A Comedy pilgrimage: First Destination


Come on comedy pilgrims, we're heading to the Rock! It could take 12 hours to drive across the island of Newfoundland, but a random stop at any point is a perfect destination. I've learned from comics and pilgrims alike - in Newfoundland, comedy is a way of life!  We're familiar with the province's major comedic exports: CODCO, Rick Mercer, Shaun Majumder, Shannon Tweed (depending on your interests). But we must actually go to Newfoundland to find the heart and soul of East Coast humour - the people!  

Stand-up acts like Jonny Harris, who can be heard here on Laugh Out Loud, and Trent McClellan, who stars in his own Comedy Now special, have taken their sharpened east coast wit across Canada. McClellan remains closely connected to home where he feels Newfoundlanders are predisposed to think comedically. He values the appreciative and respectful audience that "come with the intention of laughing...they are with you before they get there". 

ms bent2.jpgPerhaps this is because comedy in Newfoundland isn't just entertainment. It's also a public forum for politics and current affairs. Local celebrity Peter Soucy introduced his most famed character "Snook" on the evening news. Viewers loyally tuned in for updates from the "street-smart corner boy". Both Soucy and his alter ego continue to entertain as cherished members of the community.

Comedy pilgrims can enjoy laughs, and a cultural tradition, at any time during the year. Locals fill the house for political satire in the annual Rising Tide Theatre Revue - a winter classic. You can also catch big names at the relatively new Screech Comedy Fest in June.  And, of course, you can meet great performers and audience at any local pub with an open mic. 

If you can't make it to our country's easternmost point, keep an eye out for Newfoundland comics and pilgrims passing through your area. Their gregarious humour and charm isn't just portable, it's contagious!

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories and thoughts with me over the past week. You're great company! Keep your pilgrimage tips coming; we have much more to see!


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