Comedy of international proportions is coming to Red Deer.
Improv and sketch comedy artists from Los Angeles, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton will compete for laughs in Bull Skit’s invitational Sketchfest, running Thursday to Saturday, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, at the Scott Block.
And let’s not forget the Red Deer talent in the mix: The eight-member seasoned Bull Skit Comedy team will be joined by partner team Veal Skit, as well as The Strapping Young Lads and The Dirrty Show.
Jenna Goldade, artistic director of Bull Skit’s Against the Wall Theatre, said she’s thrilled with the international calibre of entertainers in this second annual Sketchfest. She believes it’s the province’s only invitational sketch comedy and improv festival — “so go Red Deer!”
Artists include improviser DK Reinemer, who’s headlined at festivals in San Francisco, Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, where he resides. Goldade met him at a Seattle comedy festival in 2014. The actor/writer at L.A.’s acclaimed The Pack comedy theatre, who also co-starred on the new Chelsea Handler show on Netflix, enjoyed performing at last year’s Sketchfest so much he’s coming back to entertain Red Deer audiences again.
This year Edmonton’s Blackout Sketch Comedy and Calgary’s Emily Ann(e)s comedy duo will also be featured — as will as Winnipeg’s Stephen & Caity.
The latter act is especially anticipated by Goldade, who noted Stephen Sim and Caity Curtis have taken their postmodern look at the classic comedy double act around the country and overseas. “They’re super well-known all over Europe.”
Sketchfest will expose Red Deer audiences to many different styles of improv and sketch comedy — from the crack timing and rapid verbal exchanges of Stephen & Caity to The Second City-style comedy of Blackout Sketch Comedy. Goldade said, “It’s really exciting to see how it’s all received by Red Deer.”
Local resident Chris Schulz, who with fellow RDC alum Christoff Lundgren performs as The Strapping Young Lads, looks forward to seeing how artists from across the country and continent approach sketch comedy and improvisation.
The Lads’ own inspirations tend towards the absurd, drawing from Monty Python and Kids in the Hall.
The duo memorably parodied the Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood TV show with a sketch called Mr. Reimer’s Neighbourhood. “It’s a spoof about (living in) Nazi Germany where the neighbourhood is a little more … war-torn,” said Schulz.
Some Sketchfest comedy is bound to be edgy – such as contributions from Red Deer’s The Dirrty Show, which took its R-rated female empowerment show Flaps of Steel around the country this summer. But Goldade said other bits will lean more towards her own Carol Burnett Show approach.
That’s the beauty of packing eight comedy groups into three different shows — she believes there will be something funny for everyone.
Each show will have different featured artists, but all of the groups will be competing for audience votes in a themed nightly comedy contest.
For tickets and more information, please visit www.bullskitcomedy.com.