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A note from Artistic Director Al Rae:

2015 - A good year for comedy!

I was 37 years young with a six year-old daughter when Tom Anniko and I decided to approach the Gas Station Arts Centre with the idea of an annual comedy festival. Now that six year-old is 22 and I'm pushing 40. How time flies.

We decided to launch a wine theme this year. It seemed fitting, given our festival comes around as new crops are planted and a more celebratory vibe slowly fills the city. But also, while a brand or label may stay the same, the quality of the contents inside vary slightly from year to year. And this year when we looked at the proposed line up - the number and variety of shows and the significant cast of new arrivals - we felt confident and excited to stamp this vintage as gold label.

There are new shows we hope will become old favourites. Portage Street Live, our first venture into an ‘urban’ show at the Good Will on Portage Avenue with Sterling Scott and a handful of other hip comics,hosted by our very own Paul Rabliauskas. We’ve also got a hot new Alternative Show with comics whose hilarity requires a refined and offbeat patter which we’ve paired with 50 Shades of Gay happening earlier that same night at the Park Theatre.

And we have a new vineyard. The Club Regent Event Centre a brand new venue with ample parking and state of the art seating and sound design. What a great new room to see CBC’s The Debaters and a fully expanded all-star Winnipeg Show. We also hand over the box office on our Tuesday night Funny YouShould Ask show - starring the legendary Mike McDonald - to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.

Since wine drinking is classy, we get a little theatrical with three amazing one-man shows at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Charlie Demers’ politically astute Leftovers, John Wing with a brand new show OldEnough to Know Better and the thrilling return of Dead Troll Wes Borg in the comedy play HA! - one of the best plays ever written about stand-up comedy. And there’s even a show from Hot Thespian Action.

And there’s good eating too. We return with another intimate Gastrocomique show at Fusion Grill that comes with a lovely meal. This year diners get a performance from Elvira Kurt.

On the other end of the price scale, we have lots of great outreach shows throughout the city including three more great lunch-hour shows at the Millennium Library.We’ve relabelled our Dark and Stormy Show as WCF After Dark and this year we get more dark than dirty. If you enjoy longer form stand-up, our Rumor’s Showcase Series begins with a special Monday night show with the great Mike McDonald. And there’s plenty of funny females in our second annual NoBro Show which was a runaway hit at last year’s festival.

And if you’re not fully satiated yet, we wrap it all up with The Mics, our first of what we hope will be many awards nights. We honour a male and female stand-up, a dedicated volunteer and in partnership with CBC Manitoba, allow our audience to pick their favourite performer from this year’s crop. That night, along with stand-up performances from the winners, will culminate in a roast of John Wing the only comic to have performed a fortnight’s worth of shows with us since 2001.

So a little whine, a little cheese but mostly fresh and delicious fully bodied funny from the best comics around the world.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Please fill out our online application form!

Submissions are closed for the 2015 festival. However, we are always happy to collect submissions for the future. If you wish to submit for consideration for 2016, please download our guidelines here.

Our 2015 Festival Line-up includes:

Jessica Holmes

Jessica, Holmes

Jessica Holmes has starred in five TV series including Royal Canadian Air Farce and The Holmes Show. Her first book I Love Your Laugh was published in 2010 and she's currently working on a follow up. ‎ As a Life Coach and Comedian, she performs across North America doing a mix of motivational speaking, comedy, and yes, that famous Celine Dion impression. She currently stars in the Healthy 5 web series, plays on soccer and basketball teams, and is raising her husband and two young children in Toronto.

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