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Yes, Scrooge was right...

First of three Whistler Town Party variety shows debuts next Thursday



Michele Bush loves to entertain.

A performing artist with a comedic streak, Whistler's "funny lady" has been stirring up local laughs for the last 20 years. Bush has a flair for costume humor; her playful personality and seemingly endless tickle trunk can transform a sleepy room full of people into a bustling party.

Her ability to connect with people of all ages through laughter is what has cemented her as Whistler's go-to comedy performer.

She has dozens of humorous characters in her repertoire; Reverend D. Parten is great at reviewing marriage vows and the Overacting Clinic will give you a crash course in how-to soap opera acting.

For the last 12 years she has taken the job of "festive patrol" at the Bizarre Bazaar. This year she was dressed as a Christmas tree with dangling mistletoe above her head, acting as the Bazaar's town crier and making sure shoppers were feeling "festive."

The idea for the Whistler Town Party variety show came from her work on the popular Chairlift Review, featured every year at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. The short skit formula has proven to be immensely popular with locals in the past.

"Whistler Town Party came about when the folks at [Whistler Arts Council] asked me what I thought worked best for attendance in Whistler," said Bush.

"I told them it needs to be local, funny, short and cheap."

While there is a year round demand for entertainment in Whistler, Bush has only ever been able to work her entertainment gigs in the winter. Summers don't lend themselves to people wanting to sit in indoor theatres, and there is always plethora of big acts coming to town.

The first of three Whistler Town Party shows scheduled throughout the winter will be running with the holiday theme and is titled Scrooge Was Right.

Other skits will feature the troupe's own version of some "mangled" Christmas carols. The cast will include, according to Bush, the "usual suspects," locals Andrew Nolan, Heather Paul, Don Stevenson, Monique Davidson, Cheryl Massey and Chris Quinlan. GD Maxwell will be playing Scrooge in the Christmas Carol segment.

All the Whistler Town Party shows will be in a Saturday Night Live style format with skits, dances and music; all comedy themed and all written and performed by locals.

"A lot of people have a hard time committing to a whole show and all the months and months of rehearsals involved," said Bush

"Short skits work really well because the groups can get together and rehearse on their own. That way we don't have to corral 10 people in the same room all at once, which in this town is almost impossible," she said.

One of the most anticipated skits at the upcoming Scrooge Was Right show is Are you Smarter than a Village Host Game Show, where the troupe will act out the weird and wonderful questions asked of Village Hosts throughout the winter. Bush works as a program assistant to the Village Host Program during the winter.

Heather Paul will be hosting the news segment, much like Tina Fey's "Weekend Update" on SNL. There will be also various other commentaries with guests hosts, including Whistler's fashionista Margie Martini ranting about local fashion.

While the writers of the show aren't planning on being too politically incorrect, it's definitely not a family event.

"The show is for adults for sure, we've got some saucy language in there," said Bush.

"We are trying to ban the words 'parking' and 'asphalt' for the duration of the show, but we're not make any guarantees."

The second show of the Whistler Town Party is scheduled for the first week of February and will be a Valentine themed show. It will run the premise of "by the time Cupid got to Whistler he was drunk."

"We're getting some great ideas together for that one," said Bush.

No theme has been confirmed yet for the third show, scheduled for the first week in April.

Tickets for the show are $20 (beverage included) and can be pre-purchased at Millennium Place or at the door.