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Stand-up comics raise money for Nechako North Stars

Comedy show held Aug. 21
Comedians Alex Mackenzie (left) and Simon King (right) with Piers Egan at the stand-up comedy show on Aug. 21 in Vanderhoof. (Alex Mackenzie/Facebook)

A stand-up comedy show was held as a fundraiser in Vanderhoof for the Nechako North Stars Senior AA team on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Comedians Alex Mackenzie and Simon King successfully entertained the crowd at Scott’s Grille & Pizzeria, after which they stayed on for conversations with the elated audience.

Organizer Michael Simoes said the fundraiser was a huge success for the new team. “I want to thank Dean Scott for hosting, and Simon and Alex for coming North. I also want to thank the town for supporting the team and we look forward to seeing everyone out at the games,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Express reached out to Mackenzie and King after the show for some more insight into how they became comics, their work and future shows.

For Mackenzie, he started a podcast with his friend Mike and they ended up interviewing a comedian from New York. On the show, he expressed his love for comedy and how he always wanted to try it, but as he lived in Prince George he wasn’t sure whether there was anywhere to do it.

“Someone from PG heard the podcast and emailed into the show saying there was an open mic every second Thursday at a local pub and offered me a five minute spot. I figured that I had to do it since I had always talked about wanting to try it. I did it and fell in love with the craft and have been doing it ever since,” he said in an email response Aug. 23.

Currently Mackenzie lives in an RV based out of Vancouver with his dog Finely, as two-and-a-half years ago he quit his job as an instrumentation mechanic at PG Pulp, sold his house and began touring doing comedy.

“There are so many things I love about being a comedian. It gives me an outlet for all of my opinions and thoughts. I think that everyone should do comedy. If I didn’t have comedy I would probably be one of the people on the internet posting every issue they have online. Comedy allows me to take a step back from anything that’s bothering me and go well what is funny about this situation. I then try and find humour in it and when I do that it seems to take the negative energy away from it and allows me to look at my problems or issues in life through a new lens.”

As for King, he has been a comedian for 22 years and grew up in a show-business family.

“My parents met and started a band in the sixties in England and my mother has been an actor and singer all her life. So when I was 7-years-old I ended up in a stage show she was directing at the time and I quickly realized performing was gonna be way better for me than getting a real job.”

READ MORE: Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

“I ended up as an actor for many years and I eventually transitioned to comedy because I hated learning lines. Over three and a half decades after that first shows and I’ve managed to avoid real work almost the whole time,” King said.

For both Mackenzie and King, the pandemic was extremely challenging because of the lack of live audiences

Mackenzie said his main source of income is from selling tickets to shows on the road, so with restrictions on gatherings he immediately lost his revenue stream. However, Tik Tok came at the right time, he said, adding he could use the internet as a litmus test for what jokes were good and what weren’t.

“That is the hard thing about comedy you really don’t know if something is funny until you try it in front of a live audience.”

King had a few good tours booked for 2020, but due to the pandemic they were cancelled. Economically it was tough all over, and his favourite venues to play just didn’t survive.

“Artistically it was exceptionally challenging because I am used to, or at least was used to, performing over three hundred shows in a year with local gigs and road work combined. As a comedian who writes on stage it was a complete change to everything I knew.”

However, he said he embraced the break, and is now back energized and more excited to be a comedian than he has been in a long time.

When asked how we would best describe his humour, King said, “I’m a mostly external comedian. I talk about the world in relation to myself as opposed to myself in relation to the world. I’m trying to change that a bit and explore more personal themes with my newer material, just to change things up but the core of what I do is observation and commentary on the madness of what and who we are and what we have created.”

“I’m also an absurdist by nature. I love weird noises and characters and most of all I love just letting my mind run and my mouth catch up. I’m also optimistic (despite my ranting) because I think if I was truly apathetic or pessimistic I’d have given up yelling by now and just be sitting on a park bench feeding pigeons and mumbling about the government.”

Both Mackenzie and King will continue touring and have a show coming up together in Saskatoon on Sept. 11. After which they will be working their way back through Alberta and the Kootenays before getting back to Vancouver.

King also has shows in the Lower Mainland, Chilliwack at the Tractor Grease Cafe on Aug. 27 and The Kino on Aug. 28.

Nechako North Stars are looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can email

Nechako North Stars tentative schedule is as follows - October 16 in Fort St. James, November 13 and 14 in Vanderhoof, Novmeber 20 in Vanderhoof, November 27 in Fort St. James, December 4 in Fort St. James, Dec. 11 in Vanderhoof and January 15 in Fort St. James.

Aman Parhar
Editor - Vanderhoof Omineca Express, Caledonia Courier

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