Building a Nelson comedy scene

Local comedian Mitchell Scott’s latest show will be at Spiritbar

Mitchell Scott is a lot of things in town.

He’s the publisher of Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine, he’s one of the driving forces behind a project to bring a gondola to Nelson, and in the last few years he’s been devoting a bunch of time to building a comedy scene in basement venues like Bloom Nightclub.

And now that he’s put some time into it, he’s found the hardest thing is actually filling the rooms — getting comedy on people’s mental radar and attracting regular audiences.

“I know some comedy nights in the past have struggled because they’re kind of one-offs, because there isn’t that comedy culture here in Nelson yet,” Scott told the Star, while promoting his upcoming show with comedian Tim Rabnett at Spiritbar on Thursday, Oct. 12.

“But I think that’s an important piece of being a culturally diverse town, and I think there’s no reason why Nelson couldn’t have a thriving scene here.”

Scott’s invited comics from outside the Kootenays to visit, in the meantime honing his skills as an MC. He compared the work he’s doing to someone trekking out into the wilderness to build mountain biking trails, in the hopes of attracting people to ride them.

In the meantime he’s got to be funny, and one thing he’s discovered since taking the stage is his knack for improv.

“I think people like when they can see you just came up with that, and I think those are the true comics, the guys where you can say ‘talk about dogs’ and they can run with that,” he said.

Scott first threw himself into his comedy three years ago, when he was invited to perform at the Revelstoke Comedy Festival. He was the only amateur comic among a bunch of professionals.

“It’s taken me a little while to figure out my scene, because doing comedy in a small town means a lot of the same people come to all the shows, so I made a pact I’d never say the same thing twice,” he said.

“Makes it more difficult, and scarier for me, which has made the learning curve slower but I have a lot of friends who, I think, actually enjoy watching me struggle up there.”

He’s stoked for Rabnett’s set.

“Tim will be filming a comedy special. He’s Rich Rabnett’s brother, a well-known musician in town, and from what I hear he’s going to be bringing his A-game. I’m definitely putting a lot of energy into this, and I’m basically obsessed with trying to think of new, original things to talk about,” he said.

Scott will be doing a 20- to 30-minute set, while Rabnett will be doing a full hour.

“The more people come out and support nights like this, the more of these events there will be. You don’t have to stand in the back of some concert swaying to the music, this is a nice night where you can just sit down and laugh with a whole bunch of other people. It’s a great date night. “

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