Mike Tan

New festival showcases Calgary’s local comedians

By Rachel Woodward, March 29 2015 —

Fresh Notes, Calgary’s first-annual festival of musical comedy, will make its debut on March 26 with a number of local and international improv troupes.

Produced by Calgary- and Toronto-based improv group Notorious, the festival aims to showcase the diverse comedic styles practiced by Calgary comedians.

Notorious member and festival producer Mat Mailandt is thrilled the festival is premiering in Calgary.

“Sometimes there’s a thought that you need to go elsewhere to get great comedy, but the comedy scene in Calgary is blossoming like never before,” Mailandt says. “There are a lot of great troupes both nationally as well as internationally, but for the first year, it’s really nice to celebrate the great musical comedy that we have in our own backyard.”

Opening at Vern’s Tavern, performances also take place at Café Koi and Yuk Yuk’s with improv-comedy groups such as the Kinkonauts, Loose Moose, Elevated Element, Notorious and Rapid Fire Theatre.

Stand up, sketch and improv performances will be woven together in all shows to create a unique approach to traditional comedy shows.

Musical comedy will be used to maximize the collaborative aspect of the shows, since it takes the pressure off a single comedian to deliver a performance.

For Mailandt, it’s important that the festival offers different genres of comedy to familiarize audiences with the city’s growing scene. Through this, he hopes to expand how people think of, and define improv and comedy.

“I don’t know too many other festivals in Canada that offer it in the same way, certainly nothing in Alberta,” Mailandt says. “Not just on the musical improv side of it, but sketch and musical stand up. [We’re] trying to bring it all together on a bunch of different platforms.”

The festival runs from March 26–29 and tickets are $10.

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