Did you know that December, one of the coldest months of 2014, is also the funniest? The Winnipeg comedy scene is consistently among the finest in the country, but as we near 2015, more and more fantastic local shows are popping up. Comedian and writer Jared Story insists the recent change in climate is good for local comedy.
“People really need something to do in the winter,” Story says. “In the summer, there’s so much more to do outside. And you don’t want to go to the bar every weekend.”
On Dec. 10, the Trailer Park Boys’ Dear Santa Claus Go Fuck Yourself tour descends on the Club Regent Casino for a marijuana-fueled, profanity-laced Christmas spectacular. The plot follows the kind-hearted Bubbles as he spreads the true meaning of the season, all the while flanked by his best friends, Julian and Ricky, whose selfishness could potentially spoil Christmas for everyone.
The highlight for many will be the fifth Winnipeg Comedy Showcase, hosted by Story, on Dec. 13. Story’s showcase series, held at the Park Theatre (as are the three entries that follow), is intended to give highly sought-after theatre stage time to the most talented local comedians. Performers include Benjamin Walker, Tyler Penner (recent winner of Winnipeg’s Funniest Person With A Day Job), John B. Duff, Andrew Lizotte, Amber Daniels and Dan Goldberg.
In its second year, comedian Aisha Alfa’s Holiday Homecoming at the Park promises to be one of the hottest tickets of the season. Alfa, a former Winnipeg comic who recently made the jump to Toronto, can be seen on MuchMusic’s Video on Trial and as Ms. Grell on Degrassi. The Dec. 18 Holiday Homecoming includes performances from Alfa and local comedians Mike Green and Matt Nightingale.
“(Alfa)’s a monster on stage now,” Story says. “In Toronto, you can get on-stage like three times a night and her confidence has just gone through the roof. It’s scary how good she’s gotten.”
After four years and eight seasons of laughs, punctuated by the occasional “Don Cherry” appearance, Shaw TV’s satirical news comedy show Week Thus Far tapes its Holiday Special and final episode of the year on Dec. 11. Co-hosted by comedians Dan Huen and Jon Wilson, the show includes an appearance from local improv comedy team Crumbs, and musical performances from J.D. Edwards, Scott Nolan and a special mystery guest.
The Damn Your Eyes Holiday Meltdown continues the fun on Dec. 12, as comedian J.D. Renaud remounts his critically acclaimed Winnipeg Fringe show for the final time. The show, which was awarded a glowing five-star review by CBC, plays out as a series of love letters to the formative things Renaud hated as a youngster.
“I was a snotty, angry little kid,” Renaud says. “And I realized even though that snottiness wasn’t always well placed, it’s formed me into the man you see before you.”
Audiences who caught Renaud’s show during Fringe may be enticed back for a second viewing, as the Holiday Meltdown edition will include deleted scenes, content too explicit for the original version, and a special one-sheet giveaway.