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Ha ha Halifax

Bob Marley headlines the Halifax Comedy Fest. Photo: Chris Smith

Top comics from across the country descend on the city for a side-splitting month

By Trevor J. Adams

Spring is always a laughing matter in Halifax. Every April, comedians from across the country (and further afield) take over the city’s stages for the Halifax Comedy Fest.

The festival kicks off on April 13 with the Opening Gala at Casino Nova Scotia. Comedian Bob Marley (not to be confused with a certain reggae singer) headlines the lineup. A darling of the 2009 festival, Marley is a local favourite. Lately, Marley has been winnning fans stateside with a successful nightshow circuit, performing on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Craig Kilborn. Joining him are John Wing, Andrew Grose, Derek Edwards, Doug Funk, Elvira Kurt, Mike Wilmot and Pete Zedlacher.

On April 14, the show goes back to the Casino for Comedy All Stars. One of the highlights of that show is sure to be the insanely funny Sean Cullen, most famous for his raucous parody songs (such as the Meatloaf send-up “Never Too Fat to Rock and Roll”). The lineup also includes comedian Trevor Boris, the acerbic pop-culture commentator from Much Music’s Video on Trial. On the same day, the Seahorse Tavern on Argyle Street hosts Dylan Mandlsohn, Graham Clark, Jon Steinberg, Jonny Harris, Ted Morris and Lachlan Patterson.

The party moves to the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue on April 15. Newfoundlander Mark Critch, famous for his portrayal of firebrand Danny Williams on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, headlines The Gala of Laughs. Marley, Edwards and Kurt also return for encore performances.

The Lower Deck pub in the Historic Properties hosts a comedy matinee on April 16. With two live shows in the afternoon, the cozy pub
welcomes Dylan Mandlshon, Graham Clark, Heidi Foss, Jon Steinberg, Peter Anthony, Sunee Dhaliwal, Debra DiGiovanni, Graham Clark, Jen Grant, Lachlan Patterson and Nile Seguin. DiGiovanni, another Video on Trial alumnus, is one of Canada’s top unappreciated comics and at her best in a small venue like this—it’s sure to be a memorable show.

The festival concludes on the evening of April 16 with the Gala Finale at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Several festival favourites return for one last laugh. Mark Critch hosts; the roster includes DiGiovanni, Jonny Harris, Jen Grant, Wing, Nile Seguin, Scott Falconbridge, Cullen, Stewart Francis and Greg Hahn.

In addition to the Halifax Comedy Fest, the city hosts great live comedy events throughout the month.

•    Joker’s Comedy Club on Spring Garden Road and Yuk Yuk’s on Hollis Street host regular shows, with new comics weekly.
•    The Newfoundland comedy group Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers bring their warm-hearted take on East Coast life to the Dalhousie Arts Centre on April 8 and 9.
•    Montreal’s fabled Just For Laughs comedy festival presents Irish hot shot Tommy Tiernan at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on April 29.

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