POT TV – Stoner Sundays Open Mic with Mike Rita at Vapor Central LIVE at 9pm est. Don’t forget! This weekend it’s STONER SATURDAYS at Vapor Central! Tomorrow is cancelled so tonight will be our show! 9:20 Showtime at Vapor Central (667 Yonge) and you can stream the show live from www.VaporCentral.com
Where Laughter Isn’t the Only Thing Chronic. We have a big show with some of our Vapor favorites dropping in. BRAP Vapor Central sits high – or rather, sits high – above the bustle of Yonge Street just south of Bloor. The unobtrusive second-floor neighbour to the Toronto Hemp Company, Vapor Central is the homegrown hub of two budding Toronto sub-cultures: Marijuana and Comedy. Thanks to Stoner Sundays founder Mike Rita, it isn’t just weed causing uncontrollable fits of laughter.
It’s 8:45pm on show night and although it’s scheduled to begin in 15 minutes, Rita won’t take the stage for another half hour because… well, what’s the rush? I mean, most of the audience is lobotomized – hitting a plethora of smoking apparatus; a bong here, volcano there. They aren’t going anywhere. Although Rita would prefer punctuality, his 18-month experience as the Don of Stoner Sundays has taught him to patiently wait for the audience to arrive.
And they do. Continuously. For 45 minutes.
People in their early-20s flock from street level up the antique, stylish wooden stairs, past the friendly dreadlocked lady collecting a $5 guest fee, past the tables adorned with ashtrays (no tobacco!), before they slump down in the soft, black-leather couches situated like gallery seating in front of a small stage platform. The room carries the pungent, skunky smell best described as ‘dad’s garage.’
Originally began as an open mic show in March 2011, Vapor Central’s Stoner Sundays initially attracted a weekly crowd of 20. Today it’s grown to nearly 120 (near capacity). After winning the Tim Sims’ Cream of Comedy Award (an accolade given to Toronto’s most promising young comedian) back in 2010, Mike carried his notoriety into producing live shows. Piggybacking on the success of the Vapor’s other comedy show, Bryan O’Gorman’s Weedy Wednesdays, Mike’s ‘Open Stage’ format offered an alternative to Byan’s strictly stand-up show. Characteristic to stoner culture, Mike’s vision of an inclusive, diverse ‘Open Stage’ means that if a performer has an act, Mike will give them stage time. All those comics looking to get on stage results in a three hour running time some weeks. There’s no discrimination when it comes to who holds the mic; musicians, beat boxers, magicians, and comedians – who still make up 2/3 of performances – have all graced the stage.
“It’s Toronto’s own pocket of Freedom,” says K. Trevor Wilson, winner of 2012 Just for Laughs Homegrown Comedy Award. Stoner Sundays gives audiences the freedom to smoke, and performers the freedom of expression. Everyone wins.
But don’t mistake Vapor Central as simply the go-to hangout for toking Torontonians (although, it is the spot). The Vapor has also hosted some of the city’s most reputable comedians: Ron Josol (opened for Russell Peters), Dante Nero (Chappelle Show), Dave Merheje (MTV Live), Gilson Lubin (opened for Dave Chappelle) are just several of the acts who’ve taken the stage. Mike lists his own personal local favorites as Graham Kay and Chris Robinson, two comics he swears are going to ‘make it big.’ So why has Vapor Central developed such a stellar reputation among both comedians and fans?
Simply put, Vapor Central is a comfortable space for both performers and audiences.
The room’s chill attitude seems to be amplified by its ‘mancave’ décor best articulated by Rita as “Toronto’s biggest apartment.” The long rectangular room boasts a dozen comfy leather couches, warm wooden floors, and small cocktail tables resting soft drinks and chocolate bars. A prominent 2-ft stage covered in speakers and off-handed music equipment lies under large windows overlooking Yonge St. Posters of Bob Marley hang between the numerous wall-mounted flatscreen TV’s streaming CCTV of the Stoner Sunday stage (vital in reaching the last third of the audience who reside in the back of the room). This place is relaxed.
Vapor Central is great for both performers and the audience as it’s a true barometric gauge for what’s really funny. Rita delivers the lowdown: the audience somehow knows when a performer is trying to be funny. They’ve committed their focus whole-heartedly to the performer, allowing their reaction to correlate with the performers’ genuine conviction (although the crowd expresses praise or failure subtly).
“If you’re slightly funny, you’ll get occasional grins. Mildly funny is a goofy smile, actually funny is a laugh, and hilarious is, well… hilarious,” explains Mike.
So what’s the downside?
“Everyone is high as shit,” he says.
Oh yeah, right- it’s a weed lounge.
Mike Rita has taken Vapor Central comedy to a higher (giggle) level by expanding the CCTV broadcast to the rest of the world via Pot.TV. With his small army of supporters, Rita hopes that one day Toronto will have it’s own pot-comedy club and have it serve as the apex to an international pot-friendly comedy circuit: Vancouver, Amsterdam, Toronto.
Finally, to address your legality paranoia, this is a fully registered, legal place for medical users to smoke medicinal marijuana; you just can’t give it to people or sell it. Otherwise, it’s all good.
Make Vapor Central your comedy (and toking) safe-haven. But in case you’ve already forgot everything we just said, know this:
Stoner Sundays: where the bud is ample, the laughter is minimal, and the cotton-mouth runs rampant.
BOTTOM LINE: If you like weed, you’ll love Vapor Central.
Special Stoner Saturday 2NITE 9pm @tweetsfromreets OPEN MIC – Vapor Central will be CLOSED at 9pm Sunday December 1st! Madness starts around 920pm, 667 Yonge Street !! Be There !! the best show in town sunday night, so come celebrate with a little Reets, Weeds, and Laughters. Madness starts around 9pm, 667 Yonge Street !! Be There !! Or Here on POTTV
Visit Room Review: Stoner Sundays at Vapor Central for the full article…
Check out the Vapor Central Facebook page.
Listen to the The Stoner Sundays Audio Podcast Stoner Sundays 140 SPECIAL SATURDAY SHOWs on Soundcloud.