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Comic relief

The Halifax Comedy Fest returns, showcasing top comics from across Canada

By Janice Hudson

Now in its 22nd year, Halifax Comedy Fest brings some of the biggest names in comedy to the city. With 30 performers at several shows and venues across Halifax, this is the East Coast’s ultimate celebration of stand-up comedy.

This year, the event runs from April 26 to 29 with an all-star roster of emerging talents and established veterans, including Mark Critch, Jeremy Hotz, Eman El-Husseini, Steve Patterson, and Debra DiGiovanni.

Debra DiGiovanni

A festival fan favourite, DiGiovanni is returning to Halifax for the first time since 2013. The Gemini-award winning comic has done two Canadian stand-up specials for CTV/Comedy, as well as Live at Gotham on Comedy Central. She was also a finalist in NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Her first stand up show for Showtime, Single, Awkward Female, is now playing on Netflix.

Catch DiGiovanni at the Opening Gala on Wednesday, April 26 at Casino Nova Scotia, and the Gala of Laughs on April 28 in the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Bell Road. The Gala of Laughs also showcases Jeremy Hotz, one of Canada’s most unique stand-up comics. His quirky observational comedy nets him new fans every time he takes the stage.

Jeremy Hotz

Jeremy Hotz

This Hour Has 22 Minutes comedian and festival veteran Mark Critch returns to host the Gala of Laughs and the Gala of Laughs Finale on April 29 held in the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Bell Road.

Mark Critch

Mark Critch

Look for seasoned comic Ryan Belleville at the Gala of Laughs Finale and as host at the Opening Gala. A regular on the comedy festival circuit, Belleville is a familiar face on TV and film on both sides of the border, and currently lends his talents to the new CBC TV show Workin’ Moms.

Ryan Belleville

Ryan Belleville

Also returning to this year’s festival is Steve Patterson, host of CBC Radio’s The Debaters. Coming off his latest cross-Canada theatre show, This is Not Debatable, and his tour for The Book of Letters I Didn’t Know Where to Send, Patterson appears in the Gala of Laughs and hosts the All Star Show on April 27 at Casino Nova Scotia.

New this year at the festival is Laughs for Lungs, a comedy show and fundraiser on April 26 for the Lung Association of Nova Scotia. Open to fans age 19 and older, the event takes place at the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club in Dartmouth. Ted Morris, Erica Sigurdson, and Mike Delamont will take the stage.

One of Canada’s most popular comics, Mike Delamont will also be hosting a double feature of afternoon shows on April 29 at the Lower Deck Pub in the Historic Properties.

Eman El-Husseini

Eman El-Husseini

A self-described “walking, breathing comedy special,” Montréal comedian Eman El-Husseini draws on her personal background and upbringing to get the laughs rolling. She takes the stage at the All Star Show on April 27 at Casino Nova Scotia and at the 3pm Pub Comedy show on April 29 at the Lower Deck Pub. She’ll also be performing at the free Laugh@Lunch show on April 28 at the Halifax Central Library. Joining her onstage there will be Charlie Demers and Sterling Scott.

Sterling Scott

Sterling Scott

This year’s festival also includes performances by Lachlan Patterson, John Wing, Carol Zoccoli, Chantel Marostica, Charles Haycock, Charlie Demers, Darryl Orr, Derek Seguin, D.J. Demers, Jay Malone, John Beuhler, Keith Pedro, K. Trevor Wilson, Kyle Brownrigg, Landry, Matt O’Brien, Matt Wright, Nigel Grinstead, J.R. DeGuzman, Charlie Demers, Sterling Scott, and Matt Falk. For schedules and ticket information, surf to halifaxcomedyfest.ca.