It’s never too early or too late for a good laugh — at least that’s the impression Canadian comedy stars Geri Hall and Gary Pearson present when discussing Middle Raged, their laugh-out-loud sketch comedy show.
Hall (22 Minutes, Second City) and Pearson (MadTV, Corner Gas, Second City) use this 90-minute show to explore issues couples 30 to 65 face. They range from raising children, empty nests and financial issues to organizing date nights and dealing with elderly parents.
Currently, on a 26-stop tour of Ontario and the western provinces, the duo presents comedy sketches, song parodies and improv at the Arden Theatre on Friday, Oct. 6.
“I love working with Gary. We first met on 22 Minutes and that’s where we cemented our friendship. After 22 Minutes, I left to have babies and Gary would come and visit bringing a cup of coffee. We’d laugh at how different our lives had become in a few short years. I was now deep in diapers, and we started to share stories,” said Hall.
“We’d share memories and stories about everything from trying on a bikini in a mom body to paying bills. Some of the stuff was so dark and funny, we thought it could be in a show.”
The seed was planted when Hall planned a date with her hubby after their first child was born. It was cancelled just as they sat in the car. Hall realized they didn’t have a will and if a collision occurred, there were no instructions as to who would raise the baby. The couple jumped out of the car and spent the evening writing a will on napkins.
“We would tell each other these horrible and tragic stories and the other person would think it was funny," Pearson said. While Hall saw tragedy in the first date, Pearson was inspired by the humour and wrote the first sketch.
Middle Raged’s regional premiere was at the 2019 Edmonton Fringe Festival. Tours were planned across the country before COVID forced a two-year hiatus.
“We’ve come back stronger than ever. But we’re still catching up and doing shows that were planned four years ago,” Pearson said.
The duo uses a Second City style of building a sketch. They take a bare-bones idea and build on it making the blueprint both personal and universal. The more a sketch is performed, the sharper and tighter it becomes, and the duo’s natural chemistry shines through the lines.
“We tweak the jokes, and on our best nights, our audience keeps laughing. We don’t want to leave much room for them to breath,” said Hall.
The duo has performed Middle Raged from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Despite each province’s diversity, they’ve discovered Canadians have one thing in common.
“Canadians have a great ability to laugh at themselves. We have such a deprecating sense of humour. Wherever we go, people laugh and admit we’re a hot mess. Never mind keeping up with the Joneses. We can’t even keep up with our kids.”
For Hall, the show has presented stellar opportunities.
“Performing with Gary is special because he’s such a gifted actor. After our shows, people come up and say, ‘you read my diary,’ and we laugh. It’s been a joy to write material for such a specific demographic,” she said.
Middle Raged starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $41.50 available at 780-459-1542 or online at tickets.stalbert.ca.