They are two members of the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award winning troupe MANTOWN, and alumni of The Second City Toronto. They have performed at Just For Laughs 42 and at Improv Festivals all over Canada and into the United States, and you've likely seen them in countless commercials. But for Adam Cawley (also seen on CTV’s Spun Out, and winner of the 2014 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Male Improviser) and Rob Norman (star of the upcoming sketch show on CityTV Sunnyside and author of Improvising Now), there is something really special about performing in Peterborough. This Friday night (November 21st), they perform with Peterborough's The Citiots at the Gordon Best Theatre (Adam’s 4th time performing there, Rob’s 3rd). Herein, check out Adam and Rob in conversation with the Citiots' Ray Henderson about all things Peterborough...
Ray: You guys have performed here a few times. What keeps bringing you back to Peterborough!?
Adam: Peterborough is my second home! I started coming here a few years back because my girlfriend, Dani Stover, morning co-host for The Wolf, lives here. I fell in love with the place and am back every other week.
Rob: I love Peterborough. My best friend went to Trent. So every Reading Week consisted of Greyhounds, the Pig’s Ear, a tray of 50s, pickled eggs, getting that handstamp and then we were off to the Trash (Rest In Peace). The chance to come back and do comedy here is a blast!
Ray: What makes the Gordon Best unique as a venue?
Rob: It’s an amazing room for comedy. The sightlines are great. And when it’s packed, you hear a laugh followed by another one two seconds later when the joke reaches the balcony. It also has a bar inside the theatre. That’s very important to me.
Adam: The Gordon Best is the best. You have a balcony and it’s an intimate space. The bar is right there in the theatre, not in the lobby, so you never miss a scene or a drink.
Ray: When visiting Peterborough, what are some of your "must visit" places?
Adam: I had no clue that Peterborough had such a great arts and bar scene. Now, I’m all over it! Dani—and the city. I check out shows at The Red Dog, have drinks at Sapphire Lounge, cocktails at Le Petit Bar and then after cocktail drinks at The Only Café. When you have 9% beer and Rene Magritte paintings, I’m there.
Rob: Pig’s Ear. Night Kitchen for a slice. Also that poutine place. Big City? Big Lights? City Lights? Does that still exist? I’ve never been there sober, so I can’t remember what it’s called.
Ray: What makes performing in a "Citiots" show special?
Rob: The Citiots have done an amazing job creating a community here. It’s a super inclusive show with laughs for everyone. It’s a show powered by community and you can really feel that when you’re onstage.
Adam: The Citiots are local celebs! You know you’ve got a passionate group because they invented an improv scene in a city that didn’t have one. So to be invited to play with such a talented hard working group is a real pleasure for us. And everyone in Peterborough should be seeing them every month. Having a real improv show in a smaller city is a rare thing. Cherish it!
Ray: What sets a "PTBO" audience apart from a "Toronto" audience?
Adam: Peterborough folks are so supportive of their artists. I’ve been to a Strutt For Kids fashion show, auctions for the Art School of Peterborough, Art for Awareness events—and they’re always packed. They love to actually leave their homes and have fun. That’s a rare thing in Toronto, especially in the winter, but every event I’m at here people are pumped and supportive.
Rob: Sometimes living Toronto gets in the way of a good time. You work in Mississauga, drive through traffic to get to your condo—which might as well be a walk-in closet with a bathroom. You have a shower but accidentally blind yourself with your $95 body wash. Hop into a cab, go to the bank, get a line of credit to pay for the cab ride you took to the bank. You meet up with some girl you met on Tinder, who turns out to be just a mop in jeggings puppeteered by a Nigerian Prince. Finally you make it to the comedy club; there’s no seats because the club owner oversold it, even though you bought tickets months in advance. So you end up watching someone make way-past-expired Rob Ford jokes from the comfort of a broom closet, beside your new girlfriend, and a Nigerian Prince.
It’s awesome when everyone has the same simple agenda: to have a good time. No nonsense. Just a couple brews and some laughs. That’s incredibly refreshing.
Adam and Rob perform with the Citiots This Friday (November 21st) at The Gordon Best Theatre, located at 216 Hunter St West, above the Only Café. Tickets are $10, available at the Door. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., showtime 9 p.m.