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St. Albert Legion presents comedy fundraiser

Host Rob Pepper introduces standup comedians Mike Dambra and Brent Ayton on June 20

Rob Pepper, host of the Pepper & Dylan Show for KISS 91.7 is a busy guy. He not only co-hosts a morning radio show. He is also a professional stand-up comedian and runs Funny Fundraising, an organization that organizes comedy fundraisers for service organizations. 

Funny Fundraising first hosted a successful 2023 fundraiser for St. Albert’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 271. Pepper returns to host the 2nd annual Comedy Fundraiser featuring Mike Dambra and Brent Ayton on Thursday, June 20.  

“I’m excited to do this,” said Pepper. “My dad was in the military, and I want to help the Legion any way I can. It will be a great show, and I’m really pleased with the lineup.” 

Mike Dambra, a long-time comedy staple across Canada and the United States, is headling the show. Acknowledged for his rapid-fire delivery, he is “known as the smart-ass king of comedy.” 

While some comedians are storytellers who spend long hours writing material, Dambra prefers to ad-lib from his surroundings. 

“Everything he does is an oxymoron. His act is brash but endearing, bold but compassionate. It’s aggressive but soothing. You wouldn’t think it’s funny, but it is. He’s more improv than stand-up. He goes where the moment takes him. He depends on the audience and relies on his surroundings to provide material. He’s Robin Williams with attitude,” said Pepper. 

While Dambra doesn’t take himself too seriously, neither does comedian Brent Ayton who opens the show. The St. Albert comic started his career in Edmonton several years ago and quickly won the Edmonton’s Funniest Person Competition and the Edmonton Comedy Festival’s Young Guns competition. 

As one of the newer faces in Canadian comedy, his material is borrowed from relatable observations of everyday life. It ranges from clean and humorous to slightly edgier topics. 

“Brent is in his thirties, and he headlines lots of shows. He’s a tight writer and writes strong material. He talks about family and growing up. He is dry, self-deprecating and observational. He’s laid back and pokes fun at himself,” Pepper said. 

Although mainly a radio host, Pepper jumped into stand-up when challenged on his 40th birthday. 

“I always wanted to do it but never thought I’d do it,” he said. “My biggest challenge aside from getting over stage fright is the different preparation method. There’s much more to actual writing in comedy. On radio you play off one another. A job making people laugh is scary but rewarding. For me it’s a thrill to bring live comedy to people who may not have thought of comedy as something they’d enjoy.” 

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. The St. Albert Legion is located at 6 Tache Street. Advance tickets are $30 and are available at 780-458-3330 or in person during legion office hours. 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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