A horse walks into a bar.
The barman says, “What’s with the long face?”
The horse says, “I’m sad that I can’t make it to Winnipeg this month to see the all the great comedy shows.”
The barman says, “Sorry Bronco, I didn’t mean to get off on the wrong hoof like this. Man, it’s already starting to feel like yesterday.”
“What happened yesterday?” said the horse.
“The Past and Present came here,” said the barman
“What was that like?”
Yeah, so needless to say I won’t be hitting up the comedy stages of Winnipeg anytime soon, but boy oh boy are there ever a lot of stand-up stars who will be this April.
For starters, we have The Winnipeg Comedy Festival (April 3-10, presented by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries), which is celebrating 15 hilarious years (thanks Lara Rae and Tom Anniko!) at venues across the city.
Who’s performing you ask? Well, who isn’t?
During the festival proper you can catch routines from the likes of Louie Anderson (April 3 at the Club Regent Event Centre), Mary Walsh from This Hour Has 22 Minutes (April 8), Brent Butt (April 7, Pantages Playhouse Theatre — yeah, I know he is from Saskatchewan but we won’t hold it against him), Elvira Kurt (April 9 at Pantages Playhouse and April 9 at The Metropolitan Event Centre by Canad Inns) and one of my personal favourites, John Wing (who is performing in too many shows to fit into an appropriate parentheses).
Big laughs can also be found in smaller venues like The Handsome Daughter, while a delicious show called Gastrocomique takes place at Fusion Grill on April 6 where $150 (including tax and tip) gets you hors d’oeuvres, two drinks, a 3-course meal, and performances by Eric Sigurdson, Pat Thorton, K. Trevor Wilson and John Wing.
Two live tapings of CBC Radio’s hit show The Debaters will also take place during the Festival, with host and pun master Steve Patterson putting comedians through their paces in a one-on-one battle of the wits (April 9 & 10, Club Regent Event Centre).
It all ends with the big one, The 15th Anniversary Gala presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries ‘best of’ show, where you can see past favourites hosted by Seán Cullen on April 9 at Pantages Playhouse.
And the laughs don’t stop there, as the Winnipeg Comedy Festival is also presenting SNL alumni Norm Macdonald (whose roast of Bob Saget is pretty much the greatest bit of comedy ever) and Kevin Nealon on a bill together at the Club Regent Event Centre on April 15.
If that wasn’t enough, other venues outside the Comedy Festival are also bringing in their own big name comedians this month.
For instance Marlon Wayans, whose spoof films like Scary Movie have grossed more than $736 million at the domestic box office, is bringing his Scandal-Less Tour to Rumor’s Comedy Club from April 14 to 17.
Rumor’s also has another great show on April 19 with Jordan Welwood, who was the 2015 runner-up in Sirius XM’s Canada’s Top Comic at JFL42; along with Ryan Hamilton on April 20, a veteran of Conan and Inside Amy Schumer, who Rolling Stone named as “one of five comics so watch.”
Finally, just when you thought Winnipeg couldn’t cram anymore comedy into one month, Manitoba Opera presents Of Mice and Men, because we all know it will be hilarious when George kills Lennie with song (which, I know, is a horribly dark joke, but surely a fitting prelude to some of the material you can catch by the likes of Jon Wing and Norm Macdonald this month in Winnipeg).
The full schedule for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival can be found here.