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Squamish Nation comedian to bring comics together for filmed stand-up show

Squamish Nation comedian to bring comics together for filmed stand-up show
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Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) comedian Keith Nahanee hopes his jokes do more than tickle people’s funny bones. There’s plenty of food for thought in his material too.

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It’s a similar hope for each of the nine comedians set to star in the first all-Canadian and all-Indigenous live comedy showcase, Rez Comedy, a filmed-for-TV, live stand-up show produced and directed by Nahanee and fellow comedian Quentin Lee.

The filmed iteration is a spin off of a monthly showcase Nahanee began in January to highlight Indigenous culture and allow First Nations comics their time in the spotlight. Shooting will take place at Vancouver’s Metro Theatre June 15, with each comedian, including Nahanee, carrying out a 10-minute set.

“We’re hoping to bring Indigenous comedians into the mainstream,” said the 51-year-old comic.

“Can you think of any Indigenous comedians in Canada? It’s pretty hard. We just want to raise awareness of how funny we are.”

Whittling down the most quick-witted and comical gagsters wasn’t an easy task, with over 50 comedians from across the country interviewed for the prime slots over the course of a few months.

Those who were selected are varied with different approaches to comedy and showcasing Indigenous culture. While some may discuss life living on a reservation, others will talk about Indigenous family and relationships, said Nahanee. Some jokes are “more PC”, but others err on the brink of “edgy truth,” delving into Canada’s dark history regarding the treatment of First Nations communities, among other things.

“There are going to be some church jokes in there, someone will probably talk about Indigenous government. It’s a wide open, no restrictions place – just whatever they want to share,” he said.

This isn’t the first comedic venture to be embarked on with Hong Kong-born comedian, writer and director Quentin Lee. Nahanee starred in Lee’s Comedy Invasion last year, a stand-up comedy docuseries for BIPOC comedians, with his frank set Rez Style. The 30-minute stand-up session, which touched on Nahanee’s own family and home life, was nominated for a 2024 Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Special.

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It was on that stage he delivered material he has been refining over the past decade, having started his comedy career in 2014 performing and producing shows alongside his wife.

He’s been running Bubba’s Comedy, his own travelling comedy show under his childhood nickname “Bubba,” for seven years, alongside backyard gig Granny’s Corner Comedy during the summer season.

The funnyman said he has been so drawn to comedy because of humour’s ability to alleviate pain, and to discuss heavy truths in a way that is light and approachable.

“It’s certainly an example of Truth and Reconciliation in action. We just want to be able to work together and make people laugh,” he said.

The stand-up show will be delivered to a live audience at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. Guests can purchase tickets and find more information on the event’s website.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

MKerrLazenby@nsnews.com
twitter.com/MinaKerrLazenby

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Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News





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