about the show
“Beer and Skits” (another form of BS) was started by the Winnipeg Press Club (WPC) back in 1934. Originally an opportunity for male politicians, journalists, and political hacks of all stripes to drink heavily, smoke cigars, laugh at themselves without fear, and wear dresses, it has evolved over the years to:
allow women to join (as of 1984 - this change hasn’t resulted in less drag, but has resulted in raunchier jokes);
omit nudie pictures from the printed program; and
go smoke-free (as of 2004 - damn legislation).
Otherwise, it continued largely as it was. Unfortunately, the combination of the 24/7 news cycle, increased public scrutiny of figures, and the increasingly anachronistic nature of a press club in a media world almost led to the end of this beloved tradition. Even the “Brass Rail Rule” (the WPC’s version of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”) couldn’t assuage the concerns of increasingly visible and media-saavy public figures, and thus it looked like curtains for the show… until a plucky group of die-hard volunteers stepped up to the plate.
As a result, the BS Comedy Players (the BS stands for whatever you think it should) were incorporated in 2008 to preserve this Winnipeg tradition of political satire, and musical sketch comedy. While not all journalists or politicians any longer, but rather a committed group of amateur actors, singers and stage crew, professional musicians, and a team of dedicated volunteers, the BS Comedy Players have continued the tradition of making jokes about politicians and journalists to their faces, drinking heavily, and continuing to dress in drag.
We honour the history of the show while understanding that, in the end, it is about delivering an entertaining night of live, musical sketch comedy written, directed, and performed in front of an intelligent (and very attractive) audience and a collection of “good sport” VIPs, who have come out to have some laughs (often at their own expense). We keep true to the Brass Rail Rule - while our marketing plan often calls for excerpts to be used to promote the show, but these excerpts are carefully chosen. Our VIPs are secure in the knowledge that whatever we say on stage, no matter how pointed, remains only in the memories of the players and the audience and won’t wind up in the newspaper or on YouTube.
It might no longer be a private party, but it often feels that way. Come down, have a drink, and celebrate annually with us while we lampoon the more public figures not just in Winnipeg, but in Manitoba, Canada, and overseas.