Feeling down? Don’t have a cow, man
Those searching for a chuckle in the midst of gloomy economic and weather forecasts need look no further than the return of Calgary’s very own comedy festival.
The ninth annual FunnyFest, sporting the slogan “Comic relief for economic grief,” is set to take over comedy clubs across the city from Apr.11-May 10. Featuring 70 performers and more than 11,000 punchlines over the course of 11 nights, executive director and creator of the FunnyFest Stu Hughes, guarantees plenty of laughs for all ages.
To win tickets to FunnyFest submit your favourite joke and e-mail address in the comment box at the bottom of this page.
“I love what the comedy does and how fascinating it is,” Hughes said. “It’s such a unique trigger point and integrator to bring people together. We try with FunnyFest to create a huge amount of belly laughs and that physical reaction releases endorphins, so it’s really good for you.”
The veteran organizer admits getting the festival off the ground each year isn’t easy, however, being apart of a volunteer-run event that strives to improve people’s lives is truly special.
“I woke up one morning and thought ‘I want to lose a lot of money through the years,’ and that’s what I did,” Hughes jokes about the creation of FunnyFest. “In all seriousness, when you are sitting there watching 300-400 people in a room laugh all at once it’s very uplifting, to feel that vibration is pretty awesome.
“Laughter is sometimes subordinated or kicked to the side because people don’t realize that it is such a valuable mechanism to cope with the pain and suffering we see. The economy aside, every person in society needs to have balance and due to laughter we can still do serious things but laugh through them.”
As part of its mandate, FunnyFest gives back $100,000 to local organizations and charities each year. The festival has also helped roughly 40 comedians get their start in what can often be a challenging business. Hughes says this year’s lineup is extremely talented, noting that Chris Fairbanks will likely be a huge hit with the young adult crowd.
“He is probably one of the hippest comics out there, very unique delivery and style,” Hughes said.
To visit Chris Fairbanks’ website click here.
Other notable headliners include two-time winner of Canada’s funniest comic award Dez Reed, former Canadian college comedian of the year Kelly Taylor and 27-year vet Ron Vaudry.
“The kids love (Vaudry) because he’s just so dark, he’s so edgy, probably one of the best writers Canadian comedy has ever produced,” Hughes said. “Our model is very interactive, you’re part of the show and the more the audience is receptive and vice versa the better.”
To see video footage of Dez Reed and Kelly Taylor in action click here.
Hughes also encouraged parents to bring their children to Cardel Theatre on May 2 and 9 for the all-ages show at 2 p.m. He explained that although some of the jokes is intended purely for adults, the comics carefully craft them for a broader audience.
“The comics are so brilliant that they can not say anything dirty but you still perceive that they did. In the court of law it would never seem like they said anything wrong,” Hughes said. “This festival really holds something for everyone. We have always been consistent about that through the good times and the bad . . . this truly is Calgary’s comedy festival. The FunnyFest cow is Calgary’s cow, the only mad cow allowed in Alberta.”
For showtimes and to buy tickets at FunnyFest’s official website click here.