Sports can often be serious business, but on March 8, it’ll be anything but as comedian Lars Callieou returns home to headline the Central Alberta Sting’s “Sting Zing” Comedy Night.
The second annual fundraising event is geared at offsetting travel costs for both the U16 and U19 teams which are both looking to head to Charlottetown, PEI this year for the Canadian Ringette Championship Tournament – the “Stanley Cup” of ringette.
With costs pegged at $30,000 per team, they’ll need a little more than just hard work and dedication to make it, and as such have enlisted the help of a former Lacombian and a few of the country’s finest up-and-coming people with a knack for making people laugh.
“Having graduated from Lacombe, when I get a call (to do something) like this – it doesn’t happen very often – it’s always extra special,” said Callieou, who moved to Edmonton after high school to attend post-secondary.
Part of what makes performing in the community so special, he said, is the ability to personalize stories and jokes and have the crowd understand from a fight between Batman and a Teletubby outside Billy Bob’s, to one of the reasons why he ended up doing comedy.
“I think the real answer is I couldn’t play music. My parents were musicians and I always thought I was going to be a musician and I was absolutely terrible,” he said.
“I had an incredibly brief stint playing bass for Gord Bamford – and when I say brief I mean two gigs – before he figured out that I didn’t know how to play the bass.”
He jokes dream was to find a way to get free Lacombe burgers from Burger Baron – he always orders a double Lacombe with mozza when he’s in town – and figured playing with Bamford would be his ticket. It didn’t quite pan out, however, and he had to find a new direction to take his life.
Although comedy wasn’t originally something he thought would ever be a job, he had been collecting jokes and watching comedians his entire life, and in 2003 did his first amateur night.
“It was the easiest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “It felt right.”
Clearly, others thought so, too, as he’s now been in the industry for 15 years and done over 5,000 shows, including opening for Joan Rivers on her last three Canadian tours, touring with Jeff Foxworthy, Bob Saget and Martin Short. He’s entertained troops overseas three times, and has also appeared at the Just for Laughs Festival.
As well, he has a one-hour comedy specially that currently airs on The Comedy Network and is a two-time Canadian Comedy Awards nominee.
Before making his fifth appearance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia, he’ll come home for the fundraiser night, and be joined by Alex Fortin and Ryan Short, both of which have recently started to headline shows themselves.
The event, which will be held at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, is expected to last two hours. A silent auction, cash bar, hors d’oeuvres and of course the entertainment will be part of the night.
Tickets are $50 each.
More information can be found by contacting Fundraising Coordinator Bert Zunti at (78)706-0360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.