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Halifax Comedy Festival

Stand-up city

web Bob Marleyweb JulieKimweb Dave HemstadThe Halifax Comedy Fest returns this month for its 21st year, showcasing top international comics alongside East Coast up-and-comers. From April 27 to 30, some 30 comedians will perform 14 shows at venues around the city.

Returning for his third appearance at the festival is Bob Marley. With a wry take on daily life, Marley is always a fan favourite. He hosts the All Star Show on April 28 at Casino Nova Scotia and performs at the Gala of Laughs on April 29 at the Spatz Theatre.

This year sees the return of another long-time favourite, as Rich Hall comes back to Halifax’s stages for the first time since 2007.

Rich Hall, along with his trademark sour expression and cantankerous gravelly voice, appears at the All Star Show on April 28 at Casino Nova Scotia and the Gala of Laughs Finale on April 30 at the Spatz Theatre.

Also on the calendar is two-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee Julie Kim. She’s a mainstay of the country’s stand-up circuit, appearing on national TV and radio, and plays shows from coast to coast. She performs at the Opening Gala, Laugh@Lunch, and Gala of Laughs.

Local fans are also excited to see emerging star Aisha Alfa at this year’s festival. Born in Nigeria and raised in Canada, she won Winnipeg’s Funniest Person with a Day Job, was a finalist for NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity, was one of the first Toronto Bob Curry Fellowship recipients from Second City, and was regional finalist for SiriusXM’s Canada’s Next Top Comic. Her TV appearances include The Second City Project, Superchanel’s Too Much Information, MTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation, and the Emmy Award winning Odd Squad on PBS. She also co-hosted on Much Music’s Video on Trial.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes veterans Mark Critch and Cathy Jones—local favourites—along with Elvira Kurt, Tim Steeves, Trent McClellan, Chuck Byrn, John Sheehan, Erin Foley, Caitlin Langelier, Marito Lopez, Adrian Cronk, Chris James, John Cullen, Mayce Galoni, Graham Kay, Ivan Decker, Rob Bebenek, Jean Paul, Michelle Shaughnessy, and Nathan Macintosh.

Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts the Opening Gala on April 27 and All Star Show on April 28, while the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Bell Road is home to the Gala of Laughs on Friday, April 29 and Gala of Laughs Finale on April 30. The Lower Deck Pub in the Historic Properties hosts a double feature of matinee shows on April 30.

The festival also includes two nightly Not Made for TV shows at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel on Hollis Street from April 28 to 30. You can also sample the comedy with a free Laugh@Lunch show at the Halifax Central Libraryon April 29.


For tickets and schedule information, surf to halifaxcomedyfest.ca.

The Joke’s on Halifax

Top comics from across the country and around the world headline at the Halifax Comedy Fest.

Darrin Rose

Darrin Rose

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.