While he once roamed the halls at Bert Church High School, Juan Forno now headlines comedy shows, and his next performance is coming up right here in Airdrie.
On Nov. 26, Juan Forno will perform a stand-up set at Fitzsimmons Brewing Company in east Airdrie. The show comes only two months after Forno’s inaugural Craft Island Comedy Festival hit the same venue with headline act Sterling Scott.
“It went incredibly well,” Forno said of the Craft Island Comedy Festival, which saw stand-up comedy performed in craft breweries across southern Alberta.
Forno, who has been doing stand-up comedy for the past four years, said his journey in the industry has been a rollercoaster ride.
“I started out like any new comedian – a ton of arrogance thinking I was the funniest [person] ever,” he said. “When you start in stand-up comedy, nobody is [as good as they think they are].”
With the COVID-19 pandemic arriving while Forno was doing his best to continue to get on stage regularly, he said it forced him to self-reflect, learn, and grow as a person and as a comedian. As a result, he said the pandemic led him to starting up his own podcast on YouTube.
The podcast, which focuses on interviewing Alberta brewers, tasting beer, and showcasing Forno’s style of comedy, gave him an outlet to continue being creative and funny while the world was locked down.
“[The podcast] led to all of these brewery shows, which has helped me grow a lot over the last year,” he said. “It’s helped me pave the way to headliner status here in Canada.”
In addition, he has an upcoming comedy album that has found a home on the Just For Laughs channel on Sirius XM satellite radio. While the date of release isn’t confirmed, it’s a huge step for Forno’s comedy career.
In terms of the style of comedy attendees can expect at Forno’s show, the Bert Church High School alumnus said he enjoys getting the crowd involved as much as possible.
“I try to be as diverse as possible,” he said. “I really like doing crowd work, so making fun of people has always been a passion of mine, but doing it in a light and fun way where nobody gets offended.
“I talk about my family a lot, and just everyday situations for somebody in their late 20s living in the world we do these days.”
While it was initially a bummer that he couldn’t perform live shows during the pandemic, Forno said things really started to click by having so much more time on his hands. He added he learned to appreciate more the things the pandemic took away from regular life.
“It has been a rollercoaster, and every time we got shut down, it felt like starting over,” he said.
Though performing in the city he grew up in is a homecoming, the Nov. 26 show also represents a going away party of sorts for Forno, as he said he plans to take his comedy to the American market by moving to Seattle in December.
“We added this show as a kind of one last-round tour before I leave,” he said.
While there have been a lot of unknowns in the last year and a half, Forno has a bright future ahead with his big move slated in the next few weeks. He’s hoping he can get a good crowd out at Fitzsimmons Brewing Company to see his act before he heads to the U.S.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, and the show is set to start at 8 p.m. Tickets to Forno’s show can be purchased by visiting craftislandentertainment.com, or purchased at the door.