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The chillest comics out there

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to Whistler for its eighth season



Paul Myrehaug and the rest of the Snowed In Comedy Tour standups — Craig Campbell, Pete Zedlacher and organizer Dan Quinn — have their Whistler rituals.

"The first night we're there we go to Hy's Steakhouse and the Scandinave Spa," he says.

"We have these traditions for five weeks of the tour and I don't want it to end. I'm only three days into it and I'm already stressing about the end of it. There is too much fun around every corner."

This year, Snowed In is holding court for three nights at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) and spending one extra night hanging out. The tour started off eight years ago by taking the comics to all the hot ski hills in Western Canada — Whistler was in from the beginning.

Every day while not on stage is spent up a mountain on snowboards or skis. Myrehaug is pretty giddy about the dump of snow Whistler has been enjoying this winter.

Talking to him the morning after a sold-out show in Smithers that included a standing ovation, it is clear he truly pumped to be returning. This is the U.K.-based Canadian comic's third time on the tour.

"It's not that often that as an adult you get that excited-before-Christmas feeling, but the day before the tour starts I can't sleep!" Myrehaug says.

"And the snowboarding and the people up here are just fantastic. The town comes together, selling tickets at their stores. And they take us out acting as guides on the hills. Just wonderful."

With Whistler, he observes that there is always so much to do — in Smithers, the comics become the talk of the town and provide a public service for those looking for something to brighten dark January nights.

"Everybody goes. They're short on babysitters because everyone wants the night off to come," he says.

"But the theatre we normally used didn't have a liquor license. We picked another venue, with one, and countless people came up to us and thanked us!"

Myrehaug, a Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and The Debaters veteran, agrees the tour is a unique experience for all involved.

"We talk about that a lot. Day-to-day life as a standup normally is nothing like this and in the last four years I've worked the international circuit in 36 countries." he says.

"The camaraderie is tremendous. Usually you are working with different people every night, so spending all this time with the same four guys is (special). That's the closeness you feel afterwards. We're driving 6,000 km together."

They get to share the laughs with near accidents, bouts of flu and long days and nights."I've never been in a rock band but I think it must be like this. In comedy, you don't have to deal with it very much, it's a lone-wolf deal," Myrehaug says.

He doesn't want to call the opportunity to snowboard in a different place most days a "perk," but it's definitely a benefit — with heliskiing opportunities and swag from new friends in ski resorts also thrown in.

But the four do what is required of them.

"We have new material every year," he says. "And this is Pete Zedlacher's first time. He's constantly in the running for Canada's top male comic and he's been nominated five times and won it twice. He comes from a New York acting school background and I've never seen a comic paint a better picture. I stand back and look at it in amazement."

When it comes to Myrehaug's act, Mexican Wifi password spellings and releasing aggression about the irritations of destination weddings are favourite current topics.

"I had to go to two last year and they are so expensive, and it's fun to shout about it at the audience. I find couples who have had destination weddings and give them a hard time about it," he laughs.

It's the eighth year of Snowed In, and what is new for this year is that the comics will be heading out to where cross-country skiing makes more sense than snowboarding — flat, fertile Saskatchewan. It's their first trip past the comforting foothill prairies of Alberta.

"We joke that when we get to Swift Current we're going to go heli-cross-country skiing. We'll get a helicopter to drop us off in the middle of nowhere and we'll try to find out way back," Myrehaug laughs.

The Snowed in Comedy comes to the GLC from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 at 8:30 p.m. It is almost sold out at time of writing, but check for tickets at the GLC or at www.snowedincomedytour.com.