By: Eva Morris
On Wednesday, November 10, Fredericton’s favourite up-and-coming comedy collective, The Labour Union, performed a show for an enthusiastic full house at The Cap. Between laughs and wiping the beer foam off of your upper lip, you and your friends surely asked yourselves: who are these funny guys, anyway?
So, who the heck is The Labour Union? Well, who better to ask than one of the founders of The Labour Union, anti-long division activist, Dawson Gorham!
“The core group of us as of right now consists of Collin Flanagan and myself who founded the Labour Union, as well as Harrison Palmer, Jason McIntyre, and Jake Martin, who have been with us from the very beginning.” Gorham says. “It also includes Leonce Sindahebura, Sophie Angbao, and Aidan Creaghan.”
When asked how The Labour Union came to be, Gorham said, “Collin, Harrison, and I are childhood friends and have always loved comedy and making people and our friends laugh. Collin has been doing comedy on and off for roughly four years, starting in St. John’s. I’d always wanted to try stand-up myself but didn’t know of any lanes locally to dip my feet into,” he continued. “When Collin approached me with the name I immediately whipped up a logo and that was that! We set up a date for our first show, but we still needed the space to put it on. I have a garage that I wasn’t really using for very much but storage for empty boxes and rusted old appliances. We knew we probably couldn’t book a bar right from the jump so we took a few weeks to really clean everything out and give it a new coat of paint here and there. We managed to get some stage lights that The Calithumpians had in storage as Collin, Jason, Jake, and Harry are all former employees. We had lots of our friends come out and put up photos and decorations to really make it feel like something other than the place I park my car in the winter. We got some old pallets for a stage and bought some rough old microphones that we had plugged into a Marshall amp that was on its last legs. We decided that we wanted to try something new by not just performing stand-up, but also having sketches intertwined with the line up.
“Our core focus was to try to establish an actual comedy scene here with consistent shows happening around the city. We had our first show and roughly twenty people showed up which was far more than expected,” Gorham recalled. “We started to get more of a following on Instagram and then Matt from Grid City reached out, explaining that he’d like to write an article on what we had been up to in the garage. Once it was published, with winter on its way to make us close up the garage, we decided it was time for us to start looking for venues that could host us.”
The Labour Union has since performed at a few local hotspots including The Cap and York County Cider, surely with many more shows to come as they take on Fredericton.
“We just have always loved comedy and felt as if the many comedic minds in this city weren’t getting the representation they deserve,” Gorham added. “At the end of the day we just love making each other laugh and we wanted to bring that to an audience. After the few [pandemic] years we’ve collectively had, we figured people were due for a good laugh.”
For any other local comics out there looking to get involved in the community’s comedy scene, reaching out to The Labour Union might be a great way to start.
“We run workshops every Friday, where new and established comics can come and run through their material with a group of their peers,” Gorham said. “We get people to come, tell their jokes, and then we try to give feedback based on what they say to try and make their jokes the best they can be! Collin likes to say, ‘if you can get up at one of these workshops, tell four or five jokes, and get some laughs, you can almost be sure it’ll work on a stage.’ The best way to reach us is by Direct Messaging us on Instagram @itsthelabourunion. Instagram is the best way for people looking to try stand-up to get into what we’re doing.”