The Telegram (St. John's)
Comedy camp champ
Vicky Mullaley wins ‘Comedy Boot Camp,’ will open for James Mullinger tonight
When it comes to her standup material, comedian Vicky Mullaley gets a good idea of what will and what won’t work onstage from her friends’ reactions to her
When it comes to her standup material, comedian Vicky Mullaley gets a good idea of what will and what won’t work onstage from her friends’ reactions to her storytelling.
Like that time last week when she tried to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress for an upcoming wedding. Or how different her life is on the weeks she gets paid versus the weeks between paycheques.
“If I find myself telling a story to people of something that just happened and they find it funny, I think OK, maybe that’s something I can turn into a set,” she explains. “I keep notes on my phone and I’ll revisit them, see if they have potential.”
Mullaley, 26 and a native of Freshwater, Placentia Bay, lives in St. John’s and works as a mechanical engineer at “the best place in the world” (she won’t say where) by day. For the past year and a half, she’s been trying her hand at comedy by night.
Mullaley says she was always a fan of comedy, but was too scared to try it herself. Instead, she’d hang out at Yuk Yuk’s and the open mic comedy nights around town, eventually making friends with some of the comedians.
Comedian Sarah Walsh gave her a chance to perform onstage at Bitters one night, and Mullalley says she’s been addicted to standup ever since.
She recently applied to participate in Season 2 of “James Mullinger’s Comedy Boot Camp.” Mullinger is a British comedian living in New Brunswick, and his TV show, which airs on Bell Fibre Op TV1, sees him travelling to each of the Atlantic provinces, putting a selected group of comics through a day-long workshop before they appear in a live show.
About 50 comedians from this province auditioned for this season of the show, and eight were chosen and put to a public vote. The top four — Mullaley, Chris Dunn, Luke Lawrence and Mike Hammond — competed in the live show at Factory in St. John’s Thursday night. Mullaley was crowned the winner, while Dunn was named runner-up by a panel of judges.
“Oh my god, I was so shocked,” Mullaley said of winning. “It was an honour, as corny as that sounds. (The other finalists) are three of my good friends and I do comedy with them on a regular basis and they’re all so funny. I didn’t expect to win. I had a great day and learned a lot from James. To win on top of it was amazing.”
Mullinger moved to Saint John from London in 2014, wanting to give his children a slower-paced lifestyle (his wife is from New Brunswick). Since then, he says, he’s been getting more work than ever before, with regular standup gigs, a Canadian Comedy Award nomination and a couple of TV shows besides “Boot Camp,” including “Blimey! An Englishman in Atlantic Canada.” A movie about his life, called “The Comedian’s Guide to Survival,” was released last year. Next month, Mullinger will host the East Coast Music Awards gala.
Apart from “Boot Camp,” Mullinger is in town to do two standup shows of his own — one last night and one tonight at the CLB Armoury, presented by The Joke Mill. Mullaley and fellow local comedian Nicole Downton — a finalist on last year’s “Boot Camp” — are opening.
He tried bits and pieces of the set out during Thursday night’s “Boot Camp” finals, and had the audience roaring.
“It’s been a year since I last performed in Newfoundland, so the set I’ll be doing this weekend is all new material,” Mullinger says.
“I am so excited to be back. I love it here. I love the comedians, the audiences and these shows are going to be a blast. They’re my only Newfoundland shows this year, so I’m going to make them count.”
Tickets for Mullinger’s show tonight are $25 at the door. Showtime is 8 p.m.