Red Deer’s Niek Theelen received some exciting news recently. He found out that he was selected out of many other Canadians to participate in CBC’s Next Up Comedy contest for a chance to perform at this year’s Halifax Comedy Festival.
“They’ve really selected a good cross section of all of Canada,” he said about the selection of those chosen for the contest.
The show is designed for stand up comedians and the idea is to appeal to people who are new to comedy and who haven’t had as much exposure.
“Seeing some of the people who have been accepted into the contest I think a fair amount of us are stand up comedians, but there are also some people who do skits or sketch comedy,” said Theelen.
Of the finalists selected so far, five are from Alberta, Theelen, of course, being one of them.
“It’s already pretty special to be on this list.”
The contest has involved a video submission, public vote and a series of challenges.
“Part of the judging is these challenges and the first one we had was to write a joke about our commute, so either to work or to a show or travelling experiences in some way you’ve had,” said Theelen.
Another challenge was to make a video talking about the city, province or Canada and make jokes based on that.
Theelen really came into his gift of comedy during his university studies in Lethbridge.
“I have a lot of fun doing comedy and I’ve had a chance to meet a lot of cool people and I don’t think I’m stopping anytime soon,” he said.
The biggest thing for him about comedy is the sense of community, especially in Red Deer.
“The real goal for it is to have fun and for me it’s a way for me to meet people that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to meet and have a reason to go places where I might not necessarily have gone before.”
Voting for Next Up Comedy is open until March 15th, with judging taking place from March 16th until March 29th.
The winner will be revealed March 29th.
For more info on voting visit https://www.cbc.ca/nextup.
Meanwhile, Theelen’s next show is March 22nd at the Penhold Multiplex (admission by donation). The show starts at 8 p.m.