By Trevor J. Adams
Now in its 19th year, the Halifax Comedy Fest has become the East Coast’s biggest comedic event of the year. This year, it runs from April 23 to 26, with an all-star lineup that includes Jeremy Hotz (a veteran of Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival) and Canadian comedy legend Mike MacDonald.
Always a favourite in Halifax, Hotz has grabbed fans with his completely original and confused, yet very astute, observational comedy. He won a Gemini Award for “Best Performance in a Comedy Show or Series” for his work in the celebrated series, The Newsroom on CBC and PBS and was a staff writer and performer on The Jon Stewart Show.
Hotz headlines the Gala of Laughs on Friday, April 25 at the Spatz Theatre. Mark Critch, a veteran of the CBC news satire This Hour Has 22 Minutes, hosts the show. The lineup also includes Greg Morton, Cathy Jones, Leland Klassen, Nathan Macintosh, Kelly Taylor, Ryan Belleville, Chuck Byrn and Tim Nutt.
And comic veteran Mike MacDonald closes out the festival at the Gala of Laughs Finale back at the Spatz Theatre on April 26. MacDonald’s many credits include Late Night with David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show and the Just For Laughs festival. He has also written and starred in several CBC/Showtime specials of his own, including Mike MacDonald, On Target, My House! My Rules and Happy As I Can Be. Critch returns to host the finale, which also includes Dave Hemstad, Mike Delamont, Ophira Eisenberg, Angelo Tsarouchas, Andrew Evans, Pete Zedlacher, and Derek Edwards.
MacDonald will also perform as part of the Opening Gala at Casino Nova Scotia’s Schooner Room on April 23. Ryan Belleville hosts; also performing are Darryl Orr, Kyle Radke, Mike Delamont, Ian Black, Nile Seguin, Rob Pue, DeAnne Smith and Gilson Lubin. The show time is 7:30 p.m.
There is a lot more comedy on the schedule, too. The Casino also hosts the All Star Show on Thursday, April 24, in the Schooner Room. Dave Hemstad hosts, and the lineup also includes Greg Morton, Leland Klassen,
Chuck Byrn, Angelo Tsarouchas, Pete Zedlacher, Ophira Eisenberg, Tim Nutt and Derek Edwards.
Saint Lucian comedian Gilson Lubin will host LMAO on Friday, April 25 at the Seahorse Tavern. The show also features, Doug Mutai, Kyle Radke, DeAnne Smith, Ian Black and Keith Pedro. The same night, Dartmouth’s Alderney Landing hosts a show with Mike Delamont, DeAnne Smith and Emo Philips.
Pete Zedlacher hosts the Pub Comedy double feature on April 26 at the The Lower Deck in the Historic Properties. Darryl Orr, Doug Mutai, Jane Stanton and Nile Seguin will perform at 1 p.m. and Nathan Macintosh, Keith Pedro, Kelly Taylor, Andrew Evans and Stephanie Tolev will perform at 3 p.m.
For more information on the comedians and shows, and to buy tickets, surf to halifaxcomedyfest.ca.