For those of you who weren’t in attendance last week, James Mullinger just beat out Jerry Seinfeld for ticket sales in an event that packed Saint John’s Harbour Station. As if that weren’t big enough, on the heels of that milestone, Mullinger has just announced what is being billed as ‘The Biggest Comedy Show Ever’.
The event will be happening at Saint John High School’s theatre this October and boasts that it will feature ‘every comedian in New Brunswick’, for a total of forty-four comedians.
“I’ve been planning this for some time,” says Mullinger, “I get a lot of bookings around the province, but I think a lot of the awesome comedians here should be too, so this event is a chance to show the community that there are a lot of comedians to choose from here and that they have many options for their Christmas parties, summer parties, clubs, pubs, bars, you name it. It’s a showcase event essentially, but open to the public.”
“I wanted to do a ‘Every Comedian In New Brunswick’ show shortly after moving here because I got so many Christmas bookings that it struck me that maybe people weren’t aware of all the other comedians here. This show will rectify that.”
Two years ago, Mullinger and his wife made the decision to move from London to Saint John. It was a decision made for the sake of their fledgling family, though not without challenges for their careers. In those two years since, Mullinger has been a relentless promoter of New Brunswick, and worked, presumably without sleep, to strengthen to province’s growing appetite for comedy, proving that a career as a comedian here is more than possible in the process.
“There was lots happening here before I came here. Shane Ogden had been selling out shows for over six years, bringing in big name comics, and giving up and coming NB talent a chance to grow. Jon Forward and Steve Fudge and a few others were running a few open mic shows across town which were and are vital for the scene. Everyone ripping roofs off here now started there. Ken Bolton was training up new comedians for years. Some of his students are doing incredibly well. As well as doing courses, Ken has also nurtured, advised and helped lots of us overcome hurdles in our fledgling careers. The scene is, of course, growing all the time, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Saint John might have the fastest growing comedy scene in history. It will of course never ever be as big as London, England or Toronto or NY or Montreal. But those scenes took decades to build. Saint John has done it in a few short years. Some months there are ten to fifteen big shows happening here a month, and they all sell out. It is so beautiful to watch and see. But it is important to note that it has nothing to do with me. The comedians who built this scene are the ones doing it.”
“Basically my new dream is for all the other comedians in the province to get as much work as I do. Which they will when everyone sees them. People are going to get sick of me very soon (lots already are!) so these other comedians in the province can take over!”
“There are too many people doing amazing things for comedians here to mention them all. But Mark Burnett and Didi Lobmard Lloyd run a beautiful club in Quispamsis. I have witnessed Mark Splude, Darren Elmore and Ansar Hassan delivering blistering sets there, better than anything I have seen in London. Shane Ogden continues to bring the best comedians in the world (yes, world!) to Chuckles Comedy Club. Jon Forward keeps expanding and opening new club nights. Steve Barnes is bringing Yuk Yuk’s to uptown Saint John later this year. Adam Landry and James Hovey are making brilliant visual content all the time. Shortly after my Harbour Station show Adam made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed in my life, and I have seen Louis CK and Jerry Seinfeld live numerous times. That’s what’s happening here. Anyone in any doubt should go to Chuckles or Comedy With Balls, or the R Bar, and hang with these guys and girls and watch them in action. Troy Haines is regularly attracting audiences of over four hundred people to his Fredericton shows.This is not a flash in the pan. It’s really happening. The rebirth and revitalisation of the uptown area is very similar to the comedy scene in New Brunswick. It’s always been there, but now it’s taking over. I salute the comedians who made it happen.”
The Big Show will take place October 20th, with tickets going on sale tomorrow here. In the meantime, Mullinger has an upcoming tour through Ontario and Quebec, and a Christmas comedy show throughout the Maritimes with fellow New Brunswick comedian Nikki Payne. He is also currently filming a CBC documentary about Saint John, perfecting his homemade wine, mastering the art of never sleeping, and premiering a feature film about his life in British theatres in the coming months.
For more information visit www.jamesmullinger.com