Calgary comedy festival nears two decades of laughs

FunnyFest Calgary named one of the top 10 signature events in the city by Travel Alberta

(from left)Glenn, Jade, Debra and Barbara, Calgary comedians who will open for a star-studded cast of headlining comedians on the first night of the festival. KRISTA SYLVESTER PHOTO

They say comedy reflects the society that creates it.

That’s why FunnyFest uses humour to capture the truths behind all the craziness in the world and encourages an optimistic perspective, said FunnyFest executive director Stu Hughes.

“Then we turn it into a celebration of comedy,” Hughes added.

“And what better way to celebrate than to bring a smorgasbord of the best comics to Calgary?”

FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival Society is celebrating its 19th anniversary with a lineup of comedic talent as diverse as the city that hosts them.

There will be more than 11,000 punchlines and non-stop laughs taking over the city from May 30 to June 9, with a handful of local venues hosting the fun.

“This year’s festival features so many laughs at a bargain.  With an average of six headline comics per show, the FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival offers more laughs per minute than any other comedy event,” Hughes said.

In fact, at $20 a ticket, it’s a penny a laugh. Or as the penny is kaput, less than a nickel a laugh.

“Part of the plan is to make the festival accessible to all Calgarians, which means we have to keep the cost of attending low.”

FunnyFest Society is a non-profit organization that began in 2001 when Hughes saw an opportunity to advocate laughter as a huge catalyst for mental and physical health and well-being.

Themed “Share the Gift of Laughter,” the FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival believes in donating to local charities, including the Salvation Army, local hospitals, volunteers and more.

“Laughter really is the best medicine and the 6th sense,” Hughes said, adding side effects from the festival may include sore cheeks, tears of laughter and an uncontrollable bladder.

“It’s 11 days of non-stop belly laughs.”

Tickets are $20 per showcase to see a minimum of six headliners per show. For more information or tickets, please visit

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