Entertainment Features

Niagara's Top Comic Contest: Garden City Comedy Festival Returns!

Niagara's Top Comic Contest: Garden City Comedy Festival Returns!

By David DeRocco

The 2019 search for Niagara’s Top Comic is underway, and by the size of the field competing for the title, it appears stand-up comedy is alive and well in the region.

“The first two nights have played to packed houses,” said comedian and event organizer David Green. “Last year was busy too, but in each year it’s gotten bigger and bigger. Not only that, but the quality of comedians has improved every year as well which is exciting.”

Launched March 21 and continuing Thursday nights at Showtime Comedy and Entertainment until the April 25th finale, the fifth annual amateur comedy search has attracted a large field of 32 comics looking to gain their first taste of notoriety in comedy. Green says it’s becoming increasingly easier to connect the dots between the Garden City Comedy Festival-sponsored amateur search and the number of Niagara residents testing their comedy chops in the contest.

“I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who have wanted to get into comedy who have not really had any knowledge of where to go,” said Green. “Now with the (Garden City) Comedy Festival growing and Niagara’s Top Comic getting bigger, more people are hearing about it, they have an avenue to get into it and it’s opening the doors for a lot of new local talents.”

Last year’s winner Taylor Grant is a great example. With only a half dozen attempts at stand up under his belt, Grant entered the contest and wound up topping the field in 2018.

“Since then he’s made a film, he’s done professional shows, and we just did a sold out show with Glenn Foster in Pelham,” said Green. “So it’s opened up avenues for him to do more professional shows.”

Comedy fans looking for more polished performances need look no further than the upcoming Garden City Comedy Festival, which takes place May 1 to 4. The first three nights at Showtime include a charity show for Women’s Place of South Niagara, a Niagara Comedy All-Stars event featuring Niagara’s own Joe Pillitteri, and a special Friday night performance by hilarious headliner Jeff Leeson. The festival wraps up Saturday night with a gala event at FirstOntario Performing Art Centre, featuring Hunter Collins (Halifax Comedy Festival), Leonard Chan (Winnipeg Comedy Festival), an encore performance by Leeson and a set by headliner Deanne Smith, who’s currently touring in Australia and who recently opened for Amy Shumer.

For tickets and information, visit: http://www.gardencitycomedyfestival.com/.


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