About the Festival

The Winnipeg Comedy Festival was the brainchild of Al Rae and CBC Radio’s Tom Anniko, who worked in partnership with the Gas Station Arts Centre to bring the first comedy festival to life. Eleven years later, the festival remains the GSAC’s flagship event and has come to include year-round outreach programs, rural tours, workshops and television broadcasts that attract over 2 million viewers annually thanks to the hard work of the WCF team. The Winnipeg Comedy Festival is proud to be the highest rated comedy festival series on CBC Television.

2002

Program/Logo:

Gala Themes: Prime Ministers Show, Prairie Comedy Celebration, CBC Comedy Gala, What’s So Funny About Winnipeg?, What’s Up with Bedtime? and French Gala - Histoire du Manitoba 101

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Theatre, Centre culturel franco-manitobain and Prairie Theatre Exchange

Highlights: Inaugural year. Ticket venues host more than 5,000 patrons and thousands more flocked to free performances throughout the city.  Free performance continue today, in the festivals 7th year, and are held at the downtown malls and public library.  Outreach to schools with a Comedy Festival children’s story. The WCF wins a Gemini for Best Performance by a Comedian (Brian Hartt)

Comic Headliners:

  • Dave Broadfoot
  • Cathy Jones
  • David Steinberg

2003

Program/Logo:

Gala Themes: Sleeping with the Elephant, Prairie Crop, Becoming My Mother, Musical, Mayhem, Éclat d’humour

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Gas Station Theatre, Le Rendez-Vous, Winnipeg Art Gallery, CCFM

Highlights: The festival expands to include two rural tours – French & English – visiting four English and four French communities.  Outreach to schools continues. In addition, the sold out 2003 French Gala (Drôlement Vôtres) returns to a second sold-out theatre.

Comic Headliners:

  • A. Whitney Brown
  • Brent Butt
  • Dean Jenkinson
  • Gavin Crawford
  • George Westerholm
  • Irwin Barker
  • Jessica Holmes
  • John Wing
  • Mark McKinney
  • Ron James

2004

Program/Logo:

Gala Themes:
Turtle Island - North America’s Best Aboriginal Comics,
Myths, Lies and Maple Leafs - Dispelling Canada’s Cultural Myths
Modern Romance - Changing the Face of Relationships
Seriously Funny - One Day at a Time
Our Roots are Showing - Canada’s Funniest Multicultural Comics
CBC Gala - The Best of CBC Comedy
Le Gala de l’humour

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Gas Station Theatre, CCFM, King’s Head, McPhillips St. Station, Cinematheque

Comic Headliners:

  • Bill Richardson
  • Mark Critch
  • Colin Mochrie
  • Dave Broadfoot
  • Derek Edwards
  • Glen Foster
  • Graham Greene
  • Lorne Elliott
  • Patrick McKenna
  • Ralph Benmergui
  • Russell Peters
  • Shaun Majumder

2005

Program/Logo:

Gala Themes: Man Alive!, Mid Life Crazy, No Place Like Home, CBC Gala, Drôlement Vôtres 3

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Gas Station Theatre, McPhillips St. Station, The King’s Head, Cinematheque, Times Change, CCFM

Comic Headliners:

  • A. Whitney Brown
  • Cathy Jones
  • Glen Foster
  • Irwin Barker
  • Jeremy Hotz
  • Jessica Holmes
  • Joey Elias
  • John Wing
  • Mark McKinney
  • Roger Abbott
  • Russell Peters
  • Sean Cullen

2006

Program/Logo:

Gala Themes: My Hometown International, Life’s Hurdles, Relative Insanity, The Sky Is Falling, Founding Nations of Comedy, Drôlement Vôtres 4
Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Theatre, The King’s Head, McPhillips Street Station, Rumor’s Comedy Club, Brandon & CCFM

Highlights: CBC Radio comedy series "The Debaters" premiered with host Shaun Majumder. The hit CBC Radio show features Canada’s hottest comedians going toe to toe, debating topics in the news and on the minds of Canadians. The audience picks the winners based on who delivered the best logic and laughs, the best rhetoric and rant. Facts and force of argument can earn points, but in the end, jokes will likely win the match. Comedy trumps all. The Debaters airs Saturdays at 6:30pm (7:00 NT), Mondays at 8:30pm (9:00 NT) on CBC Radio One. The WFC was nominated for a Gemini in the category of Best Host of a Comedy or Variety Show (Bubbles). The number of Galas staged each year grew from two to four and then six in the festival’s 5th year. The ever popular and always sold out Galas also debuted on the Comedy Network.

Comic Headliners:

  • Bubbles
  • Derek Edwards
  • George Stroumboulopoulos
  • Glen Foster
  • Irwin Baker
  • John Wing
  • Roddy Piper
  • Shaun Majumder
  • Sugar Sammy

2007

Program/Logo:

Gala Themes: Wonder Women – The World’s Funniest Females, The Relation Ship, Metropolitan Life, Mmm Mmm Food, Hardly Working, Musical Mayhem, Drôlement Vôtres 5

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Gas Station Theatre, MTC Warehouse, McPhillips St. Station Casino, CCFM

Highlights: The Debaters returns for three sold-out shows.

Comic Headliners:

  • Andrea Martin
  • Joe Flaherty
  • Sean Cullen
  • Patrick McKenna
  • Elvira Kurt
  • Lorne Cardinal
  • Sugar Sammy
  • Joey Elias
  • Shaun Majumder

2008

Poster:

Gala Themes: Tying the Knot, Raising Cane, Good Sports, Travel Show, Animals, The Medicine Show, Drôlement Vôtres 6

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Gas Station Theatre, MTC Warehouse, McPhillips St. Station Casino, CCFM

Highlights: To promote the festival, the Big Daddy Tazz marathon was held in the Gas Station Theatre on April Fool’s Day. Tazz performed 8.5 hours of uninterrupted (that’s right, no pee breaks!), original material to a full house.

Comic Headliners:

  • Colin Mochrie
  • Deb McGrath
  • Gerry Dee
  • Mike Wilmot
  • NHL Legend Dennis Hull
  • Mrs.Hughes
  • Roman Danylo
  • Teresa Pavlinek
  • Jimmy Tingle
  • John Wing (back for his 7th festival in a row, he’s practically our mascot)
  • Big Daddy Tazz - the marathon man of mirth

2009

Program:


Gala Themes: Savings and Groans, The Holiday Show, Queer as Jokes, The Seven Deadly Sins, Drôlement Vôtres 7

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, The Gas Station Theatre, Park Theatre, Winnipeg Art Gallery, McPhillips St. Station Casino, CCFM

Comic Headliners:

  • Elvira Kurt
  • Irwin Barker
  • Deb McGrath
  • Deb DiGiovanni
  • Trevor Boris
  • The Dragons Dean’s Kevin O’Leary
  • Don Ferguson
  • Sean Cullen
  • Teresa Pavlinek
  • Ed Sahely
  • Jonathan Wilson
  • Andy Jones
  • John Wing (8 years in a row!)
  • Big Daddy Tazz

Catch the 2009 Galas on CBC every Monday, from January 4th to February 22nd, 2010 at 9:00pm.  Don’t forget to keep an eye open for reruns!

2010

Program:

Gala Themes: Edumacation, The Home Show, Whose Canada is it Anyway?, True Story, Obsessions, Drôlement Vôtres 8

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, The Garrick, MTC Warehouse, McPhillips St. Station Casino, CCFM

Comic Headliners:

  • Elvira Kurt
  • Irwin Barker
  • Cathy Jones
  • Nikki Payne
  • Trevor Boris
  • Steve Patterson
  • Scott Thompson
  • Jon Dore
  • Peter Keleghan
  • Barry Kennedy
  • Gordon Pinsent
  • Patrick McKenna
  • John Wing
  • Mike MacDonald
  • Gerry Dee

2011

Program: 
Gala Themes:
Venues:

Comic Headliners:

 

2012


Gala Themes: End Of The World 2012, Apocalypse, Mayan Prophecy

Venues: Pantages Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, McPhillips Street Station, Burton Cummings Theatre, McNally Robinson, Millennium Library, Rumor’s Comedy Club, Cinemateque, Aqua Books, The Lo Pub, Pop Soda’s Coffehouse Gallery, Times Changed, Fusion Grill

Comic Headliners:

  • Alan Thicke
  • Shannon Tweed
  • Caroline Rhea
  • Harland Williams
  • David Steinberg
  • Michael Winslow
  • Nicole Arbour
  • Lou Dinos
  • Steve Patterson
  • Elvira Kurt
  • Sook-Yin Lee
  • Terry Mc Gurrin
  • Peter Oldring
  • Pat Kelly
  • Darcy Michael
  • John Wing
  • Sean Cullen
  • Stevie Ray Fromstein
  • Matt Kirshen
  • Patrick Maliha