Behind the Curtain

Tonight We’re Going to Party Like it’s 19 Million Years Ago

With Jason Grimmer, Kate Hammer, and Dimitri Kyres of Party Dinosaur

by Caleigh Crow

Three of Montreal’s hardest working comedians, Jason Grimmer, Kate Hammer, and Dimitri Kyres are gearing up for their show, Party Dinosaur, on May 12 for Sketchfest 2018. Party Dinosaur is a multidisciplinary comedy show featuring standups and improvisers alongside sketch writers and performers.

Jason and Dimitri are both recognized artists on the scene, and improvised cop comedy Precinct, one of a few projects they’ve worked on together, was a 2017 St Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival hit, and went on to a life after FRINGE in Montreal and Toronto. While Kate is a relative newcomer to Montreal, she hasn’t wasted any time establishing herself here. Her sketch troupe, Lil Strawberry Bitch, is also performing at Sketchfest this year.

Jason and Dimitri credit DJ Mausner and her celebrated Joketown for paving the way for Party Dinosaur. They were particularly inspired by the notion of bringing together a variety of comic talents under one roof.

Joketown will always stay in my heart as one of the most important shows I ever got to be a part of,” says Dimitri, “because at the core its main function was to bring standup, sketch, improvisers and any other kind of discipline of comedy together working with each other.”

He continues, “It’s easy for comedians to stay in their own corners and only work with the people they feel safe with, so to do this show and come out of our shells a little bit and work with these other people really broadens horizons and makes a great show.”

Jason is the only person to perform in every Party Dinosaur show and has also taken on the role of producer from Amanda McQueen, who started the show in 2016. Given that the cast is drawing from such a huge pool of talent, every show features different performers. In addition to Jason, Dimitri, and Kate, this edition of Party Dino will include a strong out-of-town showing. To name a few: Tim Blair (of Tallboyz II Men), John Blair (Sketchfest 2017’s Best Newcomer), Erica Gellart, all three from Toronto, and from New York City, Danielle Grace, Eliza Kingsbury, respected comedians in their communities.

“There is an aesthetic here in Montreal that is very different from Toronto and very different from New York City, and it’s only when we exchange ideas and comedic sensibilities that we really refine our styles,” says Dimitri. “It’s only when we come together that we start learning from each other. That’s why I love Sketchfest.”

“It’s like a comedy mosaic where everyone can keep their own voices. You’re seeing such a rich slice of comedy, and knowing this show is going to have a bit of Toronto, a bit of Montreal, and a bit of New York which is going to add so much,” Kate says.

May 12th 8pm is coming up soon, get ready for a killer night of comedy and get your tix ahead of time at Party Dino promo video #1: Jason Finds Hopestarring Kate Hammer, Alex Brown, David Kaufman, Dimitri Kyres, and Jason Grimmer. Directed by Andy Assaf.

Posted by Party Dinosaur Sketch Show on Thursday, April 26, 2018

The thrill of Party Dinosaur is its tendency towards the experimental driven by a short rehearsal period. Writers and performers don’t have the luxury of questioning exactly how funny a sketch is, so there’s a lot of room to get wild and weird with it. As Kate says, you have to “trust the funny.”

“The night of Party Dinosaur is an exhilarating thing. No matter how much time we give for tech rehearsal we’re working until the doors open.” Jason says laughing, “Ninety percent of the time we do Party Dino there is someone telling the audience outside that the door will open soon but we’re still onstage trying to run through a sketch and finish it before it opens.”

For the veteran Dimitri, Party Dinosaur is a chance to chase a different high. “You can walk away from improv after a so-so night because you walk in with nothing anyway, but with sketch you walk in with something you’ve written. If it doesn’t go well, you take it a little more personally but if it lands it’s the best feeling in the world,” Dimitri says.

Joining Party Dinosaur was a no brainer for Kate and she thanks the cast for giving her such a warm welcome. “I love to work with people where I feel supported and respected, and ultimately I am funnier because we’re opening a space for new generation of comedy that isn’t oppressive, that’s supportive in every single way,” she says.

Dimitri says, “It’s going to be nuts, it’s New York City, Toronto, and Montreal comedy meshing together creating this –“

“Don’t say mosaic cause Kate already used it,” Jason interjects.

“Stew is available,” I offer.

Kate says, “Stew with Toronto carrots and Montreal beef.”

Dimitri tries, “It’s going to be a triple layer cake!”

Whatever food analogy you want to use, Party Dinosaur promises to be a raucous good time. Check them out May 12, 8 PM at Montreal Improv. For more information on Party Dinosaur, click here. For more information on Sketchfest, click here.