(Windsor Comedy Festival organizers, Jeanine Draper, left, surprised host Maxi Witrak with a birthday cake following headliner Ian Bagg’s performance on Dec. 27, 2018. Photo above by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.)
Executive Producer Shawn Talbot and his team of organizers of the 6th Annual Windsor Comedy Festival held this past Thursday (Dec. 27) deserve to be celebrated for putting together another fantastic, and the best show to date according to the audience. Following the show, as everyone exited the building, one audience member said this was the best festival yet, while another said they had more comedians than ever performing. Overall, audience members were smiling as they filed out of The Chrysler Theatre, some heading across the street to an after party being held at The Keg.
The evening was hosted by Seattle native, actress, writer, and stand up comic Maxi Witrak, now based in Los Angeles. She has been described as “a salty mix of Amy Schumer, Tig Notaro, and Whitney Cummings,” on her website. She kept the audience’s attention and had them chuckling along all night. After Windsor Comedy Festival concluded with headliner Ian Bagg’s big laugh performance, he called Maxi back on stage, while Jeanine Draper (one of the show organizers) brought out a birthday cake. While Maxi was surprised and smiling, Ian had the crowd sing Happy Birthday to her.
Maxi wasn’t the only one celebrating. Florida native, now based in New Jersey, Kerby Darius had the crowd laughing during The Next Best Comic competition which he went on to win. Each year a panel of five judges review videos sent in to the Windsor Comedy Festival by comedians throughout the year. The top four picks are invited to perform during Windsor Comedy Festival where the Next Best Comic Finals are held. Perhaps one of Kerby’s most memorable moments was when he made fun of his Florida high school name, Plantation. A mostly black student school, with mostly white teachers, in an American south with a well documented history of slavery and racial segregation. Kerby delivered great punchlines while using comedy to raise awareness about the irony in his high school’s name.
Also selected to compete during Next Best Comic were, from Northern Michigan, The Twindians (Vengan and Rangan), all the way from Atlanta, Brian Stoltz, and Detroit’s self proclaimed “Sex Symbol” Justin Pedick. The crowd loved everyone of them. The winner was chosen based on audience applause. Ultimately, Kerby Darius was handed the 2018 Next Best Comic Award.
In addition to the Next Best Comic, Windsor Comedy Festival, featured a great lineup of entertainment. Detroit’s soulful music veterans, N4 Structure band, were joined by incredible vocalist Denise Davis of the Motor City Sensations. The band opened the show performing a jazzy rendition of Prince’s Kiss and later had the crowd singing along as they played Stand By Me.
The talented lineup of Comics rounding out the first half of the show included 2017 Next Best Comic Award Winner Paul Montanier, 2016 Next Best Comic Winner Thomas Calnan, and Windsor born comedian Rob Mailloux, last year’s Windsor Comedy Festival host.
The second half of the show kicked off with stand up comedian, actor, and writer from Atlanta, Georgia, Yedoye Travis. He had the crowd laughing with his taboo racist comedy. His online show Dark Tank is “tackling racism one podcast at a time.”
As seen on Comedy Central’s True TV and Mean Boys TV, Connor McSpadden, had the crowd laughing. Most memorable about McSpadden were his silly facial expressions and dramatic body movements complementing his comedy. This was McSpadden’s first time in Canada and the crowd loved him.
Known as “the comedy world’s #1 crowd working comedian,” Ian Bagg returned to headline Windsor Comedy Festival. Ian headlined the festival back in 2014. True to his reputation Ian definitely worked and interacted with the crowd. He had the crowd cracking up when telling a 10 year old in the audience to cover their ears because of some of the explicit words and content coming up. In addition, his facial expressions were a definite highlight of his performance.
Judging from the reaction of the audience and top notch comedian lineup from across North America, Windsor Comedy Festival has delivered another powerful punchline filled night of comedy again this year! The festival continues to grow and get better every year.
To keep up with the latest on the Next Best Comic Competition and upcoming festival information visit https://www.nextbestcomic.com