Spencer Adamus started in comedy in high school, admittedly because he was “horrible at sports.” As soon as he was 18, and after one slightly rough false start, he jumped onto the local open-mic circuit.
Now 22, Adamus hosts a weekly open-mic himself, at Wee Johnny’s. In 2017, he won the title of Winnipeg’s Funniest Person with a Day Job through Rumor’s, a title which opened doors for him.
“After winning that I got a ton of opportunities ... Rumor’s would refer me to different things like comedy festivals and shows at Pantages Playhouse and Burton Cummings Theatre, (which were) shows I would never be able to do if I didn't win that contest,” Adamus says.
His current day job is at Grey Owl Coffee, which sometimes generates content for his act “because all of my coworkers are pretty funny,” he says.
Adamus is grateful to mentors Tim Gray and Ben Walker as well as his co-conspirators in his sketch group The Family Dinner.
Alongside Jaydin Pommer, Riley Paull, Mike Scott, Riva Billows and Jonathan Mourant, the group also does stand-up and improv and will celebrate their one-year anniversary with a show on Feb. 1 at the Gas Station Arts Centre.
When it comes to offering advice to other would-be comics, Adamus is adamant that now is the time to start.
“Don’t put it off ... You can come watch as much as you want, but you're never going to learn until you go on stage and actually do it,” Adamus says.
While getting on stage still terrifies him, he’s learned to overcome stage fright a bit better than he did with his first open-mic attempt.
“I'm a huge coward, so I would know. The first time I went to sign up to do stand-up comedy, I signed up, but then what actually happened is they said ‘you’re up next,’ and then I went outside and I threw up, and then I just ran home.”
Johanna Seier has been a fitness trainer since 2012, and after a variety of ventures both in-person and online, she launched The Fit Girl Gang (TFGG) last year.
“That is the first big, online, female-only community in Canada. (W)e just had our first-year anniversary in November, and we are 1,500 women right now,” 25-year-old Seier says.
The process of building toward the TFGG began in 2013, when she founded her first company and offered in-person fitness training to women, as well as bootcamps.
“(T)here was something missing in terms of accessibility for a lot of people who couldn't afford to train in-person or didn’t have that time available in their schedule, so then I came out with my first online program called the Fit Girl Guide,” Seier says.
She re-evaluated the Fit Girl Guide when she saw a sense of community seemed to be missing, and not a lot of participants were completing the program.
Seier worked on the TFGG for two years before launching it. It includes in-person events and a secret Facebook group for all 1,500 members, and three hour-long live calls with Seier.
“We all train starting on the same start date, no matter what, so no matter how advanced you are in your training or no matter what point you’re at ... we all start at the same time to create that sense of community and support through the whole thing,” Seier says.
She credits local photographer and now friend Monique Pantel with supporting her in creating visuals for her program and believing in her dream.
Through TFGG, she also offers nutritional support through recipes but takes a strong stance against extreme diet modification or weight-loss goals. Instead, she offers encouragement for self-love, which she sees as a key element.
“(T)he most important thing to me is that every single human being in the world is deserving of their own self-love and acceptance no matter what, no matter what they weigh, no matter what they look like, no matter what they’ve done in their lives, it’s just that every person needs to love themselves now,” Seier says.
-Anastasia Chipelski // @anachips
Published in Volume 73, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 29, 2018)