Growing comedy one laugh at a time
It wasn’t that long ago when the idea of checking out some live comedy in Fredericton seemed absurd. The city’s entertainment landscape has always had a lot to offer but until recently, comedy wasn’t something on the list.
“Comedy in Fredericton hasn’t been going for very long,” said Troy Haines, a local comedian and event promoter, “but it’s definitely getting more popular. I think it’s only been happening in Fredericton for three or four years, so it’s still pretty new for our area. I think a lot of people are just starting to take notice.”
Haines, like a lot of performers doing stand-up in the Fredericton, first became involved in comedy through the Fredericton United Comedy Collective. This small but dedicated group of performers host regular open-mic events throughout the city, giving new and established performers a chance to get in front of an audience and do their thing.
Through his work with the Saint John production company, Shane Ogden Presents, and his own business, Live Stand-Up Comedy, Haines is working hard to keep humour happening on homeground.
“Stand-up shows have started popping up all over the province,” he said. “And I know there are regular events happening in Fredericton and Saint John.”
Until recently, anyone from the province interested in trying to make a go as a comedian had to leave town. There were no stages hosting comedy and as a result, there wasn’t an audience.
“There are stand up comics from the area who have been working a lot longer than just the past three years,” said Haines, “but they’ve had to go to larger centres like Halifax or Toronto to perform. That’s all changing with the rise of comedy here at home. I’d say right now, there are probably 40 diehard comics working out of New Brunswick. A lot of people are just starting to realize just how much comedy is happening in the province.”
Haines recently hosted his second Battle of the Comedians event at the Elks Club on Brunswick Street to a near capacity crowd and feels comedy is something city audiences have been waiting for.
“Battle of the Comedians is becoming quite a popular event,” he said. “I’ve done two of them so far and the last one was almost sold out. For a new event, the results have been great. There seems to be quite a vacuum for comedy here in Fredericton. I think people are really wanting stand-up for variety in their entertainment.”
Fans of stand-up have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Here’s a quick look at what’s coming up: