Late on my very first night in Montreal, I poured myself into a dark pub called Jimbo’s. After enjoying a good strong drink at the window, nature called. For the first time in what would turn out to be thousands more, I stumbled up a set of rickety stairs to the bathroom. At the top of the steps, what should I see, through a small window in a brown door, but a real live comedy show happening at that very moment!
I saw a funny-looking dude, framed by a lonely yellow spotlight in front of a classic (fake) brick wall, and a whole audience I never would have imagined were all just upstairs this whole time, laughing their fool heads off! It was like the grown-up version of the Secret Garden, a random magic room appearing at the end of an unremarkable set of stairs, just for me. I knew then that despite the huge fight I had had with my best friend that night, and how completely lost I was at that very moment, this city would be just fine, and that I would come back to the comedy works.
I did come back, so so many times. I think I might have left a piece of my soul in that dusty old club. Jimbo’s was where I met my fiance, three times that he doesn’t even remember, and then two more times that he does remember. We also went on our first date at Jimbo’s, unfortunately we were not on a date with each other that time, but it was a fun night all the same.
I’ve had too many great nights at Jimbos to count, nights that come to mind hazily, wrapped in the warm glow of that low low lighting, so low that it made everyone look OK. I’ve had so many great conversations, wrapped around that welcoming bar, stroking those wise brass elephants who would hold the world up for a while, so that I didn’t have to.
You might have been sitting at the bar, enjoying a bit of a beer and a chat with Stephanie Jones or Ian – or any of the wonderful staff of bartenders that took such good care of us over the years – when who should walk in but a long lost friend from out of town, straight from their show at the Comedy Nest. More beers would be ordered and the night would shine on till just a shade before dawn.
Or there were those nights when it would be a party. Showcase nights, birthdays, Just for Laughs Saturday nights, Hot Zone nights, or for no good reason at all but it’s Summer and we’re all here. The music would be fine and the conversation would fizz, the dimly lit bar downstairs would be full of smiles and bullshit, until, one by one, we stumbled past the smokers on the front stoop, on to late night eats and home.
And over it all (upstairs actually) were the shows. There was a certain kind of magic that could only happen at the comedy works. That room, with its bricks and classic headshots, always either too hot or too cold, the energy of the crowd mingling with the adrenaline of the comedians, laughter washing to the back, where the comedy wives would sit ignoring the whole thing, gossiping and complimenting one anothers’ clothes.
There was a certain amount of creativity that could only happen at the Montreal Comedyworks, because Jimbo had an open mind about experimentation and improv. We were given free reign on the Tuesday nights, we hid a guy in a cake on that stage, we had an Oktoberfest show with live accordion, we had a comedy contest to find Mike’s new comedy BFF, complete with an onstage line-up of comedy judges, and many more fun shows that could never have happened anywhere else. Mike was even able to bring his heavy metal band Iron Ladel to the Comedyworks and test out his metal comedy shows, something you’ll be able to see on the Just For Laughs outdoor stage this summer.
Towards the end, Jimbo’s Pub and the Comedyworks was running on steam and laughter, held together by the collective love of everyone who has ever left a piece of themselves there. We knew it had to end, but we’re sad to see it go. Thank you Carla, Sephanie Jones, Sheila, Eman, Ian, Sherry, Kim, comedians, Denis, and Jimbo for all the good times. So long Jimbo’s thanks for all the shots!