Review: Brent Butt's act in Cowichan was comically sweet, but too short

The success of his hit series Corner Gas has made comedian Brent Butt a familiar face to people across Canada and in many parts of the world. -
The success of his hit series Corner Gas has made comedian Brent Butt a familiar face to people across Canada and in many parts of the world.
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Sure, Brent Butt got laughs during Saturday's Cowichan Theatre show.

But at $47.50 per ticket, Corner Gas' creator was sadly running on fumes by night's end.

That might be OK in a comedy club, but not at a professional price for a guy who's left Cowichan laughing before.

Maybe Butt's star-struck.

Maybe he's lost some of his edge from too much TV work.

But he seemed to present a one-hour show in a 1 /12/-hour slot for about 400 comedy fans.

By 9:15 p.m. he was asking folks if they had any questions, clearly struggling for something to fill time.

If all else failed, Butt could have fallen back on improv techniques that are the backbone of comedians.

The guys with the Spilt Milk troupe had no problems creating laughs using audience members and situational shenanigans during several appearances at the Cowichan Fringe.

Looks like Butt never played theatre sports.

Still, the night did supply levity for Cowichanians recovering from Black Friday debt, and other possible pre-Chistmas bummers.

Intro-act Jamie Hutchinson threw us a clever curve ball as an announcer introducing himself.

His subtly sincere routine spanned trigger-happy cops ("What do I need a holster for?"), milk ("We should be able to breastfeed until we say we've had enough"), federal Fisheries counting salmon ("They keep moving!"), and survival hunting ("I'd rather hunt cows"), to B.C.'s killer bud ("Not everyone in B.C. does drugs, but ..."), and Olympic biathlon-rifle use ("Sorry Hans, but I'm 18ยข away from a gold medal").

Butt's casually clean delivery meandered between daily observations, such as signs leaving avalanche areas "but we're never told we're entering the danger area."

Butt's barrel of monkeys also held that B.C.'s a "hotbed" of sasquatches. "Where would one hide in (his native) Saskatchewan?"

Older guys dying their hair with a Sharpie, Butt's family reunion, caskets ("I'll pass on the leather headrest and the DVD player"), boxing, pro-wrestling ("Could you use those moves in a real fight?"), big goalie cups, and skinny, teenage airline pilots "sipping a juice box in the cockpit" were all gut-busters.

Then, right around the time he quipped "There've always been dirtbags" after seeing ancient graffiti carved into Roman ruins, his enjoyable act began sputtering.

Butt began winging it, talking about his new movie No Clue, amid some one-liners.

Yes, Butt's routine was sweet, but too short for the price. Get back to the joke drawing board, Brent.

Comedy-act rating: 7 segues out of 10.

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