By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – For comedian Paul Myrehaug, the Snowed In Comedy Tour is a homecoming of sorts. Originally from Camrose, Alberta and having spent some time in Vancouver, coming back for a few weeks from his current home base in France is like a breath of fresh air after working the European scene for awhile.
“It’s like training with weights on your legs when I come back to Canada,” he explains. “Right now I’m in Vancouver running the new Snowed In set – we write a new 25 minutes every year – and the comfort of a Canadian audience is like a warm hug from the Virgin Mary, it’s so good. I appreciate the crowds so much now.”
Canadian audiences start with an easier frame of reference from the get go: “I’m wearing a plaid shirt; I have a bit of a farm accent. They kind of get your whole package, knowing that you’re from Alberta. They know what to expect, they know your character.” In his words, European crowds are “a little more boisterous, a little more heckly.”
The tour started years ago as an excuse for Dan Quinn to do some more snowboarding with his comedian buddies, so he scheduled a comedy tour around the various ski hills he wanted to try and figured he could pay for it all by doing comedy shows at night.
“It’s a really successful comedy tour, especially in the landscape of Canada,” says Myrehaug. “Canadians aren’t used to going to see stand-up comedy in theatres. It’s not in our culture yet – we’re more [used to] comedy clubs – so it’s really rare for a comedy tour like this to catch fire.”
The snowboarding aspect of the tour has remained all these years as well, which can make finding acts a little difficult: “You need to play theatres, be a decent snowboarder, and not mind being in a truck for half of your life. It’s actually difficult to find acts that fit this tour because the sporting side is so big as well.” Despite that, they always manage to find interesting and funny acts to join them; this year, the tour includes Arj Barker and Debra DiGiovanni on different legs. If you’re lucky, you can catch them on the slopes the day of, and use the show in the evening as a little après-ski.
Catch the Snowed In Comedy Tour at various locations around BC in January, and in Vancouver at the Rio Theatre on February 9.paul myrehaug, Rio Theatre, snowed in