By Colin Gallant
CALGARY – This year’s comedy lineup at Sled Island includes eight comedians spread across two shows. The first, taking place at the NMC’s Studio Bell, Performance Hall, is headlined by Aparna Nancherla. The New York-based comedian comes with her fair share of co-signs: she recently appeared on Netflix’s Master of None (playing an anonymous ramen critic who is obsessed with the videogame Overwatch), released her debut album via Tig Notaro’s label Bentzen Ball, wrote a sobering essay for The Village Voice on the duty of comedians to not normalize tyranny under a bigoted president, and has performed on pretty much every late night show and comedy festival lineup you can name.
The other show, happening at Nite Owl, features a homegrown headliner. Levi MacDougall got his start at Calgary’s own Loose Moose Theatre before making his way into the major Canadian comedy market. His nebbish persona played a fantastic foil for the over-the-top absurdity of the titular character of the Jon Dore Show. Next came a move to Los Angeles, where MacDougall was a member of the infamous Upright Citizen’s Brigade. His biggest breaks came in the form of writing gigs for Important Things with Demetri Martin and, later, the Conan show.
Other out-of-town includes Tranna Wintour (Montreal’s camp-femme sensation), Brent Weinbach (who writes for The Eric Andre Show), Marty Topps (who is best understood by watching his hilariously uncomfortable “Teen Dream” video) and Nour Hadidi (who hosts Toronto’s only clean comedy show and credits his bio to T.S. Eliot).
Developing Albertan talent remains a focus of the festival with Calgarian up-and-comer Bobby Warrener (who likes to tweet about rap music) performing at both shows, and Edmonton’s Carina Morton (who runs the Empress Comedy Night) playing host for both engagements.
Aside from Nancherla and MacDougall, most performers will be featured on both shows. Whether you like your comedy in a stately modern venue or a perfectly dank basement, the path to funny is yours to choose.
Sled Island comedy shows take place on June 23 at Studio Bell, Performance Hall and June 24 in the Nite Owl Library.Nite Owl, Sled Island, Sled Island 2017, Studio Bell