What better way to warm up on a cold January night than to spend an hour or two laughing?
A pair of Trinity Western graduates are offering the community a chance to do just that — and to help make people’s lives a little better in the process.
Chris Nash and Jacqui Janzen — who together make up BlackJacq Productions — present Stand Up! For the Little Guy, a comedy show to benefit the Get Warm Project — at Trinity Western University on Saturday, Jan 10.
Headliner John Cullen — who, according to his bio is a “real life” teacher, writer, drummer and world-ranked curler, in addition to being an all-round funny guy — will be joined by eight up-and-coming young comedians on stage at the Langley university’s Freedom Hall.
The comedy show will be the first event of its kind mounted by BlackJacq, which formed in 2012. The production company is currently in post-production on a feature length film and entered a play in the 2013 Fringe Festival.
Founders Nash and Janzen have known one another since university — they both graduated from TWU in 2009. The pair has always enjoyed working together, said Nash, adding each has a particular set of skills that gels well with the other’s.
“I, myself, am an actor and a writer. Jacqui is an event manager and a web developer,” said Nash.
“I can dream up grand schemes to put on and she has the sense to ground me.”
Whatever project they embark upon, Nash and Janzen’s mandate is to be creative while offering support to artists and humanitarians who need financial or promotional backing to help achieve their dreams.
“The Get Warm Project is just something that’s close to home,” said Janzen.
The women who started the project, which provides blankets and warm clothes to people living on the streets of Vancover’s Downtown Eastside, are former high school classmates of Janzen’s, she said.
Each show BlackJacq puts on will benefit a “Little Guy” of some description. The pair recently put out a call in Langley and Vancouver for groups that could use some support.
“We basically did it through social media — to friends and connections — because we didn’t want to be overwhelmed with too many folks we’d have to let down,” said Nash.
Still, they had a fair number of responses to sort through, before settling on the Get Warm Project.
At the same time, they also went about scouting talent for the show, which will feature several local funny people.
“We put the call out specifically in Langley for this show. We wanted to showcase Langley talent,” said Nash.
“Trinity has a good assemblage of comedic characters and I’m heavily involved in the theatre scene (there).”
Despite the fact the words “stand up” appear in the show’s title, in reality, it will be quite a diverse show, said Nash.
“We’ll blend any sort of comedy that is just the person and the audience. It may be a song or a great sketch, but our headliner will always be a stand-up comedian.”
And it will always be family-friendly.
By having comedians keep their act clean, it encourages them to be more clever than vulgar, said Nash.
“When it comes to being funny, it’s better to use the parts of your brain that don’t take the easy laugh, don’t take the easy way out,” he said.
Nash and Janzen expect to have a full house on the night of the show, with a large number of the university’s students taking a break from their studies to have a few laughs.
“But we’d like to have a mix from the community as well,” Nash said.
Janzen, meanwhile, encouraged audience members to bring gently used warm clothing items — socks, toques, scarves, etc.
Anyone who does will be eligible for prize draws. Items have been provided by a range of sponsors, including a Vancouver swimwear company started by another TWU grad, and a yoga clothing retailer.
Tickets for Stand Up! For the Little Guy are $10 each. Half of the proceeds raised from ticket sales will be donated to the Vancouver charity.
Freedom Hall is located at 7600 Glover Rd. Show begins at 8 p.m. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to standuplittleguy.com.