Laughs for Life is rolling into Mattawa for an epic comedy show at the Mike Rodden Arena. Catch all the punchlines on May 28th, at 8 p.m. Before that big day, the comics are performing in North Bay, at OutLoud North Bay at 123 Delaware Street on Friday May 27th.
Each show costs $15 per advance ticket and $20 at the door. All profits are going to charity. For the North Bay show, funds go to OutLoud, and Mattawa profits go to the Lung Health Foundation— “two causes that are important to me,” explained event co-ordinator Derek Forgie.
Forgie is well-known to many local comedy fans and is arguably Mattawa’s most famous comedian. He grew up in Mattawa, spent much time in North Bay as well, and considers both his hometowns. For the past 20 years or so he’s been living in Toronto, but he comes North often, and sometimes he brings a few comedians with him.
Laughs for Life has a four-person lineup taking the stage. You’ll see Rebecca Reeds, Clint Couchie, Sashka DC, and of course, Derek Forgie. “I know the town pretty well,” Forgie said, “and I like to believe that I have a good knack for who’s going to land well and who’s going to resonate well” with the audience.
Clint Couchie is local—from Nipissing First Nation—so bringing his humour to Mattawa “just makes sense” and Rebecca Reed “has a thicker Mattawa accent than I do,” Forgie said, so having her along was a natural choice for his hometown crowd. Sashka DC, a comic currently based in Toronto, is also the new host of Forgie’s popular 10 Minute Talk Show.
Covid hit all artists hard, and this is particularly true for stand-up comedians, so Forgie is happy to be performing again and bringing the laughs out on the road. Much was put on ice these past years, and work stalled on his 10 Minute Talk Show, too. Everything was “perpetually postponed,” he said. But the light is breaking over the horizon, and he and Sashka DC filmed the first episode of the new season this past Monday.
See: It’s comedy night in Mattawa, with Derek Seguin bringing the laughs
Not performing allowed Forgie to focus on writing new material, and he’s also been busy on a new book about the political divisions that seem to be growing between people. He explains that with the book, he’s “skewering our divided times, and pointing out that we’re being absurd—all of us—and we need to dial down.”
As it’s a work by Forgie, the book will still be infused with comedy. He mentioned that anyone who knows him, knows “I do like taking a position on an issue, but not making it too heavy handed. I like to make it light, and fun, and accessible.”
“It doesn’t matter how serious the topic is, I like to keep it light and never accusatory,” he said. “Sometimes things get a little heavy, but there’s always a throughline of humour to it, so that’s going to be the spirit of my book.”
Work continues on that project, and in the meantime, he plans to keep making audience laugh as often as he can. He mentioned with all this time off from performing, and his focus on writing, he’s predicting “a bit of a renaissance for myself and my comedy peers.”
There’s been some “really impressive” work resulting from Covid’s forced downtime for comedians, and “I think we’re going to see a lot of cool stuff come out in the next few years.”
Luckily for North Bay and Mattawa comedy fans, the wait for some great new material comes to an end this weekend, as the Laughs for Life show rolls into town. Forgie hopes to see everyone there, and promises “if you keep coming out to these shows, we’ll keep brining them.”
Pick up your tickets for the North Bay show at OutLoud, in advance or on the day of the show. Mattawa residents, your advance tickets are waiting at the Information Centre, and can also be purchased at the Mike Rodden Arena before showtime. Get them before they’re gone, because missing out on this much talent will be no laughing matter.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca