COMEDY COMING TO THE ARCTIC
First Air Arctic Comedy Festival Takes Flight
First Air has partnered with the Crackup Comedy team to launch an Arctic Comedy Festival to support mental health, October 11-14. Proceeds and donations will go to the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line. With a powerhouse of star talent committed to the event, the Festival will also open doors for local Nunavut comics to break into the Canadian comedy scene while raising awareness for local mental health support services. First Air and the Crack Up Comedy organizers hope to eventually expand the festival to more communities in the arctic.
“Laughter cheers our spirit, relieves stress and strengthens relationships, so it makes sense to have a comedy festival that supports mental health and youth in crisis,” said Dan Valin of First Air. “The Kamatsiaqtut Help Line is a life-saving and life-supporting organization, and we’re proud and privileged to support their vital efforts. We hope this festival continues to raise awareness of the tools available to youth and our communities.”
Mary Walsh as host will set the stage on fire the minute the festival opens with her fierce brand of satirical humor. The Canadian comedic icon is best known as creator and star of This Hour has 22 Minutes, Codco, Matching Hatching and Dispatching and much more. Some of her best loved moments as “Marg, Princess Warrior” have made national headlines, and she recently published her debut novel Crying for the Moon.
Howie Miller, one of Canada’s few First Nation professional comedians, will also appear alongside his son, Tyson Houseman from the Twilight Movie Series, along with many other comics. Howie has performed at all the major Canadian comedy festivals including the prestigious “Montreal Just for Laughs Festival” and was recently featured on American television in the Showtime special “No Reservations Needed”.
The festival will bring many experienced comics together with Nunavut locals to help open windows and doors into the Canadian comedy scene. Indigenous comics will be able to perform side-by-side with stars like Walsh, Miller and Houseman and take part in writing and performing workshops. All comics are aware of the importance of promoting positive mental health, many of them experiencing mental health issues themselves or within their families, and they are keen to support the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line.
Since the Kamatsiaqtut Help Line began taking calls in January of 1990, it has been committed to ‘Helping People Help Themselves’. Kamatsiaqtut means ‘thoughtful people who care’. “The Help Line would not exist if not for the caring support of so many volunteers and organizations,” said Sheila Levy from the Help Line. “First Air has been one of our major sponsors for quite a while and we’re so grateful to have them step up and sponsor yet another wonderful initiative to support Kamatsiaqtut Help Line. Other generous supporters include NCC, Arctic COOP, The Frobisher Inn, C&K, Royal Canadian Legion. We hope to see more sponsors get on board with this endeavor. The support and interest is incredible!”
Iqaluit promises to be one funny place in mid-October! The festival will feature an Indigenous Comedy Show, a variety of Themed Shows, a stop in Pangnirtung, visits to elementary and high schools if time permits and will finish with a big laugh at the Festival Gala Finale at the Frobisher Inn. Get your tickets at https://www.ArcticComedyFestival.ca