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Improv at Granville Island’s TheatreSports

Comedy shows are hands down one of my favourite high activities in Vancouver—and the city’s best has to be improv night at TheatreSports (according to yours truly, that is). Nestled in Granville Island—an easily accessible arts and shopping district located under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge—is a small theatre highlighting local and touring comedians and actors every day of the week.

Right now, the standard improv shows run at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Some of the regular slots are currently filled with Merry Kissmas: A Royal Romance—a Christmas-themed improv based on royal weddings repetitiously cliched by the Hallmark channel this time of year.

In the show, a rotating cast of five or so players will run through skits, games, and sketches—all based on audience prompts and suggestions. A host will keep the night running smoothly and an audiovisual team accompanies the players (as best as they can considering the whole act is relatively spontaneous).

Here's how this night goes down:

7:30 p.m.: Smoke what I affectionately call a “baby joint”. A half-gram pinner of a take-it-easy strain to warm up the munchies before grabbing dinner and drinks at one of Granville Island’s handful of restaurants. I like Granville Island Brewing, but depending on the night you may have to endure a bit of a wait for a seat. They have an amazing grilled cheese sandwich with brie that I pair with a tasting flight of their in-house brewed craft suds. Other nice spots to grab a bite are Bridges, which as a beautiful view of the False Creek, or the Sandbar for a fresh selection of seafood. Another option is the public market—which has a huge variety of locally sourced foodie delights—but that closes at 7 p.m. I’d suggest taking in the earlier show if you’d like to sample the market.

9:00 p.m.: Grab the bill and take a walk through Granville Island after dark. The shops are closed, but most areas are still well-lit and there’s plenty of street art to gaze at while you spark your pre-show joint. I like something a little heavier around this point—a higher octane strain makes the jokes a little punchier and laughs a little harder.

9:10ish p.m.: Head into the theatre. Inside, there is a bar with a decent selection of beer, wine, cider, and hard liquor. Grab a drink and hang out in the lounge before the show starts. Seats are assigned so don’t worry about lining up at the doors too early.

As a creature of habit, Trash Panda Hazy IPA by Parallel 49 is always my go-to at improv.”

9:30 p.m.: Take your seats. Laugh, chortle, cringe, giggle, etc.

11:00ish p.m.: Take a wind-down stroll to gab about your favourite sketches or games. By this point, the Aquabus has stopped running and transit will be limited—so plan your trip home accordingly.

My suggestion:

If being stoned in public gives you anxiety, a comedy show is always a great entry point. You’re sitting in the dark, usually in a moderately comfortable chair, laughing along with a crowd of people who are all mostly stoned too. Take a companion who loves comedy. It’s also a great date night activity.

Don’t worry about being called on to participate. The players want active and engaging responses, so they’re not prone to picking on the bloodshot wallflowers avoiding eye contact. And there are usually plenty of willing participants jumping out of their seats to get involved. If you do participate in a sketch, however, it’s often rewarded with a small prizes, like free tickets.

My favourite spot in the house is the bench tucked against the far wall (“Bench B/1-4”). The seats are comfortable, out of the line of sight for random call-ons, and has a bar table for your drinks.

Sound like fun? You can find tickets online or purchase at the door.