Comedy keeps performer going
Comedy: Yuk Yuks on Tour bringing humour to the foothills in March 8 show
Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 08:33 am
A Calgary man who built a career out of making people howl with laughter is heading to Okotoks this weekend.
Comedian Jeremy Furlong plans to crack up foothills residents with his humourous life experiences and views of western Canada in the Yuk Yuks on Tour comedy show at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) on March 8 at 8 p.m.
“It’s something I’ve always been interested in,” said Furlong of comedy. “I was pretty funny at parties and decided to take it to the next level.”
While taking Canadian studies in university, Furlong entered a comedy contest at the school and tried his skills at the open mic.
“I wanted to try it and to see where I stood,” he said. “It was something I enjoyed. I find it challenging and rewarding at the same time.”
Furlong pursued a number of careers in his young adult life including working on oil rigs, teaching English in Quebec and organizing sports, recreation and community events in a northern Alberta Metis community. Yet, he couldn’t put comedy out of his mind.
“When I was in the aboriginal community it was pretty remote and I had a lot of time to think and reflect,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot to do outside my work and I was thinking about the things I missed. One of the things was comedy.”
Each time Furlong returned to Calgary, he would perform at open mic comedy shows when possible. When he moved to Calgary in 2009 he decided to pursue comedy as a career.
“It was hard and I didn’t do great,” he admitted. “I knew if I just applied myself I could get better results.”
Furlong soon developed his own comedy show and spends part of his act connecting with his audience to add some improvisation into his show.
“I can be malleable on stage,” he said. “I like to interact with people during the show and see what they are doing at the town I’m at.”
Furlong asks people where they are from originally, where they work and takes some time to explore their profession, adding humour into his interactions.
“I just roll with the punches,” he said. “There’s nothing more depressing than rocking out the same show over and over again.”
Furlong’s comedy act also consists of funny reflections on his life experiences, making fun of the names western Canada towns and pointing out differences in various parts of Canada.
He has also been known to poke some fun at himself and his family.
“I keep it light and fluffy – nothing too hard or edgy,” he said. “I take a lighter view of western Canada.”
Also performing at the March 8 comedy show is Fort Saskatchewan comedian Sean Lecomber.
Lecomber is the winner of the 2007 Just for Laughs Home grown competition, 2007 Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off in Edmonton, finalist for the 2007 Last Comic Standing Canadian auditions and his comedy was featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
He has been be heard on CTV, CBC Radio’s “The best of so you think you’re funny?” and the Comedy Network.
Lecomber could not be reached before the Western Wheel’s press deadline.
Comedy acts have become a big hit in Okotoks since Yuk Yuks on Tour first graced the RPAC stage last spring.
Allan Boss, Town of Okotoks Team Leader for Cultural and Historical Services, said the shows usually draw well over 100 people, and sometimes sell out.
“They have a couple of beer or a glass of wine or a Coke and popcorn and sit down and have a really good night of chuckles and walk away pleased,” he said.
Boss anticipated bringing the touring comedy show to Okotoks last year would change things up a little at the arts centre.
“As I’m programming the events that are happening in the Rotary Performing Arts Centre part of our mandate for cultural and historical services in the Town of Okotoks is to try and work to support and please the entire community,” he said. “That means that we not only have to adapt our programming, we have to look at the audiences that we have.”
Boss has been expanding the Town’s entertainment repertoire from just concerts to include film, acting and comedy as a way of reaching a more diverse audience.
“We’ve got good crowds out to those concerts but it was always the same people,” he said, adding that has now changed. “It’s a very different audience. People that were coming into the building we had never seen before.”
Boss hopes the diversity in programming will improve the visibility of the centre.
“A lot of people still think it’s a church,” he said. “Once more people come and you see more events happening there word is going to start spreading that it’s not an old church it’s a theatre and a great little theatre.”
The season’s final Yuk Yuks on Tour comedy show is scheduled for April 12 and the program will return again this fall.
Boss encourages foothills residents with ideas and suggestions for arts and culture in Okotoks to contact him at 403-995-2776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets to see Jeremy Furlong and Sean Lecomber perform cost $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by calling 403-938-3204.