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April 29 - May 4, 2025

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS 24K COMEDY GOLD AT THE 2024 WINNIPEG COMEDY FESTIVAL 

Prepare to strike gold when the Winnipeg Comedy Festival (WCF), presented by Manitoba Liquor Marts, returns April 30 – May 5, 2024. Laughter is the ultimate treasure at this year’s festival, which includes the return of our crown jewels: five recorded-for-television Mega Shows (formerly known as our Galas), and two live recordings of the hit radio series The Debaters, which premiered at the WCF in 2006. We’ve also gilded this year’s schedule with shiny new programming including a one-person show about life as a touring comic for the Canadian Armed Forces, a roast to a beloved WCF comic, and an evening of all-star Asian comedy. Artistic Director Dean Jenkinson says, “With Just For Laughs not producing a 2024 festival, Winnipeg Comedy Festival has never been more vital. But our aspirations have never been to be JFL or even JFL Jr. Our strengths aren’t bringing you millionaire American standups and Hollywood stars. But what we do as well as or better than any festival in the world is amplify ridiculously talented emerging and established Canadian comedians. The ones who haven’t yet had the magic wand of Netflix waved over them. The ones just as deserving of being household names coast-to-coast. The ones regularly crushing rooms of 200, 100 or even just 20 people. It’s something we’re damn proud of. Or as proud of as our Winnipeg self-deprecation allows.”

And we are proud of our programming. This year's Mega Show hosts are all brilliant Canadians whose varied talents amplify all the fabulous and funny performers at the fest. Our Mega Show broadcasts are some of the most-watched stand-up comedy specials in Canada. In fact, for the second consecutive year, one of our televised Mega Shows has received a Canadian Screen Award nomination!

This year's Mega Shows are:

Thursday May 2 @ 7:30pm - Your Next Act Fresh starts, new chapters, same laughs. Because change is sometimes scary, but it’s always hilarious! Hosted by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Disney’s Star Wars universe, CBC’s Kim’s Convenience, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Friday May 3 @ 6:30pm - The Perfect Show When the life you dream of meets the life you’re stuck with. Hosted by Ann Pornel (Baroness Von Sketch Show, host of The Great Canadian Baking Show)

Friday, May 3 @ 9:15pm - Back in the Day A side-splitting celebration of nostalgia that gets even better in hindsight. Hosted by Maestro Fresh Wes (first hip-hop artist inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, rapper, producer, actor & writer)

Saturday May 4 @ 6:30pm – Love You, Man Intimacy, vulnerability, and other manly subjects. Hosted by DJ Demers (creator & star of new CBC sitcom One More Time, appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Conan)

Saturday May 4 @ 9:15pm – Customer Disservice Your laughter is important to us; please stand by. A comedy show so funny you’ll want to speak to the manager. Hosted by Lauren Ash (NBC’s Superstore, ABC’s Not Dead Yet) 

As always, the festival is much more than the five shows that are recorded for televised broadcast. X marks the spot at the Gas Station Arts Centre patio, also known as our Festival Hub, which boasts free programming Wednesday May 1 – Saturday May 4 (see the WCF website for daily schedule). Executive Director Nick Kowalchuk has been working hard for the past two years to turn the GSAC patio into a welcoming outdoor space for the arts. “It’s fantastic to see the corner of River and Osborne alive with cultural events and a celebration of the arts. Comedy in particular can show us new perspectives that can help us laugh and learn. Laughter can get us to the other side of tragedy, can bring us together in common experience, and can make us forget the challenges of everyday life. The WCF HUB on the GSAC patio is a great way to bring our community together in laughter.”

Inside the theatre, we’ve got a treasure chest full of innovative comedy programming, including classics:
Laughing with the Stars (Wednesday, May 1, 7:30pm), where you can catch some fave Winnipeg celebs trying their hand at stand-up comedy for the first time with the support of trained professionals.

The Dark & Dirty Show (Friday, May, 9:45pm, 18+): if you like your comedy like you like your truck stop coffee, this is the show for you!
Queerly Beloved (Sunday, May 5, 3pm): International headliners and local favourites combine in this celebration of queer comedy!

We’ve also struck gold with loads of new programming, including:

The Roast of Kathleen McGee (Saturday, May 4, 9:30pm): What do you do when a brilliant comedian and a wonderful human being receives a stage 4 cancer diagnosis? You show her love and support the only way fellow comedians know how – truly tasteless jokes. Host Steve Patterson (CBC Radio’s The Debaters) and a murderer’s row of WCF’s favourite comics pay loving roasty tribute to Kathleen’s comedy and life.

EH! Material (Friday, May 3, 7:30pm): Comics from coast-to-coast bring their “Eh! game” to this show that proves Canucks provide the best yuks for your bucks!

The War Comic (Saturday, May 4, 4pm): Pete Zedlacher chronicles his adventures and experiences performing for the Canadian Armed Forces in war zones around the world in this hilarious and moving one person show. ($5 of every ticket sold will be donated to the Southern Chiefs’ Organization First Nations Veterans Program)

This doesn’t even scratch the goldleaf off the surface of the comedy-gold programming we’ve got in store for the 2024 WCF. Check out our website for the full schedule. All the glitters is 24k comedy gold at the 2024 Winnipeg Comedy Festival!

Did you know: The Winnipeg Comedy Festival is produced by the Gas Station Arts Centre. It is the main source of capital income for the GSAC, which allows it to continue providing exceptional mentorship and an affordable performance space for emerging artists. In 2024, the GSAC will be getting a LONG overdue upgrade to its existing infrastructure, including new cushy seats! And better yet - you can buy a seat and be memorialized forever as a patron of the arts. 

Contact Anne Dawson for any media related questions.

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