Volume 94, Issue 75

Tuesday, February 6, 2001


Tweedley warms up UWO

Valentine better than chocolates

Disc of the Week

Tool questions authority - Melt Banana's new disc "shiny"

Tweedley warms up UWO

By Rebecca Morier
Gazette Staff

From eye popping to body contorting, funny man Sean Tweedley has seen enough to make the accurate claim, "People do the wildest stuff."

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, wild and crazy things are exactly what he encourages on his television program, The Warm-Up Show with Sean Tweedley, which he is taking on tour.

Tweedley's stop at The Spoke tonight is part of an Ontario-wide university tour that will have him scouting for campus talent, where contenders vie for the ever elusive 15 minutes of fame.

On his TV, show as with the tour, Tweedley boasts an interactive performance in which he invites audience members to strut their stuff and expose hidden "talents" – or, as Tweedley calls it, "stupid human tricks."

"One girl took her eye out – I'm not kidding!" he exclaims. "She had this glass fake eye and no one knew. She popped it out and it was hollow behind it – it freaked us all out."

Besides eye popping, Tweedley's audience members have done all sorts of outrageous things, from putting their bodies in bizarre contortions, to performing fully choreographed Bee Gees impersonations. When it comes to scouting for people to perform these types of crazy acts, Tweedley figured universities would be perfect.

"I was wondering what would happen at universities with different groups of people getting together and doing things that's really funny. What I'm encouraging is drunkenness and frivolity," he announces.

A Toronto native, Tweedley started doing stand-up comedy at 18 – a career launch that just kind of happened. "I used to go to Yuk Yuk's all the time and watch the stand-ups, but it's not like I grew up in comedy or have any favourite comics," he admits. "I ended up at an amateur night one time and I was like, 'Man, I could do that.'"

And then he did.

After doing amateur night at Yuk Yuk's for a few months, he became a regular on the circuit, solidifying his career as a comedian. As Tweedley states modestly, "It kind of rolled into itself."

Later, he began writing for Open Mike with Mike Bullard, but what made him stand out was when he started doing the audience warm-ups for Open Mike. "It was going so well that they (Open Mike producers) gave me a show out of it," Tweedley states.

Currently in the middle of its second season, The Warm-Up Show with Sean Tweedley continues to warm-up audiences for Mike Bullard's show, but it also does more. "It's like the Larry Sanders show – a bit of the warm-up and the rest shows all the stuff behind the scenes of Open Mike," he explains.

When it comes to the differences between doing live stand-up comedy and doing a late night television comedy program, Tweedley enjoys both – but definitely has a preference.

"There's nothing like the immediate feedback of doing stand-up," he attests. "I go up there after putting a bit together, I deliver it the way I want to and the whole crowd is laughing. It's like, "Perfect; that's what I was trying to get."

Tweedley continues, "Doing a TV show, there is no feedback other than people on the streets who come up and say, 'I love the show,' but the whole business side of it takes the immediacy out."

That does not mean that Tweedley does not have a great time on his program. "It's real fun shooting the show – we have a blast," he boasts. "There's no structure – it's a free-for-all. We turn cameras on and whatever happens, we just shoot it."

Still, Tweedley looks forward to his live comedy gigs. "They're so completely different and I like them both, but I do like the live feel better," he says. "The payoff's right there."

Sean Tweedley hopes for payoff tonight at The Spoke at 9:30 p.m., where all are invited to bring their stupid human tricks.

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