First Port Credit Comedy Festival a Huge Hit

Comedy shows and festivals are almost always a good time. With the right comics and the right crowd, the night can be a smashing success. The inaugural Port Credit Comedy Festival sold over 1,000 tickets and packed the venues full of cheerful, exuberant crowds who loved each and every comic and routine.

It also helped that libations were provided by Port Credit hotspot Ten. Nothing loosens up a crowd or comic quicker than a beer or two (or five).

The festival kicked off late last week at Port Credit's First United Church (the jokes about the venue practically wrote themselves) with performances by Pete Zedlacher (a Just for Laughs veteran), Ryan Belleville (a Canadian Comedy Award winner), Rob Pue (who has starred on MTV's Punk'd), Debra DiGiovanni (of Video on Trial fame) and Steve Patterson (host of CBC's The Debators).

The pious backdrop failed to deter the all-Canadian line up from talking about such edgy (but eternally amusing) subjects as their troubled relationships with catheters, long uterus necks (apparently not all wombs are created equal), naked stepchildren (not as inappropriate and/or immoral as you think) and blood-soaked Mexican holidays.

Zedlacher, the gala's MC, warmed up the crowd with a tale of how a measly $10 was enough to convince a member of a Mexican hotel's cleaning staff to clean up copious blood stains (his wife cut her foot in a drunken haze) without questioning where (or who) the blood came from. Later, Ryan Belleville joked that the one trait that defines Canadians is complaining about snow (fair, because snow is always worth complaining about). He also marveled at the uselessness -- much to the crowd's delight -- of human babies. As he pointed out, even a deer is born a walking.

After Belleville left the stage, Rob Pue took the mic and opened with an absurdly funny diatribe about how much he loves his top-heavy (he walked like Frankenstein to illustrate the point) yet adorable stepdaughter. The toddler, who, incidentally, also likes to tackle him while naked. In fact, Pue's stories about unsexy nudity didn't stop there. After comically recounting the shocking details of a horrific car crash he experienced (he was a victim of "night ice"), he went on to describe the horror of finding a lengthy tube (a catheter) attached to his penis. Not to spoil the joke, but, basically, it hurt when it had to come out. Pue seems to have recovered well, catheter trauma aside.

After a short intermission that allowed the crowd -- an interesting mix of young and old and every age in between -- to get more Ten cocktails concluded, Debra DiGiovanni hit the stage. DiGiovanni's everyman/woman routine hit the right note by being both silly (in a good way) and self-deprecating. To borrow a term from the Internets, DiGiovanni is "ForeverAlone." And as we all know, being ForeverAlone is funny, especially when a spooning cat is involved. Who needs human love when a kitty is willing to warm your bed at night? No one, that's who.

The gala was closed by Steve Patterson, who had a perfectly absurd routine that ended with a realistic, modern "I love you, but not that much" love song. Patterson's set, which touched on every subject from fighting to crying to condos to romantic gestures, hit its high point when he talked about the near-magical capabilities of his wristwatch. When he bought it, he was told it would work 200 meters under water. He quipped -- and if you like absurdity, well, you'll like this -- "I can't count how many times I've been strolling along the ocean floor and thought, 'what time is it?'"

But with the festival now behind us, how was the inaugural event received?

"The festival was a success in our eyes," wrote Phil LeConte, the festival's executive producer, in an email. "As far as I can tell, everyone had a great time!"

So, to those Saugans who checked out the shows, what did you think?

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