and do some stand-up for the crowd. Back then, we were just experimenting on everything and it just sort of clicked," he recalls. "After I got tired of just doing my act, I started calling people down to buffer it for me a little bit [I] just asked them if they wanted to do something wild and win a prize and it worked."
With his unassuming choir boy looks, Tweedley is adept at making people forget where they are and simply act, well, natural. "I think I make it a comfortable environment for people to come into, because I don't take huge strips off them, I'll just poke some jabs," he says.
When asked how he coaxes and cajoles people to forget their inhibitions, Tweedley admits to a certain amount of guesswork. "I have no clue. I don't think it's anything I really say to them, I just think everybody has some wild little thing they can do, something they pull out at a party, [something] they're great at because they've been doing it for years," he states.
"So when I offer the chance to come up and do something, some stupid human trick, an impression, whatever, the hands start flying up. I can see in their eyes that they've never thought of doing something like this before, but they come down and take the opportunity."
Copyright © The Gazette 2000