Comedians try to run ahead on the laugh track
WILL BAZAN, CONTRIBUTOR
The Winnipeg Comedy Festival has been a springboard for comedians for 15 years, including a line-up of well-known comics performing for TV specials incorporated into Just For Laughs.
Comedian Jordan Wellwood hosted The Upper Deck at the King’s Head Pub on April 4. The event showcased up-and-coming comics in a cabaret setting for $5. Wellwood has been involved with the Winnipeg Comedy Festival for three years. He said it also took him three years to get his material to the level of quality that got him invited to the festival.
“It took me a while to break my way in. We’re lucky as like local comics here because we have such a big festival in our own backyard,” said Wellwood. “Initially when you get in it means it’s a big stage to test yourself in with other headliners from across the country. And on top of that, it’s a first credit you can have.”
“Now it’s been a couple years for me, and I feel like some of the out-of-town acts I know a little more just from working with them in other situations,” he said. “So it’s a little less intimidating, but it’s still a big event/deal and it’s a lot of fun.”
Wes Borg headlined The Upper Deck and has been performing stand-up for over 30 years. He said Winnipeg is the best place to get your routine together.
“Winnipeg is an awesome town for comedy,” said Borg. “I don’t know why, but whenever I came here for the Fringe [Festival], it was just the perfect place to get your show together because the audience was so warm. And then when you got to Edmonton or Vancouver, they just got more and more cynical.”
Borg was part of the comedy troupe Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie before he began a solo career. He added that the Winnipeg Comedy Festival has helped him get more notoriety and exposure in the comedy community.
The Winnipeg Comedy Festival ran from April 3-10.