Arctic Comedy Festival returns to Iqaluit

“In these uncertain times of COVID impacts, it is important to continue enjoying positives”

For its third year in a row, the Canadian North Arctic Comedy Festival is returning to Iqaluit. Residents can catch some of the funniest people in the territory this Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, at either 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. Tickets are available through the festival’s website. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian North Arctic Comedy Festival)

By Dustin Patar

The Canadian North Arctic Comedy Festival is returning to Iqaluit.

Now in its third year, the festival coincides with Mental Illness Awareness Week and serves as a fundraiser for the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline.

Although the pandemic has prevented in-person shows in Yellowknife this year, Iqaluit will have two evenings of performances at the Frobisher Inn, on Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10.

“In these uncertain times of COVID impacts, it is important to continue enjoying positives,” said Sheila Levy, executive director of the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline, in a news release.

“A comedy show is a wonderful outlet for alternative views on the many great things life continues to offer.”

Among those performing on Friday and Saturday will be Peter Autut, Jade Halcyon, Mason Mantla, Bibi Bilodeau, Wade Thorhaug, Emily Blake and Nicole Etitiq. Both evenings will also include pre-recorded sets from comedians across Canada.

In order to comply with all COVID-19 restrictions, the festival will have health and safety regulations in place to keep both comics and patrons safe.

Those who purchase tickets must answer a screening questionnaire and agree to practise social distancing. Groups of either two or four are allowed but must sit together.

Audiences will also be separated into north and south event rooms, seeing the same comedians at different times.

Aside from in-person performances, the festival will also go online this year.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 7, with a live Zoom event featuring comedian Big Daddy Tazz called Comedy and Mental Health under COVID-19.

On Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m., Mary Walsh, creator and star of the CBC show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, will host a live Facebook event featuring comics from across the country. For those unable to watch live, the show will also be available for streaming through Sunday, Oct. 11.

Both online shows will be free to watch, but donations to the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline are encouraged.

The inaugural festival in 2018 raised over $6,700 for the helpline, and last year almost $8,000 was raised through ticket proceeds, a silent auction and a 50/50 ticket draw.

Those interested in attending the in-person shows in Iqaluit can purchase tickets on the festival’s website.

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