British Columbia

This B.C. comedian quit his six-figure pulp mill job to chase his stand-up dreams

Prince George comedian Alex Mackenzie was a third-generation pulp mill worker. But he's quit his job, sold his house, and is set to travel to stand-up gigs around the country in his RV.

Alex Mackenzie sold his house and bought an RV to travel to gigs

Alex Mackenzie will be travelling around the country with his 9-year-old chocolate lab, Finley. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

After working at a Prince George pulp mill for more than a decade, Alex Mackenzie realized he had to quit.

Despite the good salary, the 31-year-old hadn't liked his job for years. 

Mackenzie's true passion is stand-up comedy, and he made his career-changing decision on his first day back at the pulp mill after finishing a stand-up tour in Alberta.

"I remember going into work at 7 o'clock, and by nine I was like, 'I'm done,'" said Mackenzie.

He marched into the human resources office to say he was quitting, but people didn't respond the way he was expecting.

"It was on April Fools and I didn't even realize that," he said. "Everyone was like, 'Good one, Alex. You're such a comedian.'"

Mackenzie says he hopes to travel as far east as Winnipeg this year. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

However, Mackenzie is very serious about pursuing his passion for comedy.

He started performing at open-mic nights in Prince George in his mid-twenties, and has now performed at venues around Western Canada.

In addition to quitting his six-figure job, Mackenzie also sold his home and purchased a small RV for travelling to gigs.

"I feel like I'm starting a little business, and the business is me."

Mackenzie said his family and friends were worried when he first unveiled his plan.

"Most people looked at me like I was going to put square tires on my truck, but now, for the most part, people are pretty supportive," he said.

Other comedians have also been supportive of his unconventional scheme, and are helping him book gigs.

"All of them have been amazing. The outreach from the whole comedy community is the thing that comforts me the most."

Mackenzie plans to park his RV in Metro Vancouver over the winter. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

Mackenzie plans to drive his RV until the fall, and hopes to get as far east as Winnipeg.

Once the temperature drops, he will park his home on wheels for the winter in Metro Vancouver.

Mackenzie hopes his story inspires others to pursue their passions.

"If anybody, anywhere quits their job because of anything I've said, let me know, and I'll keep a rolling tab of how many people I get to quit their job."