Airdronians looking for a laugh this Friday night should look no further than Fitzsimmons Brewing Company, which will be hosting a stand-up comedy performance featuring Sterling Scott as the headliner.
The show is a part of the inaugural Craft Island Comedy Festival, which runs from Sept. 15 to 19 in Calgary and other southern Alberta communities. According to comedian Juan Forno, the president of the festival, the performances will all be held at micro-breweries in Calgary, with special shows set for Airdrie, Okotoks, Cochrane, Fort MacLeod and Brooks.
He said idea to host comedy shows at Alberta's micro-breweries emerged during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, after he had started a YouTube series called Cerveza City, in which he interviewed and featured some of Alberta's brewers.
“Once comedy was allowed after making all these connections, [brewers] started wanting to run comedy shows at their venues,” Forno explained. “One thing led to another, and we decided to throw together a massive festival to celebrate being allowed to do comedy, which has been hit and miss lately.”
According to Forno, comedians – like most live entertainers – have had to adapt in order to continue practising their craft throughout the pandemic. Many comics took to online platforms, such as YouTube, TikTok and podcasting, to continue growing their audience and making a living. Others performed online shows via Zoom.
“Everyone had their own way of doing it, but everyone stayed fairly active in their own way,” Forno said.
Headlining the Fitzsimmons show on Sept. 17 will be Sterling Scott, a Canadian comedy veteran who has performed regularly at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, and was a finalist in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition and the Seattle International Comedy Competition. He has also worked as a writer and actor on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
Forno predicts Scott will bring a high-energy set to Airdrie.
“He's not afraid to touch on touchy subjects, but he does it incredibly well,” he said.
Sterling, who lives in Edmonton, said he’s excited to do a set in Airdrie, adding he has performed in the city multiple times before while touring the province and performing stand-up comedy.
Given the on-again, off-again restrictions that have impacted his ability to perform in the last 19 months, Scott said he’s eager to crack some jokes on Sept. 17.
“When I hit that stage, I intend to bring that excitement into the power of my jokes so that people, regardless of what restrictions will be in the future, will be able to remember it,” he said.
While he’s been able to do stand-up in Alberta since restrictions were lifted in June, Scott said initial conditions were still not ideal. For instance, he recalled performing in a 500-person venue to an audience of just 30 people, who had to be 20 feet away from the stage, and there was a 30-minute gap between sets to sanitize the performance area in between comedians.
But still, he said it beat the world of performing strictly online – something he said he and other comics frustratingly had to endure throughout the pandemic.
“[Performing on Zoom] removes the entire essence of what it is to be at a comedy show, which is being in close contact with someone, sharing that same air, space, feel and vibe,” he said. “That was lost in that digital era. However, we didn't have a choice.”
Scott said his comedy is relatable for everyone, as his jokes cover the human experience. He added he touches on everything from current events, to social media, to relationships and everything in between.
“Regardless of whatever religion, race, colour or creed you follow, my jokes are about life,” he said. “If you're alive, these jokes will apply to you.
The Airdrie show is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Fitzsimmons Brewing is located at 220 East Lake Boulevard NE.
For tickets, visit craftislandentertainment.com/events