YYComedy began as the inspired vision of festival founder Cory Mack back in October of 2011. Calgary had been designated as Canada’s Cultural Capital for the year 2012, and the same year a great number of comedically–connected anniversaries were taking place throughout the city. These included the 100th anniversary of the Grand Theatre (which had been a great old vaudeville house), the 35th of the Loose Moose Theatre Company and their creation Theatresports, Yuk Yuk’s 25th, and the Comedy Cave’s 10th. The combination of these events loudly suggested “right place, right time”, and with the help of co-founders James Sutherland and Harry Doupe, Mack got the ball rolling.
For the inaugural year, given the context, the festival only presented performers who had a direct connection to the city, and from the second year on opened it up to include some of the best local, national, and international talents in the industry. On any given night of the festival you might catch world renowned stand-ups, the nation’s top sketch and improv troupes, live podcasts or radio show recordings, screenings of as-yet-unseen projects, or free-to-the-public industry workshops.
The goals of the festival have always remained the same – to present the highest quality shows possible at affordable prices, to include every aspect of the city’s comedy community and present opportunities for locals to share the stage with some of the top performers in the business – the end result being a heightening of Calgary’s comedic stature regionally, nationally, and internationally. With the incredible support of our volunteers, sponsors, and, of course, the local audiences, we have grown in scope and standing from the baby steps of that first year to the current celebration of our fifth, and we hope you’ll join us for what promises to be the biggest and best YYComedy Festival yet.