So I was off to Saskatchewan for another tour. Yorkton, Saskatoon, Swift Current and North Battleford. 4 shows in 4 days in 4 cities. Obviously, I was in for the time of my life, or, at least, of October 2010.
The trip started easily enough. I flew into Saskatoon to meet up with the comics (Kristeen Von Hagen and Garrett Clark, great people and comics) I was working with. On the flight out, going through security, I was reprimanded for not putting my liquid toiletries in a re-sealable plastic bag for everyone’s protection. This is stupid at the best of times, but at 7:15am in a slow security line, its too much for me to take. It’s the dumbest things imaginable Does anybody actually believe that putting toothpaste – or a bomb – in a plastic baggy is going to do anything other than increases plastic baggy sales? Who feels safe because of this? And how am I not supposed to say something?And how do I do it without getting banned from flying? These questions were pacing through my tired head. In the end, I insincerely thanked them for helping keep me and everybody safe with the little plastic bags. I got the eyes, I gave them back, I went to my plane and I felt like a won the battle. The war rages on.
The flight was uneventful in that it didn’t crash. At the Saskatoon airport, I picked up the rental. For whatever reason, I felt compelled to ask what the drunk driving policy in Saskatchewan was. However, as I’ve learned over time, such questions don’t lead to you getting your car any quicker, so I bit my tongue and laughed to myself, much to the confusion of the car agent. With that, and lunch in beautiful (honestly) downtown Saskatoon, it was off to Yorkton.
We got to the show about ten minutes before it started, which is the prefect recipe for a weird show. And that it was. They laughed loud. Then they laughed even more. Then they groaned and laughed more. Odd crowd, but good. The staff gave me ‘the eyes’ and I didn’t know why. ‘The Eyes’ are when people have a negative commentary about you in your head that they refuse to share with words – but the eyes say it all. And eyes I got. I didn’t much care or understand why. After the show, when we emerged from the green room, the remaining audience, about ha;f the room, or 150 people applauded us, which was new. I got swaggery and gave some eyes back to the staff. And, nicely enough, a kind man who was admittedly there with his mistress from another town, gave me some pot. I was on top of the world in the middle of Yorkton.
The next day, we got in the car and headed back to Saskatoon, for this was the tour that direct routing forgot. As we got in the car and started our drive, phones rang and emails were received. As it turned out, the eyes from the night before had reason. There was a miscommunication in the contract about what our content was to consist of. They wanted a no swears, no offensive jokes. I didn’t know this, neither did the Comics I was with. What they got from me was Fuckstorm like few other. I swore like my life depended on it. I swore like I was being paid by the fuck. I was tired, I had travelled all day – half of it angry still at the baggy situation at the airport – and I had no idea about the clean language clause. They were upset and complained to our agents. I resolved it in my head by saying the audience loved it, so fuck them, and I swear I won’t swear for the rest of the tour.
We had a lot of fun, Garrett, Kristeen and I. We stopped at a few towns on the way. Sheho – which is real; Foam Lake – home of Pat Elyniuk and supposed ‘Best Place in the world to live’, and a town who’s name eludes me. In that town, I was bombarded with questions from people in the General Store as to why we were in their town. I don’t like conversation like this, makes me feel uncomfortable – so I pointed out Garrett and mentioned that he is from Australia. Their jaws hit the floor and I walked away scot-free.
We got to Saskatoon and I vowed to be cleaner, and I was. It was a great show, and everybody was happy. But I did manage a loud swear. On TV was the hockey game I was dying to watch. The second I walked in the Casino, the Oilers (hated team) scored on the Flames (beloved team) and, without thought, yelled, and I mean yelled, ‘fuck!’. More than a few people turned their heads to see what the ruckus was, and I was as shocked as them as I totally forgot I was in public. These things happen often to me, you see.
The next morning, we were waiting in the lobby of the Hotel when a staff member started asking us how the show went. We told him it was probably the best show ever, and he asked us where next. We said ‘Swift Current’, and he looked us askew. He asked a few more questions, then finally ‘Are you guys in The Crash Test Dummies? ‘Cause I was going to give you guys free breakfast in the restaurant’. Now the problem was, a) we aren’t in the band, b) it turned out the sleeping dude on the couch was lead singer, and c) we were hungry. We stammered that we weren’t the Band, we were the Yuk Yuks tour, goddammit, and is breakfast still being served anyways? Caught in a tough situation, and with the lead singer beside us un-awoken an un-anle to verify that we were deserving as any of free grub, he determined that we were indeed free meal worthy, too, and off to the fancy ass restaurant for free food we were. We ate, received horrific service from a battle-axe of an old-bag, tipped appropriately, and headed to Swift Current.
Swift Current was a fun show, but just such a boring part of the trip. I did laundry in my hotel. In Saskatoon, the night before, we stayed the best, deluxe hotel in town. In Swift Current, we were at The Super 8. Bucked off my horse and facing no chance at all of a free meal the next morning, the show went off without a hitch. We went to a small bar where a live band played, where cowboys tried to pick up Kristeen, where people stared at us, and where happily we left not too late to head home to the Super 8.
Which brings us to Saturday, the last day of the trip. Off to North Battleford, Saskatchewan. I’d never been here, so my excitement was higher than it normally would be for going to a place like North Battleford.
North Battleford seems to have a history of turmoil about it. The name itself is violent. Battleford. Its actually part of a larger area known on highway signs as ‘The Battlefords’. In town, there’s a ‘Cut Knife Street’. There’s also ‘Kill Deer Park’. I was expecting a sign for ‘Abortion Lake’ at any point.
The show was fun, then like that, the night was done. All that was left was a drive back to Saskatoon the next morning and plane ride that was uneventful in that it landed properly, back home in Vancouver. It was a fun tour and I learned absolutely no life affirming lessons at all.