May 24th – 26th
FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
Showtime Comedy and Entertainment
When was the last time you had a good laugh? The kind where your ribs hurt. In its third season, The Garden City Comedy Festival is the premiere spot for side splitting comedy.
Comedian and festival organizer, David Green, wanted to provide an opportunity for local artists to perform comedy. “When I first started performing stand up nine years ago, there were no places to perform in the Niagara Region and I used to travel to Hamilton three times a week to perform,” explains Green.
Green, who has been producing comedy shows in the Niagara Region for the last seven years is pleased with the growth in entertainment he has watched develop in the area. “In the last few years comedy has really boomed. There used to be only one place that had an open mic,” explains Green, who is proud of the opportunities the Garden City Comedy Festival brings to the local residents.
Six weeks prior to the festival, Green hosts a competition called Niagara’s Top Comic. “The competition is open to residents in the Niagara Region and the winners get to perform during the festival,” says Green.The festival kicks off on Thursday, May 24th at Showtime Comedy and Entertainment in downtown St. Catharines where Niagara’s Comedy All Stars will take the stage for charity. “We partnership with Pathstone Mental Health for this event. Local magician Alex Kazam is the MC, myself and Jeffrey Stroop will be taking the stage along with headliner Tony Venditti who is a long time performer in Niagara.”
“Friday night is the showtime special starring The Doo Wops: a blending of song and comedy with David Mesiano and John Catucci, the host of You Gotta Eat Here,” says Green. “Local legend, Joe Pillitteri will MC the evening.” Last year’s winner of Niagara’s Top Comic, Patrick Alexander, will perform along with Dundas, ON native, Michelle Zhitomirsky.
“This year’s Saturday Night Gala at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will spotlight Seán Cullen, Canadian favourite and triple Gemini winner,” says Green. “Seán has some specials on Comedy Central, was on Last Comic Standing and is known for his legendary impressions.” Opening up for Seán are Chris Robinson with his incredible energy, and Chantel Marostica who is one very funny lady,” says Green. “There is also a secret show right after the gala that will be held at Showtime Comedy and Entertainment.
Green is ecstatic to support local comedians getting their start in the business. “It is exciting we can put on an event like this and have a place for people to perform. Especially with sold out shows in larger venues.” says Green. “Being on stage and getting a laugh is the best part of the job.”
“It is exciting to see where the comedians go after the Niagara’s Top Comic competition. They get in the spotlight here and then they get pulled to the next level,” says Green. Past winners have transitioned from local gigs to producing their own shows and winning competitions on a larger scale. “In this year’s show, is Chris Robinson who won a first place prize of $25,000 for SiriusXM Top Comic 2016,” says Green. “Last year’s winner, Patrick Alexander, will be opening up for Comedy Central favourite, Jeremy Hotz, in the Greg Frewin Theatre.”
Along with showcasing local talent, Green is proud to bring some big names to the area. “Last year we sold out quickly with K. Trevor Wilson, one of the stars from Letterkenny,” says Green. “We are trying to bring you the best talent that is out there.”
The popularity of the festival is gaining momentum and with sold out shows last year, 2018 is guaranteed to surpass expectations. “It is a good fun night full of laughs,” says Green. “We have a plan that includes expanding the festival to four days next year. In five years, we hope to sell out the Meridian Centre with top comedians.”
Green is committed to supporting local and inspiring comedians. “Support local comedy and you will be surprised at the talent,” says Green. “The more we support them the more we can grow in our community.”
For more information and tickets visit gardencitycomedyfestival.com