Next Up: Manitoba crowns Skirt Browning winner
Next Up: Manitoba aims to highlight the province's brightest amateur comedic talent by providing comedians, performers, improv and sketch groups with exposure on a national level through CBC Manitoba's partnership with CBC Comedy.
A total of 16 Manitobans threw their hats onto the rink and one comedian came out on top. Shauna Fay skated all the way to first place as her alias, drag queen Skirt Browning.
Shauna says, "Naming myself Skirt Browning was absolutely in honour of [figure skater] Kurt Browning. It was not a joke. It was a tip of my drag hat to the person who pushed me to centre ice and now pushes me to the centre of the drag stage."
Now we're wondering if Shauna will enter the Battle of the Blades next.
Up close with Next Up: Manitoba's winner
What inspired you to pursue a career in comedy?
"I began watching live comedy and thought: I bet I could do that! Then when Skirt Browning was born a few short years ago, I quickly realized that if she wasn't stunning, she better be funny."
Who are some comedians that you look up to?
"I've been lucky enough to meet Bob The Drag Queen, Alyssa Edwards and Bianca Del Rio, who are polished queens I take notes from. But it's local Winnipeg comedians who inspire me - Danielle Kayahara, Dana Smith, Roland Penner, Tim Grey, Angie StMars. I especially love watching people who are not afraid to take risks, venture into the mortifying spaces, and leave it all on the stage. Live comedy is the only comedy I engage with and I must admit that it puts gas in the tank to watch stumble a bit and then turn it around."
How have you been keeping occupied during the pandemic?
"Creating new wardrobe pieces for future stage time. Sequins, beads and feathers, oh my!"
What does it mean to you to be crowned Manitoba's next big comedian?
"It means that because Skirt Browning just won, she's officially a pageant drag queen with a crown! There's a crown right? SKIRT 2020!"
As part of her prize package, Shauna will be featured in a comedy showcase hosted by the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and be given a mentorship opportunity with veteran comedy writer Dean Jenkinson from This Hour has 22 Minutes. Look out for her performance, coming soon.
Next Up: Manitoba was born out of CBC Comedy's successful Next Up national amateur comedy competition, which recently won top honours for comedy at the 26th Communicator Awards.