The excruciating pain endometriosis causes is no laughing matter to the one million Canadian women who suffer from it.
Difficult to pronounce, it is even less talked about. However, the unwanted growths in the reproductive system can spread and cause crippling pain, organ damage and infertility.
For millennia the serious disease was labelled “bad cramps” and girls as young as seven were instructed to suffer in silence.
But comedian Brandi La Perle refuses to do so. After years of agony, the former Morinville resident was diagnosed with the disorder at age 30.
Instead of folding up her tent, La Perle is using her contacts on the comedy circuit to organize the Second Annual Alberta Endometriosis Awareness Comedy Show taking place tonight at Edmonton’s Rouge Lounge. It coincides with the Worldwide EndoMarch at the Alberta Legislature grounds today at 10 a.m.
“Comedy has been such a huge part of my treatment. Laughter is uplifting. It’s the best medicine. The comedy community has been very supportive. We want to show there’s a positive aspect and what better way than through laughter,” says La Perle.
Since the evening is structured to increase endometriosis awareness, it kicks off with a video presentation that talks about new medical treatments.
Headlining the evening is Mike Dambra, the “Smart-Ass King of Comedy.” Celebrating more than 25 years in comedy, the road warrior is a club staple in both Canada and the United States.
“He’s toured with Rosie O’Donnell and Chris Rock. He’s an improviser. He does everything off the cuff and he’s world famous for his pickle bit jokes,” La Perle notes.
La Perle recalls meeting him as a star-struck fan and tripping over her words during their introduction.
“He hugged me and said, ‘Hello.’ What superstar treats you like family? Since then he’s become a good friend. He’s seen what I’ve gone through and is one of my biggest supporters.”
J.P. Fournier and Shawn Gramiak, known as The Movie Jerks, are also on tap. The Movie Jerks are infamous for their top-rated podcast where celebrity guests are invited to watch the worst movies produced followed by a comedic dissection of the film.
“They’ve both been involved in assisting in the campaign. They were there for me when I had surgery. J.P. was at my hospital bed and when I cried because I was in pain and didn’t want to go on stage, he was there.”
The third comedian presenting his brand of wisdom is Sterling Scott, a high-energy performer listed as one of Canada’s rising stars.
“He’s done standup overseas in Vegas, Iran and Afghanistan, and he’s placed in the Top 3 in the most prestigious comedy competition in the world – The San Francisco Comedy Competition. He’s our diamond in the city.”
Hosting the event is Ben Proulx, a cancer survivor who lost his leg to the disease.
“What makes him so amazing is that he makes the best of any situation. He shares his experiences on how to beat cancer.”
La Perle is quick to reassure that the show is structured as a light evening of fun.
“Most people like to be entertained and this is an opportunity have a few laughs and to be engaged. We all know someone who suffers in silence and this gives the community an opportunity to support them in a positive way.”
Second Annual Alberta Endometriosis Awareness Comedy Show
Saturday, March 28 at 8 p.m.
10111 – 117 St.
Tickets: $20 Call Rouge at 780-482-5152