VideoFrom rocket attacks in Kandahar to bars in Prince Albert, Erica Sigurdson reveals the dangers of comedy
Posted by Anna Lazowski, SCENE Producer | Thursday April 11, 2013
Erica Sigurdson will be debating whether fight or flight is the superior instinct at a live taping of "The Debaters".
Soon after, the air-raid sirens sounded and the rest of the CBC team headed for a bunker. I took a more 'every woman for herself' approach and found myself separated from everyone, in a bunker with a bunch of Americans.
—Erica Sigurdson, comedian
Vancouver comedian Erica Sigurdson has a darkness to her sense of humour that she tempers with a little smirk.
2006, when she headed to Kandahar to entertain the troops, things
stopped being funny pretty quickly when a rocket attack delayed the show.
So SCENE asked her to tell us about that experience and other dangers comedians face.
What's the sketchiest travel experience you've had in standup? I don't know if I'd call it sketchy, but by far the scariest was flying
in to Kandahar on a Herc, wearing flak vests and a helmet in case we
were shot at. The only saving grace of terrible travel experiences on
your way to a show is that you know you'll get a new five minutes [of material] out of it
Can you tell us what happened with the rocket attack? Before leaving for Kandahar, I had flown to Halifax for one day of
training by some ex-SAS guy about different safety measures while in
One of the things he taught involved carrying a compass
and a map, which I found hilarious because if I were to find myself in
Afghanistan, alone, trying to navigate my way through the countryside
with a map - I'm pretty sure that's when I would simply lie down and wait
Before our show, I was standing outside the tent
chatting with a couple of the soldiers when one of them heard the
rockets and yelled 'incoming'. They all hit the ground - as you are
supposed to do - but I forgot all my training and ran inside the tent.
Soon after, the air-raid sirens sounded and the rest of the CBC team
headed for a bunker. I took a more 'every woman for herself' approach
and found myself separated from everyone, in a bunker with a bunch of
It was pretty nerve racking, especially when we were
bombed again during Mark Critch's set and I had to go up next, but in
the end - once you've done the bar in Prince Albert, a rocket attack
doesn't feel that much different. When you were starting out were you mentally prepared to deal with hecklers? Starting out I was more concerned with what I was going to be doing to
even think about possible hecklers. Once I started going on the road, I
realized that hecklers weren't really as much as a threat as tables of
It's hard because they're having a good time but they're
disrupting the show so you walk a fine line when dealing with them. The idea of the old school heckler has been replaced by the texting,
drinking with friends loudmouth. Do you think female comics get a different kind of heckler than male comics? Not at all. No matter who is on stage, a heckler is a heckler is a heckler. What comic are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Honestly so many of the comics are really good friends of mine so it's super exciting to be in Winnipeg at the festival and not just share the stage but also hang out and have a few drinks with fellow comics.
Having said that, I'm most looking forward to seeing Steve Patterson because he's a close friend and one of my favourite comics to watch.
Erica Sigurdson performs at the Friday Night Super Gala and at The Debaters taping on Saturday.