Fourth annual festival will make you laugh harder than ever

For the fourth year in a row the YYC Comedy Festival will fill some of the coolest venues in Calgary with laughter.

From Oct. 12 to Oct. 17, Calgarians can catch some of the biggest names in Canadian comedy performing and putting on workshops.

Harry Doupe, producer of the festival, says this year’s event will be just as great as past laugh fests. Everyone can expect the usual packed shows and tons of award-winning talent with amazing credentials.

“Lots of great shows, good acts, good opportunities, interesting workshops and fun crowds,” said Doupe.

Workshops focus on the entertainment industry with seminars such as how get a script turned into a television show and what it takes to write for television.

Sarah Foley, head of development for CTV and the Comedy Network, will be leading this years workshop, which will be more of a panel discussion.

The festival is also a huge supporter of local talent.

As a three-time winner for Best Female Stand-Up at the Canadian Comedy Awards Debra DiGiovanni is quite the comedian. She is known for her appearance on Much Music’s Video on Trail and placed 8th in the fifth season of Last Comic Standing. She will be performing Friday, Oct. 16 at the Wales Theatre.

Photo Courtesy of Harry Doupe

“There isn’t really anyone else putting on a lot of shows, in large venues with lots of out of town acts. We put Calgary acts on the stage with big acts and that doesn’t really happen much anywhere else,” said Doupe.

Doupe is excited that Mary Walsh of This Hour Has 22 Minutes will be hosting the gala.

“Along with Rick Mercer, she is probably the country’s top political satirist and the gala is two days before the federal election.”

The gala, set for Oct. 17 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, is the signature event of the festival and is touted as one of the biggest comedy shows to ever hit Western Canada.

For the first time ever, the festival will have five shows at The Plaza Theatre.

Still, Doupe notes that finding venues every year is a challenge. “There is not really much between 500 seats and 2,000 seats in Calgary. There are only two big venues in town and everyone needs them, every weekend and we need one of those for our gala, so it could be a chore to get one of those booked.”

The Comedy Festival offers ticket packages that allows the comedy fan to catch any three shows and attend the gala.

The lineup of talent this year has headliners from each of the previous three years performing, as well as Calgary native Levi MacDougall, who was named one of the top three alternative comics by the New York Times Magazine, along with Mike Wilmot, Debra DiGiovanni, Emo Phillips, Erica Sigurdson and Ivan Decker.

Doupe promises nothing but pure talent and some good laughter.

“A lot of times you go to festivals and they will tell the comics specifically what to do,” said Doupe. “With us we say do what you want, do your best stuff or do whatever you want.”

mwalsh@cjournal.ca