Dec 7, 2018
   Jane Stanton and others at Yuk Yuks in Vancouver   

Read the original review on


Clayton Cyre needs an editor the way Justin Trudeau needs a plan to tackle climate change: the longer the problem is ignored, the more innocent people will suffer. And not just for spelling and punctuation, although he needs help there too, but mostly to ask the questions readers will be asking, such as "what?" and "why would you include that?" To wit:

The U-shaped seating setup Yuk Yuk’s Vancouver features utilizes every inch of space to fill the stage around Saturday’s Canadian comedians who keep everyone laughing for two solid hours.

This is the lead, the thing that's supposed to draw you in and make you want to read the rest of the article. I went with a savage climate change analogy, Cyre decided to describe the chair placement. While this approach isn't particularly intriguing, it is an accurate representation of what the next 1100 loosely related words are going to be like: a lot of who, what, where and when, not a lot of "why should I read this?"

This article is classified as a review, but it isn't. What it is is a "what I did on my summer vacation" recap of a thing that happened, the kind of story you get stuck listening to at a party that you initially assume is building to some sort of payoff, but then halfway through you realize that no, this person is just really bad at telling stories. Cyre uses a lot of words with varying degrees of success, but there are a few words he clearly doesn't know the meaning of, words like "salient," "pertinent" and "germane."

He then asks the woman if she would add her strange seal sneezing to her Tinder profile because he thinks it’s cute. Waitresses struggle to deliver alcohol to every table in pitch black darkness, adorned in shirts that say “Go Yuk Yourself.” Whitehead interacts with fresh faces filing in and one emerges from the darkness into the light to answer one of his questions....

Quite the detour there with the thing about the waitresses, huh? And it raises a lot of questions: Were the waitresses actually struggling in the darkness? I've never seen that happen. Has he ever read a review before? And if it was truly pitch black, how was he able to read their shirts? Ironically, despite being utterly irrelevant, evaluating the quality of the table service is the closest he's come to something that belongs in a review, but of course that was pure happenstance. He's merely telling us what he saw, with no additional insight or qualitative judgement. The Cole's Notes version of this paragraph is "I was looking at the stage, then I turned my head, then I turned back."

A good editor would've sent most of this slow-rolling discursive trainwreck back with that most basic of journalistic maxims: Why Would Anybody Care? Confusingly, Abort Magazine does have an editor, or at least some writers hide behind an Editor in Chief byline, but who it is and whether they actually edit anything remains murky. Adding further mystery, it's been around longer than I've lived in Vancouver and this is the first time I've heard of it. Who produces it? Did I just spend an afternoon dunking on the student newspaper at a special needs school? Like for real, email me if that's the case and I'll take it down.

Abort describes itself as "Canada's Only Counter-Culture Magazine and Podcast," which at least gives us an indication of where it resides on the hyperbole scale (roughly 2.5 gazillion), but leaves the more substantive questions unanswered. About all I could find out is that is ranked 34,865,653 in the world by SimilarWeb. I don't know what that means or how they arrive at their rankings, but I do know that my webcomic is ranked 17,090,730 and I know most of the readers by name.

The particularly hilarious personal jabs are when Parker talks about how hard it is to flex with women and compete with other men for their attention when you look like the IT guy at work, you look like you can fix a printer and you look like someone who’s very opinionated about anti-virus software. I can relate to this humour because I don’t compete very well either. Not because I’m a small guy, but because I lack jealousy and that’s a key factor in competition.

Why did I include that? Why did he?!

Parkers humour is very self depreciating [sic] to his small frame and brown skin tone, very frequently making jokes at his own expense.

This is another sentence that absolutely cries out for an editor. Cyre's writing is very redundant in his use of words, very frequently characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas; prolix. There's something oddly endearing about somebody using the wrong word and then typing out the definition of the word they meant to use, like a child telling you they need to put on their "baby soup" to go swimming. But that isn't the only weird way he ends sentences, sometimes he just writes down whatever happens to pop into his head. Maybe that's all he ever does.

J.J. Whitehead takes the stage with tremendous energy and charisma and will be in Victoria December 7th and 8th.

Not even so much as a comma in there to slow his train of thought enough to take that turn safely. Later, Cyre tells us that Jane Stanton humped a stool and teased a young couple about anal, thus illustrating the difference between precision and accuracy. There are some very specific details here, but they didn't happen. Stanton merely put her foot on the stool, maybe stretching her leg a bit, but didn't come close to humping it, and who even knows what she said that Cyre construed as "anal." These factual errors throw into question everything else he's told us about the show. Which is actually a good thing.

Reviews should never give away key parts of a show like plot twists and jokes. Cyre absolutely tries to tell us the comedians' material (almost constantly), but manages to omit or mangle enough details that none of the jokes he transcribed make any sense, thus preserving the punchlines and making a case for constructive self-sabotage. Two wrongs may not make a right, but failing to do something you shouldn't be doing in the first place at least gets you back to neutral. In this way Cyre is like the MAGA Bomber, whose incompetence at bomb-making didn't technically save people, but did result in nobody getting hurt.

Around this point, Cyre calls himself an "admitted stoner." Well heavens to Betsy, you don't say. Are you telling me that somebody who describes a performer's hair as a lead-in to a sentence referencing the set-ups of two completely unrelated jokes might not be firing on all cylinders? I couldn't be more shocked if I fellated an electric eel. This is the least surprising reveal since Clay Aiken came out of the closet. It's like the end of the movie Signs, when it's revealed that M Night Shyamalan was stupid the whole time.

The key takeaway from this review is that it's possible to write something bland and uninformative in a new and unique way. This is a sign of not just tediousness but also a lack of self-awareness. The ability to provide insight about a performance without giving too much away is the sign of a good reviewer. Unfortunately there was none of that here, and I have no hope for anyone involved with this aptly named publication.

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