Top comics from across the country and around the world headline at the Halifax Comedy Fest.
The joke’s on Halifax this month, as the Halifax Comedy Festival returns to the city. Things kick off on April 24, as Bob Marley hosts the Opening Gala at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street. A 15-year comedy veteran, Marley (not to be confused with a certain reggae star) has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Joining him at the gala is Dana Alexander, a veteran of comedy clubs across the country and a mainstay of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. Look for local talents like high-energy Halifax comedian Nikki Payne and acerbic Peter Anthony, a native Nova Scotian now based in Toronto.
There’s more action at the Casino on April 25, as it hosts Comedy All Stars. Smart and spontaneous, host Caroline Rhea is a beloved sit-com actress (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and The Drew Carey Show), with a comic resume the length of your leg. The roster also includes many local favourites, such as Darrin Rose (from the shot-in-Halifax sit-com Mr. D), Scott Thompson (one of the original Kids in the Hall) and John Wing (a CBC Radio regular). Also on April 25, Yuk Yuk’s on Hollis Street hosts a showcase of top local comics, while the Seahorse Tavern on Argyle Street features Nikki Payne, Charlie Demers, J.J. Whitehead and more.
On April 26, the Dalhousie Arts Centre is the hottest Friday night spot in Halifax, welcoming the Gala of Laughs. Acid-tongued Mark Critch, best known as one of the hosts of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, hosts. Several of the week’s popular comedians, like Wing, Payne and Anthony return to the stage, but the main-eventer is Brent Butt. His sit-com Corner Gas was a Canadian TV institution. His stand-up act is more of the same: witty, sharp, insightful and intelligent. You’ll find more live comedy tonight at Yuk Yuk’s on Hollis Street.
On Saturday afternoon, April 27, there’s a Halifax Comedy Fest matinee on the waterfront, at the Lower Deck in the Historic Properties. Debra DiGiovanni (Video on Trial) emcees. Featured comics include Erica Sigurdson, John Sheehan, Graham Kay, Tony Krolo and Graham Chittenden.
Later that day, festivities move back to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for the Gala Finale. This rollicking show celebrates some of the week’s top comics, with Mark Critch returning as host. Scheduled performers include Debra DiGiovanni, Erica Sigurdson, John Sheehan, Darrin Rose, Lachlan Patterson, Tony Krolo, Graham Chittenden and Graham Kay. Finally, Yuk Yuk’s wraps up the festival with a Saturday night show (starting at 10:30), showcasing Patrick Haye, Jeff Elliott and Phil Hanley. Surf to www.halifaxcomedyfest.ca for more details.