The Edmonton Comedy Festival.

I just finished my second appearance at the ATB Edmonton Comedy Festival. What I learned from the comedians from all corners of the World was “SUBTLE.” Don’t be so blatant with my punch lines, at least not the whole set. It’s alright to be subtle. It’s a great lesson. Never under estimate the intelligence of an audience.

I performed 4 sets. One was a 10 minute show case set at a great little soft seater in the Arts Barn. The other three were me as the host for the other comedians. I’ve always prepared for my sets by journalling and taping my set and watching it the next day. It’s always been about story, the moments in my life that really reveal who I am. I take these moments and write material about them and then, put the material back in the story to embellish it.

I really liked Alingon Mitra, an East Indian comedian from Boston. He’s really relaxed, soft spoken and great at sharing his darkest thoughts. Edmonton Comedian Tyler Hawkins had the best set I’ve ever seen him have. He crushed it. It was great to talk to Chicago Comedian Rondell Sheridan. He’s a tonight show alumni and talked to me about working with Bill Hicks in England. Edmonton comedian Kerry Unger is seriously one of the funniest comics I know. His material is as natural as he is. He melded the guy living in his basement  to depression and telling what the weather was going to be. So funny!

I watched all the comics, talked to Andrew  and Carole Grose the festival organizers, Tim Koslo a local comedian, Kenny V another veteran extremely funny comedian. I caught up with Kristine Von Hagen from Las Vegas,  Marry Allen Hooper from Florida, World traveller  Larse Callieou from Edmonton and the AMAZING Donny and Mark from Atomic Improve.  The four days went SO fast.

I was blessed to share a Stand Up Work shop where several of my students attended. That was an honour. Another honour came the night before. I had just wrapped up the show and stepped off the stage. A young man walked up and said that tonight was the first time he laughed in 5 years. He asked if I had really Drummed for Stompin Tom Conners. I said that I had. The man began crying and walked away. His buddy walked up and said that his friend was crying because his brother was a Canadian Soldier who’d been killed in Iraq and that his brother loved Stompin Tom Conners. I ran over and held the young man for a moment. It made me think about how many times have all of us shared something funny that reached and healed someone else and how they use the joke or story for years after we forgot we even told it. Dare to share your humor. It’s needed, more then you can ever know.

If you want to book me for as a Stand Up Comedian or Key Note Speaker or want to be in my next class January 26th. E mail me please: paulsveen@shaw.ca