Meet some of FunnyFest’s best
Here are just a couple of the more than 70 comics performing at Calgary’s ninth annual FunnyFest:
The former Canadian college comedian of the year enjoys youth from his home country because they tend to be foul-minded and a little drunker than their counterparts south of the border.
“In the States they really crack down on the drinking age and they tend to get offended a little easier,” says the 31-year-old. “I find my act becomes almost squeaky clean, whereas here I can be more of myself.”
During his six years behind the microphone, Taylor has learned some lessons the hard way but admits now that he is a legitimate headliner working as a comedian feels like a permanent holiday.
“When you first start off, you think you have got some funny things but when you actually get onstage it gets to where you’re like ‘Whoa! This is going nowhere, there’s no punchline to this.’
“It becomes a big feeling out process by going out there a lot and working different audiences.”
To see Kelly Taylor and other comics in action click here.
The key for Taylor is finding humour in every day situations like using the washroom in the middle of the night or being uncomfortable in a sleeping bag.
“If you can say something that people think in their head or know that they have done it’s always funnier to them,” he explained.
FunnyFest has always been good to the Saskatchewan native, he makes a point of attending every year and supporting fellow talent.
“I will end up doing like 30 shows and half the time I’ll get up there and have absolutely no idea what I am going to say,” Taylor said. “By the time it’s over I fell like my act is really polished. It’s almost like training season, you have got to shed the fat and get ready.”
Taylor headlines May 8 at the Stampede Casino. Doors open at six.
To say that a large number of the comics at this year’s FunnyFest are from Saskatchewan would be an understatement, something that Reed is quite proud of.
“The strongest acts in Canada are typically from the poorer neighbourhoods,” says the two-time winner of Canada’s funniest comic award. “With Saskatchewan — I mean we’re rich now — but we grew up poor. It’s just like how Newfoundlanders and inner-city kids tend to be funnier.”
The veteran comic admits that being a mentor for fellow comics at festivals like FunnyFest adds an extra degree of pressure.
“A lot of the younger guys will come up and ask what we thought of their act and sometimes I’m like ‘sorry I wasn’t watching, I have my own act to do,’ “Reed said.
For more on Dez Reed click here.
York Underwood has worked under Reed since February and sees the opportunity as a great honour.
“Every comic he has taken under his wing has made it,” the 22-year-old explained.
Underwood knew he wanted to be a comedian when performing for family and friends at a very young age. After obtaining a physics degree he finally decided to give it a shot.
“I decided I am not going to go into physics but I got a degree so my parents are happy. I started in February and have been on the road ever since,” he said. “I am a professional comedian now, that’s how I make my living.”
Reed said that with talent like Underwood giving it their all the future of comedy in Canada remains steady, however, he admits that the constant pressure to remain politically correct has made it tougher to break into the business.
“People don’t realize that comedy is an art form. People think if you’re funny you just walk up on stage and talk into a microphone,” Reed said. “You’re really the writer, director, producer and performer in you own one-man show and you have got to be on.
“Having said that, at the end of the day funny is funny. If you can get up there and make people laugh there will be a place for you. You may not become a superstar but you’ll make a decent living.”
Not being able to play guitar but still wanting to meet chicks is what led Foster to the comedy business. Thirty years later, he had the privilege of making people laugh in all corners of Canada and the rest of the world.
“I can be funny anywhere, but I’m funnier in Canada because I have Canadian sensibilities and Canadian knowledge I guess,” Foster, whose impressive resume includes sets in Australia, the Caribbean and England, explained. “The weird thing about this business is it’s so high and low. Sometimes you just cruise along and do a bunch of shows but other times you do a show and think ‘I’m a genius, I’m going to do this the rest of my life,’ and then after the next show you think ‘What the fuck am I doing? I have wasted 30 years of my life.’ “
His background in advertising has played a major role in Foster marketing his comedy persona of “That Canadian Guy,” although its initial creation came unintentionally through the subject matter he focuses on.
“It’s observational, political, sometimes politically incorrect,” Foster said about his material. “I guess I would like to think it’s in the vain of George Carlin, The Daily Show and those kind of things, things that are going on in the world and my take on it.”
For Glen Foster’s official website click here.
The veteran admits his sets do include a bit of silly humour, such as his lifelong annoyance with shoelaces coming untied.
You don’t try to fight the crowd. If they’re not into the political then you keep trying another road until you end up with cock jokes,” Foster said. “I have a rule that I try a joke and if it doesn’t work I will try it 300 or 400 more times.”
FunnyFest has been an annual tour stop for Foster since the festival began nine years ago.
“I really like Calgary. I find the people here are a little less reserved than in other parts of the country when it comes to their feelings and views.”
For tickets and showtimes visit FunnyFest’s official website by clicking here.