The Mayor of Comedy: A Canadian Stand-up Story is an eye-opening documentary that follows Sandra as she rallies the biggest names in the Canadian comedy industry in an effort to address the many challenges they face. Sandra and filmmaker Matt Kelly give viewers an all-access pass to the murky world of Canadian showbiz, a world where the funniest people in the country struggle and the industry strives to keep it that way.
There is something immediately likeable about comedian Sandra Battaglini, the host and interviewer in this feature documentary exploring the state of the stand-up comedy in Canada. She has no pretensions (in an early scene, she is advised to fix her hair for the camera and then laughs off its unruliness with a “fuck it”) and as the founder of The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians, earnestly lobbying Canadian politicians to fund comedians.
It’s too bad then, that we don’t get to exclusively follow her story in this film. Director Matt Kelly seems intent on shining a spotlight on a who’s who in the Canadian stand-up comic scene. As a result, the film features interviews with over 30 different comics, including Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall) and K-Trevor Wilson (Letterkenny), who either speak to stand-up as a business and art form in Canada, or who share their own experiences and backgrounds as comics. The result is a film that can sometimes come across as unfocused and meandering, without a clear structure or arc.
But as someone completely unfamiliar with the stand-up comedy scene in Canada, I did find this film to be an eye opener. I expect most people that watch this film will walk away with a far greater appreciation for the performers they see the next time they drop by a Yuk Yuk’s.
Amen Jafri is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and sometimes brand consultant, currently in development on a short on self-marriage. Google her or visit amenjafri.com for more info.