Once upon a time, I put on a genie costume and kicked Ryan Gosling’s ass in my grade seven lip-sync competition; true story. Once upon this other time, I was walking by Shopper’s Drug Mart when this old fat woman gets chased out of the store by security and accidentally pantsed in mid-chase; true story! Once upon this completely separate time, I got punched in the face by a random crazy dude on the street, called 911, chased down the dude with the cops until he ran into a vacant construction site and climbed up to the top of the unfinished building and then jumped to his death; true fucking story!!!
(Photo by Dejon)
Actually, none of these things happened to me, but they are all true stories. I know this because they were all told by amateur storytellers this past Tuesday at The Drake lounge as part of a new weekly event called Grant’s True Tales. The sponsor, Grant’s Whisky, has designed a night similar to The Moth (http://themoth.org/) storytelling that has been a mainstay in NYC for over a decade. While corporate sponsored and occurring in one of the stuffiest, least comfortable bars in the city, there’s a certain campfire-charm to sharing unscripted, true tales with a room full of strangers.
The hostess for the night, Sara Hennessy , is obviously pretty pumped to be involved in something that brings such bizarre people and tales out of the woodwork: “It’s like we’re all a bunch of old Scottish men sitting around a fire telling stories from times of yore and sipping scotch.” she says.
Storytellers are given seven minutes on the mic to relate their stories to the crowd. They also get a gift bag from Grant’s that includes a notebook, a pen, and a mickey of Grant’s Family Reserve blended scotch whisky. I was definitely seduced by this offering and got up and told my own story. “From a stand-up’s point of view, where you usually get paid nothing, or maybe a single drink ticket, it’s a really good deal to get such a great freebie” Says Sara. “This one time I got paid a slice of cake but no one else at the show got any and all the other comics were looking at me like: ’Why does she have cake?!’”
I recounted a tale of when I used to work as a Rogers technician I had to spend a Monday morning rewiring a massive gay bathhouse by Yonge and Wellesley while patrons milled about in towels and g-strings. It’s a story that I’ve told countless times to friends but telling it to a bar full of strangers added a whole new dimension to it. “We always half-ass it when we tell stories to our friends” Sara mentions. “But when people get up there it’s a completely different scenario. That’s what we’re looking for. Not everyone in the world is a stand-up comic. It’s funny because some people are just weird and have hilarious stories to tell.”
Grant’s True Tales runs every Tuesday from 7-8:30pm in the The Drake Lounge. Show up early to sign up.
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