Winnipeg Comedy Festival Unveils Line-up, Schedule and Theme

Winnipeg Comedy Festival Unveils Line-up, Schedule and Theme

A stellar list of comedians are getting ready to descend on our city this spring for the 16th annual Winnipeg Comedy Festival, including Will Sasso, Gavin Crawford, Howie Miller, Nikki Payne, and many more!

Festival organizers also believe that buying local is a good habit, no matter where, when or what you are buying – and that includes entertainment, too.

“Our theme this year is ‘buy local’ because we want people to come out and enjoy the Winnipeg Comedy Festival – a world-class comedy gathering that’s right here in our own front yard,” says Nick Kowalchuk, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.

‘Buy Local’ also means different things on different levels, according to Artistic Director Lara Rae: “We want to showcase fine local talent, so you’ll see local talent not only in the Indigenous-focused Winnipeg Show, but also peppered throughout the festival – including our much-loved galas.”

“We also want to celebrate that revenue from the festival stays local and benefits the Gas Station Arts Centre,” says Lara.


The most highly anticipated shows of the festival each year are the galas, which take place at the historic Pantages Playhouse Theatre. The galas are recorded live-to-tape for later broadcast on CBC Television, and the themes, hosts and performers are as follows:

Nikki Payne

Gavin Crawford

Thursday April 6 @ 7:15pm
Lady Like
Unrealistic expectations, double-standards and mansplaining begone! Comedians define femininity on their own terms, with a male comic or two thrown into the fray. Host: Nikki Payne / Performers: Erica Sigurdson, Robby Hoffman, Nile Seguin, Fatima Dhowre, Nathan Macintosh, Cara Connors

Friday April 7 @ 7:15pm
Virgin Territory
First child, first communion, first heart attack? Comics present material on virgin experiences. Host: Gavin Crawford / Performers: Dave Hemstad, Ashley Moffatt, Ivan Decker, Martha Chaves, Big Daddy Tazz, Derek Seguin, Adrienne Fish

Friday April 7 @ 9:15pm
Good Neighbours
Comics share stories about spying on neighbours in various ways: nations, cities, the house next door, the apartment adjacent, roommates… Host: TBC / Performers: Deb Kimmett, Mark Heath, Rob Bebenek, Tim Nutt, Shazia Mirza, Sean Emeny, Cara Connors

Will Sasso

Saturday April 8 @ 6:45pm
I Heart Love
Love… exciting and new… and sometimes so painful all you can do is laugh. Host: Will Sasso / Performers: Patrick Haye, Amanda Brooke Perrin, Joe Vu, Jen Grant, Jacob Samuel, Jackie Kashian

Howie Miller

Saturday April 8 @ 9:15pm
Hot Mess
Comedians lay out their insecurities, bad habits, shortcomings and personal failings. Laugh with us, not at us… actually, just laugh. Host: Howie Miller / Performers: Jeff McEnery, Kathleen McGee, Matt Wright, Rebecca Reeds, Julie Kim, Glen Foster


The full schedule of shows for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival is available at Here is just a sampling of what’s in store…

Wednesday April 5 @ 6:00pm
Guests can enjoy a delicious meal at the famed Fusion Grill Bistro, peppered with a four-star comedy show, and we’re pretty sure there will be some awkward eating moments, too. Bon appetite! Host: Ashley Burdett / Performers: Rob Pue, Dave Hemstad

Wednesday April 5 @ 9:00pm
Muslim Interrupted
A hilarious one man show at the West End Cultural Centre featuring CBC Radio’s lol host Ali Hassan, and an opening set by Robby Hoffman.

Thursday April 6 @ 7:00pm
CBC Radio’s Because News
CBC Radio’s Because News is Canada’s funniest news quiz. (Okay, it’s also Canada’s only news quiz.) Each week, host Gavin Crawford makes games out of the headlines with a panel of comedians.

Thursday April 6 @ 10:00pm
The Winnipeg Show
Winnipeg is known for its music scene, dance scene, art scene, and winter scene. But Winnipeg just might be the funniest city in Canada, too. Here we focus all the attention on these hometown heroes of hilarity, with former Tonight Show comic Bruce Clark returning home to the Peg to host the ever popular Winnipeg Show at the West End Cultural Centre! BUY LOCAL! Performers: Chad Anderson, Carole Cunningham, Tim Gray, Any Noble, Paul Rabliauskas, Florence Spence, Dan Verville, Ben Walker

Friday April 7 @ 7:00pm
Come Draw With Me
Join host Alicia Tobin and special guests on Friday at the West End Cultural Centre for an evening of drawing, laughing, sharing, and marker-sniffing. Part comedy show, part art class… well, probably not art class… but art supplies are provided, and no talent required. Performers: Amanda Brooke Perrin, Jen Grant, Jacob Samuel

Friday April 7 @ 8:00pm
Coast to Coast Comedy: 150 Years of Funny
Canada is turning 150 years old this year, and this show at Club Regent Casino & Event Centre features some of Canada’s finest comics reflecting on what that means exactly, and why that might be funny, too. Host: Jeff McEnery / Performers: Matt Wright, Kathleen McGee, Big Daddy Tazz, Patrick Haye, Jen Grant, Nathan MacIntosh

Friday April 7 @ 10:00pm
Tales From Late Night
Just like Conan, Jimmy, and Letterman… Clark presents a comedy variety late night talk show at the West End Cultural Centre with a live band, and plenty of unexpected surprises. Host: Bruce Clark / Performers: Lara Rae, Ivan Decker / Band: Lloyd Peterson

Saturday April 8 @ 2:00pm & Sunday April 8 @ 2:00pm
CBC’s The Debaters
On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Club Regent Casino & Event Centre is taken over by The Debaters. This extremely funny comedy show is hosted by Steve Patterson, and features comics going head-to-head in debating ridiculous topics. Recorded live-to-tape for later broadcast on CBC Radio.

Saturday April 8 @ 6:00pm
Dinner & A Movie
The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre’s popular Saturday night dinner-and-a-movie is back! Featuring a fantastic dinner, the classic movie Caddyshack, yummy popcorn, and your special comedy guest host for the evening, Howie Miller.

Saturday April 8 @ 9:30pm
Feminist Gong Show
New this year, this comedy game show at the West End Cultural Centre pits male comedians against a panel of feminist judges. Dodge the gong and winner takes all! Host: Erica Sigurdson / Performers: Bruce Clark, Ivan Decker, Derek Seguin / Panel: Carole Cunningham, Robby Hoffman, Ashley Moffatt

Sunday April 8 @ 7:00pm
WCF Presents: Best of the Fest / The Mic Awards
We’ve saved the best for last. Join us at Club Regent Casino & Event Centre as we celebrate the finest talent from our 16th year and honour the first-rate comics and volunteers with our very own Mic Awards – including the winner of the CBC Patron’s Pick Award, chosen by you! Don’t forget to vote!! Host: Jackie Kashian / Performers: Glen Foster, Jeff McEnery, Shazia Mirza, Nikki Payne, Rob Pue, Matt Wright

The 16th annual Winnipeg Comedy Festival takes place April 3-9, 2017, at various venues around Winnipeg. Tickets are on-sale now, with all the ticket information online at

The Winnipeg Comedy Festival is produced by the Gas Station Arts Centre (GSAC), an innovative home for multidisciplinary artistic development. GSAC supports and facilitates innovation and creativity in the arts, guided by the vision of artists from all mediums and at all stages of their career, with a special focus on being an artist’s “first stage.” GSAC continues to raise the profile of Winnipeg by being a hub of urban arts activity in Osborne Village, the city’s most densely populated neighbourhood. Find out more at

The 2017 Winnipeg Comedy Festival is presented by Club Regent Casino Event Centre, and sponsored by the Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba, Winnipeg Arts Council, Frantic Films, CBC Manitoba, Metro News, The Fairmont Winnipeg, Guppy Design, Visual Lizard, The Met, Winnipeg Airports Authority, WestJet, Enterprise, Half Pints, Out N About Travel, ACI and Save On Foods.