Travelling comedian to fundraise for Northwest B.C. woman battling cancer

·3 min read

Terrace is the next stop for comedian He Fangzhou on his love and laughter tour.

Fangzhou who is well known in comedy circles for being a hitchhiking, nomadic comedian travelling and performing across Canadian cities will also be fundraising for Terrace resident Maggie Samaniego who is battling cancer.

The comedian will be arriving in Terrace this week from Haida Gwaii where he performed last weekend. While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted his plans to perform on Haida Gwaii previously, he was excited to finally see it happen this year.

“I always wanted to perform in every single city in Canada, and Haida Gwaii being the most mysterious island has been at the top of my bucket list,” he said.

Fangzhou, who hails from China, started his career in comedy soon after completing his finance degree from an Ontario university. He spent his early days as a comedian in Toronto and went on to become a recognized performer.

While his early career comedy drew on a lot of ethnic stereotypes, he subsequently went on to borrow material from his travels across Canada.

“Now I’m a more universal comedian, I talk about anything and everything,” he said, and added, “I got my inspiration from traveling, especially the way I travel.”

Fangzhou is a nomad comedian who performs in a different city every single week. “I’m the only hitchhiking comedian in the world and I can probably say that I don’t have a home base,” he said about his lifestyle.

The ‘Love and Laughter Tour’ was a result of the new direction that Fangzhou wanted to take post pandemic.

“I used to just do comedy for business but during the pandemic I was watching the news and catching up with friends who lost family and saw how much it affected them, and I realized I wanted to give a new direction to my comedy and do more than just business. As a comedian I have a voice in the society and I wanted to give back to the community and support people.”

So as 2020 rolled out, Fangzhou teamed up with local charities and individual families that needed help in the cities that he visited. That seemed to work well for him after helping out a family in Jasper, Alta. And he decided, “That’s what I’ll be doing in the future – just combine the love and laughter.”

Fangzhou learned about Samaniego’s illness through people in Terrace, where the comedian has performed before. “Terrace is a relatively small community, everybody knows what’s going on in town,” he said.

When Fangzhou reached out to Samaniego’s family they were happy to let him help them with the fundraiser.

Samaniego, who is 62-years-old, was diagnosed with breast cancer last July and has been battling cancer and its complications since then. Samaniego is currently in the hospital in Vancouver. Apart from stand-up comedy, the show will also comprise of a 50/50 draw and an auction.

Fangzhou will be performing at the Legion on Aug. 20 from 8 p.m. onward. Tickets are priced at $20 and can be purchased at door.

Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Terrace Standard

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