After months, nay, years, of hard work and determination, the efforts of Fraser Valley Comedy (FVC) have finally paid off with the arrival of their inaugural FVC Festival, a 10-day comedy event set to bring laughter to the entire Valley.
It was just this past spring when FVC’s founder, Yo Trieu told The Progress he’d envisioned an epic festival when first launching the comedy organization three years ago, but “I was thinking it would take five years (to get here) in the back of my head.” Yet, two years ahead of schedule, the Fraser Valley Comedy Festival is ready to ignite laughter across the region.
“Fraser Valley Comedy got its start in Chilliwack, but the festival goes beyond what FVC does,” explained festival organizer, Harry Doupe. “It was important to branch out to all areas of the Valley and have opportunities for (local) comics.”
Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 17, and continuing through until Saturday, Oct. 27, comedy shows will be happening in settings all the way from bar venues to the largest theatres in the Valley.
In Chilliwack, the shows begin on Thursday, Oct. 18, as stand-up returns to Duke’s Pub with a $5 show headlined by Sunee Dhaliwal, who’s originally from Abbotsford, and Brittany Lyseng, a finalist in last month’s SiriusXM’s Canada’s Top Comic contest.
“We’ve got so many (good shows) … in terms of bang for your buck,” said Doupe. “Shows like this don’t normally come to Abbotsford, Chilliwack, or Mission, (so) affordability is important (and) we’re really excited to put on the highest quality entertainment (possible).”
And while both Trieu and Doupe admit the civic election may distract from their festivities, both agree the festival is exactly what’s needed at this time of year.
“Sometimes politics can get really serious,” said Trieu, “and sometimes people just need a laugh.”
“Ideally, it should be something to take their minds off what’s (happening),” added Doupe. “They’ll be wrung out by all the politicking and due for a good laugh and release.”
And in stylish fashion, the FVC Festival will be going out with a bang with its Closing Night Gala at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre’s HUB International Theatre that features an all-star cast including Debra DiGiovanni, Pete Zedlacher, Kristeen Von Hagen, and local favourite Cliff Prang.
“I’m very, very excited … (to have the) final gala in Chilliwack where Fraser Valley Comedy got its start,” said Trieu.
“To have a local guy representing Chilliwack (is great),” he continued, “and the Chilliwack Cultural Centre is a beautiful building—one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve seen in B.C. for sure.”
Also on the festival’s bill is one of the country’s hottest comics, Ivan Decker, who recently made his U.S. television debut on Conan, and became the first comic in 34 years to win a Juno Award for Best Comedy Album. And this past July, he became one of the first Canadian comics to tape his own Netflix special.
“With that lineup, on that night, there’s not a show in the country who can touch us,” said Doupe proudly.
With shows ranging from $5 -$37, the Fraser Valley Comedy Festival has a show for every person and every budget, says Doupe. Tickets can be purchased on the festival’s website at FraserValleyComedyFestival.com, or at certain venues where events are being hosted.