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Good Times opens with some of Canada's best stand-up comedians

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 It’s all in the name— good times. Good Times provides a new venue for live comedy and in the process provides owner John Pogorzelski  a chance to fulfil his life’s ambition of being his own boss by doing something he is passionate about. John and his brother are old hands at creating entertainment opportunities, as their company Pogo bros can call Lethbridge  Oktoberfest celebrations among the feathers in their caps. John Pogorzelski is excited to open Good Times. photo by Richard Amery
“We’re still going to do Pogo Brothers, John Pogorzelski said, adding he and his brother Roy run karaoke and games nights all over the city. But now they have started their own venue to focus on games and regular live comedy.
 The new 30 seat capacity club, located at (317 3rd Street South) in the basement had their official opening, Jan. 5 with a showcase of professional stand-up comedians  touring comedians including Cory Mack, Mike “Pickle” Dambra, Charles Andrew, Adam Ruby Payne, Renee Manners, Alex Biron and Shawn Gramiak.
The opening night showcases were pretty much all sold out and give the public a preview of the comedy to come in the next two months as all of the comedians will be performing their own solo shows in the coming weeks.

 They have a few kinks to work out, with sound and lighting but the essence of a really cool, underground comedy club.
I caught  the very first showcase at 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 5.

 The first comedian Alex Biron, who will be back Feb. 9, joked about the different kinds of homeless people in larger and smaller cities. He  had a funny bit comparing what $80 million means to a CEO compared to what $80 means to an ordinary, poorer person.

 Surrey, B.C. born, Fort McMurray based comedian Renne Manners, who returns Feb. 16,  opened her set by opening an oversized list of jokes  “so I won’t forget them”  and joked about being a single mom and how her seven-year-old son also writes jokes as well as a funny bit about the number of teen moms in her high school in Surrey.

Charles Payne, who returns on Jan. 26, observed how “white the room” was and joked about how disgusting and confusing dick pics are, and online dating over 40.
I couldn’t see much of Adam Ruby’s manic  set as he stayed mostly at the back of the stage and out of my eyesight from my seat at the side of the stage. He  joked abut parenting now compared to in the ’70s and ’80s when he grew up. He returns to Good Times, Jan. 19.

 New York born comedian  Mike Dambra performs in Lethbridge about once a year. He was more in your face than the other comedians. He joked about spending a SaturdShawn Gremiak performing at Good Times. photo by Richard Amery, jShawn Gremiak performing at Good Times. photo by Richard Amery, Jan. 5. Photo by Richard Ameryan. 5. Photo by Richard Ameryay night performing  comedy in a basement, laughing “ I have another show at a pizza lace after this.” He joked about how Canadians are annoyingly over polite compared to New Yorkers, but spent about half of his set teasing a front row patron about selling furniture for a living. He received quite a bit of applause for his set. Dambra returns to Good Times, Feb. 2.

Cory Mack was the comedian I was waiting to see as she is the sister of my former boss. I even booked her for Fringe Festival back in Kenora, several years ago. Her routine was about growing up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan and  about how to get older kids to move out of the house by having louder sex. She also had a funny bit comparing how people, namely her husband, stroke their smart smart phones compared to  pleasuring a woman. She is back at Good Times this Saturday.

 Shawn Gramiak closed off the showcase with a hilarious self - deprecating set, which mostly concentrated on trying to date when you look like an oddball like him (big, burly, with long unruly blonde hair and glasses,) joking,“people are always asking me if I have a van.” He returns on Feb. 23

Cory Mack returns to Good Times, Jan. 12. Photo by Richard Amery
Good Times closed off December by testing the waters with a few soft openings.
“They all went very well,” Pogorzelski said.

“People were laughing and having fun,” he continued.
“It’s all in the name. Good Times is a variety club. We‘ll have live stand up comedy every weekend and trivia and I have a music trivia game that is different than anywhere else. I’ve created my own game board for it. The only thing we won’t be doing is having live music,” he said, adding there already plenty of good venues which already feature live music.

Chalres Payne performing at Good Times, Jan. 5. photo by Richard Amery“It’s (his music trivia game)  fun and interactive,” he said.
“I wanted to be my own boss  and I want to do something I’m passionate about. Last year I started doing stand up comedy and have become pretty good at it. And I’ve organized events before when I was with the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association,” he continued, adding he has butted heads with a few old bosses who he didn’t feel were receptive to his out of the box thinking and original ideas.

“For stand up comedy, the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s comedy open mic was the only place to perform live stand up comedy and that‘s only once a month,” he observed.

 “Good Times will feature a weekly comedy open mic every Thursday, trivia on Wednesday, Fridays will be Variety Fridays, with hypnotists and mentalists and touring stand up comedy on Saturday nights,” he summarized.
“These will be comedians who have been doing it for 20 years. These are real professional,” he said.
“I wanted to do more comedy. It’s a good place to feel good,” he said.
Tickets and events are available through

 A version of this story appears in the Jan. 9, 2019 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper.
— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
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