Port Credit Set to Bring the Laughs

While winter in Canada is rarely thrilling, it need not be bereft of entertainment -- and it won't be, thanks to the first ever Port Credit Comedy Festival set to run from February 28 to March 2.

While the festival is the first of its kind in Mississauga, it's not exactly new to Ontario. In fact, it's an off shoot of the successful Waterloo Comedy Festival, which has been going strong and attracting big Canadian acts for the past four years. The festival's executive producer, Phil LeConte, said he decided to grow his homegrown event after being approached by the Port Credit Business Improvement Area (BIA) organization.

"It [bringing the festival to Sauga] was really the BIA's idea," says LeConte. "They approached me inWaterlooand said they wanted a festival in Port Credit."

Since the festival already had strong bones, it wasn't too difficult for LeConte to recruit Waterloo Festival veterans and convince them to perform for the comedy-seeking masses in Mississauga.

"I used the leverage and connections and friendships I made inWaterloo. Because that festival has a great reputation, they were more than willing to take the risk."

Some performers "risking" the Sauga crowds are Steve Patterson (host of The Debaters on CBC Radio), Debra DiGiovanni (an award-winning stand up comic commonly seen on MuchMusic's Video on Trial), and Rob Pue (who's appeared on MTV's Punk'd).

And while performers usually hold the content of their routines close to the chest to avoid spoiling future audiences, Rob Pue says curious Sauga residences can get a taste of what he has to offer by checking him out on YouTube. He also says one of the festival's two venues -- the First United Church Port Credit -- will make some of his racier jokes all the more effective.

"It's always fun to play in a place where you say things you shouldn't," says Pue. "[It's interesting] looking at a cross behind you while talking about your genitals."

As far as venues go, both are small, intimate spaces -- the kind where the comedians, should they choose to do so, can easily pick you out of the crowd and mock everything from your hair to your partner to your perceived lackluster sex life. That said, intimate venues do have their perks.

"We found small venues so people could experience comedy in an intimate setting," says LeConte. "We're using the church and Clarke Memorial Hall, and a church is a great place because it has great acoustics. A lot of people also appreciate that you can get up close and personal [with the comics]. Comedy is a lot about actions and facial expressions."

So while the festival organizers are ready forMississauga, how enthusiastic are Sauga natives about experiencing comedy somewhere other than Yuk Yuks?

"We've been selling tickets since December and we've sold about 200 or 300 tickets online," says LeConte. "The Port Credit audiences are supportive and want to support community events."

LeConte also sees more festivals in Port Credit's future.

"There's been a lot of people liking the event's Facebook page and the tickets are selling. Local business owners are excited that something like this is coming to Port Credit. The local community [in general] is excited this is happening. We're [also] really lucky to have such an all-star line-up. That'll help sustain the festival in the future."

For more information on how to buy tickets/prices/schedules/performers, check out http://www.portcreditcomedy.com/

Also make sure to check out insauga.com podcast on Rogers TV this Friday, February 8th as we talk to the organizer of the Port Credit Comedy Festival Phil LeConte. We will be giving out some free tickets as well.

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