Tickling the funnybone at the Edmonton Comedy Festival
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
Edmonton Comedy Festival
Runs from Oct. 16 to 19 at Paramount Theatre, Art Gallery of Alberta, The Ranch, Four Points by Sheraton, The Westin, Yellowhead Casino, Central Social Hall
Admission: Varies from free kids' shows to $45. Call 780-420-1757 or go online to www.tixonthesquare.ca
The Edmonton Comedy Festival is back and on a mission to get the region laughing.
Festival founders, CTV’s Graham Neil and CHED talk show host Andrew Grose, have booked the laugh-in for a third season from October 16 to 19.
Once again 25 razor-sharp comedians are unleashing their wit for a master series, a gala series, cabarets, big top stages, dinner packages, a free kids’ show and a charity event.
The four packed days also include a Young Guns Competition and several workshops in standup and improv.
Headlining the constellation of stars is wild man Tim Meadows, the longest-running cast member in the 33-year history of Saturday Night Live.
“He’s a legend. He created the characters of The Ladies Man and Leon Phelps,” says Neil. Meadows is booked for two gigs on Friday, Oct. 18 romantically dubbed Date Night With the Ladies Man.
Another heavyweight is the cigar-chomping John Wing, an amazing 30-year veteran with appearances that range from The Tonight Show and Just For Laughs to Las Vegas Clubs and CBC radio’s The Debaters. Lately Wing appeared on America’s Got Talent.
“As a result of it, he got a lot of exposure and was a favourite of Howard Stern and Howie Mandel. He has a great following,” Neil adds. The Los Angeles based Wing has four shows also booked for Oct. 18 and 19.
“But the festival is more than the headliners. We take pride in having everyone as the best,” Neil points out.
“In our Friday night gala series we have seven of the best comics in North America – Monique Marvez, Pete Zedlacher, Kelly Taylor. They may not have sitcoms but they have amazing comedy material. It’s only the best.”
Other personalities letting loose their chucklers are Sean Cullen, Atomic Improv, Big Daddy Tazz, Greg Morton, Frank Spadone and Brad Muise.
Former St. Albert resident Tyler Hawkins is one of our local ambassadors and has three shows booked during the event.
A homegrown talent, Hawkins won Calgary’s first Funny Fest Contest in 2001, an event that propelled him to fame.
From the name recognition, he received openings for well-known comedians Russell Peters, Bobcat Goldthwaite, Rich Hall and Norm Macdonald.
In 2008 Hawkins added another notch to his belt as winner of the 2008 Just For Laughs Homegrown Competition.
But despite the accolades and appearances at the Seattle, Boston and Winnipeg Comedy Festivals, he says getting steady work on the comedy circuit can be a grind. It’s not all laughs.
“Canadian show business is tough. No one knows who I am. If you have a television show, it’s easier to get into clubs.”
But he’s quick to point out that in winning the Just For Laughs title, “the respect goes way up.”
But at the end of the day, money is not his primary goal.
“This sounds sort of cliché, but it’s not about money. I love it because it’s about being funny. I love to get up in front of an audience and make them laugh.”
Neil also reminds comedy fans that a Christmas Bureau fundraiser is on Friday, Oct. 18 at noon. The featured entertainment is Pete Zedlacher, Big Daddy Tazz and Kelly Taylor with Neil as host. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.christmasbureau.com.
For complete festival information check out www.atbcomedy.com.