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About the Festival

The Winnipeg Comedy Festival was the brainchild of Lara Rae (formerly 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. Fifteen 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:

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

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:

2003

Program:

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

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:

2004

Program:

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

Comic Headliners:

2005

Program:

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

Comic Headliners:

2006

Program:

Gala Themes: My Hometown International, Life's Hurdles, Relative Insanity, The Sky Is Falling, Founding Nations of Comedy, Drôlement Vôtres 4

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:

2007

Program:

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

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

Comic Headliners:

2008

Poster:

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

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:

2009

Program:

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

Comic Headliners:

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:

2011

Program:

Gala Shows: On That Note, Misfortune Tellers, Does This Joke Make Me Look Fat?, Hysterotypes, Crossing The Line

Gala Hosts: Andrea Martin, Howie Mandel, Nikki Payne, Jason Priestley, Jon Dore

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, MTC Warehouse, McPhillips Station Casino, CCFM, Rumor's Comedy Club, The Lo Pub, Aqua Books, Burton Cummings Theatre, Kum Koon Gardens

2012

Program:

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

Comic Headliners:

2013

Program:

Gala Themes: Regional Comedy Showdown, The Parent Trap, High School Confidential, Mars & Venus

Gala Hosts: Steve Patterson, Sean Cullen, Jonathan Torrens, Debra DiGiovanni

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, Park Theatre Cafe, Millennium Library, McPhillips Station Casino, CCFM, Rumor's Comedy Club, King's Head Pub, Fusion Grill, Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, The Cheer Bar & Grill  

2014

Program:

Gala Themes: Food Glorious Food, First World Problems, The Future Show, The Bro Show, Special Delivery 

Gala Hosts: Sandra Shamas, Daryn Jones, Tom Cavanagh, Darrin Rose, Tom Green  

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, The Park Theatre, Millennium Library, McPhillips Station Casino, Rumor's Comedy Club, King's Head Pub, Fusion Grill, Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, Burton Cummings Theatre, McNally Robinson

2015

Program:

Gala Themes: Rest and Relaxation, Fish Out Of Water, Too Much Information, Quit Your Day Job, The Middle Ages

Gala Hosts: Ryan Belleville, Jonny Harris, Jeremy Hotz, Jessica Holmes, Shaun Majumder

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, The Park Theatre, Millennium Library, Rumor's Comedy Club, CCFM, Fusion Grill, Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, McNally Robinson, The Purple Room, Red River College, Club Regent Event Centre

2016

Program:

Gala Themes: Born This Way, Customs & Integration, Truth Bomb, 15th Anniversary Gala, All Geek To Me

Gala Hosts: Brent Butt, Craig Lauzon, Mary Walsh, Sean Cullen, Naomi Snieckus

Venues: Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Gas Station Arts Centre, The Park Theatre, Millennium Library, Rumor's Comedy Club, CCFM, Fusion Grill, Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, McNally Robinson, Jekyll & Hyde's Freehouse, Club Regent Event Centre