by Ashley Janes
The Morinville Community Library is kicking off this year’s St. Jean Baptiste Festival with an evening of stand up comedy, a fundraising event taking place on Friday, June 20, at 8 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The show will include sets by three comedians, including local up-and-comer Wyatt Ziegler, Edmonton native, Scott Belford, and headliner, Lars Callieou.
When last interviewed by the Morinville News, Zieger was gearing up for Edmonton’s Funniest Person With A Day Job competition on Apr. 22. Despite not advancing, he reports he was happy with the overall experience. “I think it was probably one of the smoothest performances I’ve done, and that speaks to how competitive and great Edmonton comedians are,” he said.
Looking forward to the Morinville show, Zieger says it feels surreal to be performing at home. The young comedian admits he would love to act as a local ambassador for comedy and to be an inspiration for others who have wanted to try their hand at stand-up. “It means a tremendous amount to me. This has been a short-term goal of mine ever since I first started doing comedy. It’s a dream come true to perform for a town I’ve lived in my whole life.”
Opening for two seasoned comedians, Zieger is eager to show them what he’s got. “I’ve idolized Lars since the first night I went to The Druid pub’s comedy night where he emcees. Same for Scott. He’s a guy who’s won the Funniest Person With A Day Job and that’s an impressive feat.”
Belford describes himself as a comedian who is not funny (a joke, of course), adding that his style of comedy leans to the nostalgic. “I have a lot [of] stories from my childhood and comparisons between how I dealt with things when I was growing up and how kids deal with things today.”
He talks about the ups and downs of comedy with a knack for revealing the humour in everyday experiences. “The best thing about comedy is comedians. Wherever you go, you’re running into friends you’ve worked with or touring with someone who will soon be a friend. But the worst thing about comedy is comedians. I mean both these statements wholeheartedly. There’s nothing worse than being on the road with someone for eight hours who is constantly being an (censored).”
Belford believes that working charity events such as the upcoming library event is very important. “I used to love going to my local library when I was growing up, especially when I was young. Plus, my library had beanbag chairs, which was awesome. I can’t wait to raise money for beanbag chairs for Morinville’s library. That’s a part of this, right?”
Callieou would agree with Belford’s emphasis on comedians working charity events, and any other event for that matter. “The best comedians I’ve ever seen are the ones who worked the hardest, they just kept moving forward because they loved comedy.”
The successful Canadian comedian came from a family of musicians, and he jokes that he should have followed in their footsteps. “Women say they like a man with a sense of humour, but have you ever seen a clown with a girlfriend? […] Honestly though, I’ve always been fascinated by jokes, ever since I was six years old. I like to make people laugh. It’s the coolest job in the world.”
He admits that stand-up can be tough on new comedians, with endless rejection being one of the hardest difficulties to overcome. But Callieou believes that hard work and commitment does pay off. “I think Jerry Seinfeld said it best, ‘Just work.’ If you love the work, the rest of the stuff should follow. If it doesn’t, the journey is still pretty awesome. Oh, and remember to have fun, after all we’re just telling jokes.”
Tickets for this licensed event are available for $10.00 per person from the Morinville Community Library, Bumper-to-Bumper, and Morinville Sobeys. Tables of eight are still available by calling the Morinville community Library at 780-939-3292. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.