Comedy Scene growing in Peterborough

Down a set of stairs in Traill campus square, you can find BE at the Trend pub. Just walking distance from downtown, it is much more accessible than the Céilie for off-campus students. The Trend’s interior brick walls give it a homey, intimate feeling. It is also a great place to bring a few friends on the first Friday of every month because you can enjoy some of Ontario’s best stand-up comics.

The first show was Friday, October 4, and was a great success. Event organizer and stand-up comic, Sean Quinlan, commented, “I was so nervous. I was worried. Is this going to work? A lot [of years were spent] trying to get into Trent, so it was, like, can we please have a turnout?”

Quinlan can be found on-stage with his hat turned backwards as his “uniform.” A mentor once told him it would be a good way to become memorable. Currently, Quinlan is spearheading a movement to bring the comedy scene back to Peterborough. 

“Three or four other stand-ups have left town,” he said. “A goal of mine is to have shows for stand-ups only.”

Quinlan is a local to Peterborough himself, having grown up in the Peterborough County. He is a graduate of St. Peter’s Secondary School, and has also attended Fleming and Trent. His initial inspiration came from defence against schoolyard bullies.

“I was the fat kid in school. When you’re a fat kid, humour becomes your armour and shield,” Quinlan said, and added, “If you are going to make jokes about me, I’m going to get the laughs. I’m going to make the jokes about me.”

Quinlan now finds himself travelling to Toronto and Oshawa regularly, and he knows other local comics do the same, so he hopes that his shows will foster some local comics who have gotten discouraged from all the travel. He would also like Trent students to take a try at comedy.

“Another goal of mine was to have a spot for students to try it,” he shared. “Just do it. Just get up on stage. You are going to fail, you are going to fall flat on your face, and if you got it to get back up, then that’s when you know you want to do it.”

The next stand-up comedy show will be on November 1 at the Trend, with doors opening at 8pm. Quinlan expects comics from Ottawa and Toronto, so the cost to get in is “just pay what you can. The point is to give gas money to the people coming out of town.”

For more information and news about Quinlan and the Peterborough comedy scene, you can follow him on Twitter @seanquinlan17.