WINNIPEG, MB - The Winnipeg Comedy Festival bypasses the traditional ‘sneak peek’ and went straight for the full-on reveal of comedic performances set to go down.
The Winnipeg Comedy Festival happens April 9 to 15, with a line-up of nationally-known names blended with local entertainers, bringing the best of both worlds to a microphone near you. This year's festival include the likes of Jonathan Torrens, Emma Hunter, Chris Jericho, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Derek Seguin, Ivan Decker, and many more.
“We’re excited by both the variety of shows and quality of comedians on the schedule,” says Winnipeg Comedy Festival’s Artistic Director Lara Rae. “It’s always important for us to be able to showcase fine upcoming talent alongside bigger names throughout the festival, including at our much-loved galas. Be prepared for some great new talent to win you over.”
More than 60 comics will perform in over 30 shows, in venues like Club Regent Event Centre, Rumor’s Comedy Club, Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, The Forks, Millennium Library, and the much-loved Gas Station Arts Centre (GSAC) – a venue that was greatly missed last year.
“It’s a bit of a festival homecoming for us, to be back at the Gas Station,” says Nick Kowalchuk, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, who is also Executive Director of GSAC.
“It’s also kind of funny, and possibly ironic, that we weren’t able to use the Gas Station last year, considering GSAC produces the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. But since I oversee both, I was able to cut a deal with myself to use GSAC this year, and happy to announce that shows will once again take place right here at home in Osborne Village. Beginning with a very special evening that will have you seeing red.”
RED CARPET COMEDY & RECEPTION
The Winnipeg Comedy Festival opens in style Monday, April 9, with a special Red Carpet Comedy & Reception. Sirius Top Comic and one of the most popular stand-ups to ever come out of Canada, Montreal's Derek Seguin says 'salut' to Winnipeg with an intimate and no-holds-barred evening of huge laughs. This audience award favourite is supported by The Uniter's comic of 2017, Spencer Adamus.
The reception begins at 7pm, which is actually more than just a reception, so you might want to be there for it. The show officially starts at 8:30pm, and you definitely want to be there for that. Red Carpet attire would not be out of place. (Or possibly could.)
GALA THEMES & HOSTS
The most highly anticipated shows each year are the galas, held at the stunning 104-year-old Pantages Playhouse Theatre. Recorded live-to-tape for later broadcast on CBC, this year’s galas are:
Game On! / Thursday, April 12 @ 7:15pm
Everyone loves sports! Except people who hate them. Here’s a show for both groups. Come laugh at sports and how we can’t stand them. Or live without them. Host: Chris Jericho / Performers: Dave Hemstad, Erica Sigurdson, Simon Rakoff, Christina Walkinshaw, Rob Pue, Sterling Scott / Warm-up: Mikey Dubbs
Punching UP / Friday, April 13 @ 6:45pm
Gone are the days of looking down on the less fortunate. Look up… waaay up… It’s time to take shots at all the big shots. Even the little ones. Host: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee / Performers: Katie-Ellen Humphries, Hoodo Hersi, Christophe Davidson, Yumi Nagashima, Carol Zoccoli, Simon King
Just My Luck? / Friday, April 13 @ 9:15pm
Let’s face it, life sucks. But laughing about it doesn’t. Hysterical stories about worst moments, terrible habits, and horrible circumstances. (Also, a timely theme for Friday the 13th?! Coincidence?? You decide.) Host: Emma Hunter / Performers: Ivan Decker, Sophie Buddle, Todd Graham, Jane Stanton, Courtney Gilmour, Dana Alexander
Everything’s Relative / Saturday, April 14 @ 6:45pm
You can’t pick your family, but you can pick on them. Our tribute to your moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and sisters, kids, cousins, and all those other DNA-holes. Host: To be announced very soon! / Performers: Scott Faulconbridge, Shirley Whalen, Mayce Galoni, Joe Vu, Charles Haycock
Eh! Material / Saturday, April 14 @ 9:15pm
A comedy show about the Great White North. Because there’s nothing Canadians find more Canadian than funny Canadians talking about what it means to be Canadian. Eh?? (Sorry!) Host: Jonathan Torrens / Performers: Jacob Samuel, Amanda Brooke Perrin, Leonard Chan, Jess Salomon, Big Daddy Tazz, Howie Miller
The full schedule for the 2018 Winnipeg Comedy Festival is at www.winnipegcomedyfestival.com/schedule.
Here are some of highlights of what’s to come:
Laughter in Common / Saturday, April 7 @ 7pm / The Common at The Forks
It’s the unofficial kick-off to our official kick-off! This FREE show on Saturday evening, before the festival even begins, offers a pre-fest preview of fine local fare and out-of-town comedic delicacies. Hosted by Ryan Ash, with performances by Ivan Decker, Kate Schellenberg, and Tyler Penner.
Dis’Ability / Tuesday, April 10 @ 7pm / Club Regent Event Centre
Just for Laughs Homegrown Champion and triple amputee Courtney Gilmour hosts an evening of all-star, all-pro comics who bring A-Game material illuminating how unique abilities have shaped their lives. Funny. And inspiring.
Gastrocomique / Wednesday, April 11 @ 6pm / Fusion Grill
A truly unique dining-and-wine-ing evening of food courses paired with comedy. Enjoy a gourmet meal from the award-winning River Heights bistro Fusion Grill, combining Manitoba-sourced food with nationally-sourced award-winning stand up from the very hilarious Ivan Decker. Hosted by Angie St. Mars.
Nubian Disciples of Comedy / Wednesday, April 11 @ 7pm / Club Regent Event Centre
Direct from Yuk Yuks Toronto we bring the always sold-out urban show on the road. For the past 20 years, the Nubian Disciples has been a stellar showcase of comedians of colour, produced and hosted by Transcona-reared comic Kenny Robinson. It's comedy of colour, outside the lines. With performers Dana Alexander, Sterling Scott, Paul Rabliauskas, Eman El-Husseini, and Mikey Dubbs.
Your Hood’s a Joke – International & Local Editions / Thursday April 12 @ 7pm & 9pm / Gas Station Arts Centre
The International Edition (April 12 @ 7pm) sports edgy and energetic live battles between pairs of comics from different cities and countries, trying to determine which city and country are funniest. The Local Edition (April 12 @ 9pm) sports edgy and energetic live battles between pairs of comics from different parts of Winnipeg, trying to determine which part of Winnipeg is funniest. This show is a long-standing sell-out. It was born in Toronto, but is certain to be made much much much better in Winnipeg. (Too many much’s??)
CBC’s The Debaters / Saturday, April 14 @ 2pm & Sunday, April 15 @ 2pm / Club Regent Event Centre
Be it resolved the CBC Radio One’s hit show is back in Winnipeg for the 12th year. A potent mix of facts and funny as seasoned comedians go head-to-head in comedic debates. Hosted by the one and only Steve Patterson, and all ages are welcome. (But that's debatable.) Recorded live-to-tape for later broadcast on CBC.
TICKETS FOR THE WINNIPEG COMEDY FESTIVAL
Tickets for most shows are available online through our website www.winnipegcomedyfestival.com/tickets. You can also purchase tickets IN PERSON at the Box Office at Gas Station Arts Centre (445 River Avenue), on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 11am-6pm, from now until festival week.
RoseAnna Schick for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival