By Jen Belanger
Mike Beaver never thought a joke from his days at Ryerson would become the name of a sketch comedy show.
The Bobroom is the name of a half-hour show and three other Ryerson theatre graduates will tape this week for The Comedy Network. The show is full of physical and situational humour, from sexual material to weight issues and wheelchair skits.
But The Bobroom is also the name of a walk-in closet-cum-smoking room where Beaver and his friends spent many of their university days.
In his second year at Ryerson, Beaver, who graduated in 1995, shared a room with a non-smoker at 48 Gerrard St. After dividing the room up, Beaver’s smoking habit bothered his roommate.
A walk-in closet quickly became the designated smoking area. The four-foot by eight-foot room was plastered with whatever Beaver and his buddies could think of: melted wax, Post-It notes with useless trivia and lines mumbled in a drunken state.
Magazine pictures, posters and photographs made up the wallpaper of the closet. For the final touch, someone taped a Bob Dylan poster on the inside door of the closet. The Bobroom was born.
“It only fit, like, two chairs but we managed to fit four or five people,” says Beaver over his cellphone from a bar. “It was our hangout, something we could have a smoke in without disturbing my roommate. What we smoked in there is another story,” Beaver says.
The latest version of The Bobroom is comprised of Beaver, Jason Jones, Stacey DePass and Rob Tinkler — all Ryerson graduates — and Jennifer Baxter, a theatre graduate from British Columbia.
Beaver speaks fondly of the Ryerson theatre program.
“Sure we took classes like theatre history, which is useless now, but we had some great acting classes,” he says. “Everyday we were performing, acting, improving. The course would rub off on you when you were constantly surrounded in your element.”
The five comedians think The Bobroom is a fitting name. “It’s a name that means something to us, there is history there,” Beaver says.
Deanne Goulet-McCallum, the audience coordinator for The Bobrom, is excited for the series to being. “They’ve done work at other comedy clubs but this is their first series, it should be a hit. This is brand new comedy.”