OKOTOKS-The antics of children, as well as those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will be under fire at Okotoks’ next comedy show.
Calgary comedians Jasen Fredrickson and James Moore will storm the Rotary Performing Arts Centre stage Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. for Yuk Yuk's on Tour, sharing their thoughts and perceptions from raising children to world events.
Headliner Fredrickson brings comedy that’s relatable to his audiences – and poking fun at his childrens’ behaviour is his favourite topic.
“A big portion of my show is talking about my kids,” he said, adding they range in age from six to 17. “It’s mostly my experience living with these little humans that operate in a completely different mindset.”
For Fredrickson, it’s about engaging his audience while developing a higher sense of empathy.
“Even if your audience hasn’t necessarily experienced it themselves, the feeling you convey and the tone you’re able to apply to it makes them feel they have a bigger understanding,” he said.
Fredrickson has performed at the prestigious Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, can be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and was named Calgary’s funniest new comedian in 2002.
He entered the world of comedy 24 years ago with experience in theatre.
“It’s just something I always felt that I wanted to do,” he said. “From a really young age I just loved everything comedy. It was my favourite genre of movie. I loved watching all of the comedy shows, improv and comedy hour.”
Getting on stage wasn’t as easy as entertaining friends and family in his livingroom. Fredrickson said it was nerve-racking being in the bright lights, hearing his voice over the sound system and being comfortable with his own material.
After overcoming those challenges, Fredrickson still has to stay on his toes two decades later.
“Now it’s understanding what audience you have in front of you and who those people are, which is really being able to get a connection with that room full of people,” he said. “I’m not reciting it anymore, it’s creating a story for the people.”
Fredrickson began with six performances a week, but with a full time job, a family and plenty of experience on the stage, his comedy gets him out on the weekends at least twice a month.
“It’s necessary as an amateur comedian to get comfortable on the stage to get out as often as you can,” he said. “I still do open mics to work on new material or to work on jokes or just to get out.
“If there are issues I don’t really have a hard and fast personal position on it’s a little easier to dance around the outside of it and take shots from different angles. If you have good targets like Justin Trudeau it’s pretty easy to find a good angle for just about all of it.”
Taking on a different approach will be emcee Moore, who is known for taking shots at Trudeau, U.S. President Donald Trump and China.
“I sit down and watch the news every night and after the news I swear for 30 minutes,” he said. “Then I get out my notebook and see what was funny about what I saw.”
For Moore, it’s about finding humour in any situation.
“Even with everyday interactions for some of the most mundane things, I ask myself what was funny about that?” he said. “That’s where it all it grows from.”
Moore, a two-time regional finalist in the Great Canadian Laugh-Off with five invitation-only performances on the Just for Laughs Comedy Showcase, has 15 years experience on stage.
Comedy began for him when he lost a bet, but it wasn’t a loss for Moore.
“I always thought I was funny,” he said. “I was certainly the class clown going to school. I’ve tried to find the funny thing about whatever situation I’m in.”
Both comedians say they look forward to heading south for the Okotoks show.
“I’m certainly looking forward to coming to Okotoks,” said Moore. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about it from other comics that they’ve had a great time when they’ve gone out there.”
Fredrickson said he looks forward to performing in a community that’s reputed for having an appreciation for the fine arts.
“They have a great arts community and people are really enthusiastic,” he said. “It has a community feel that I really enjoy when I go down there.”
Tickets to see Yuk Yuk's on Tour in Okotoks cost $20 in advance at the Okotoks Art Gallery, by calling 403-938-3204 or at okotoks.ca, or $25 at the door.