Four comedians sit in a crowded car heading south from Prince George in driving snow, trying to decide if they are hillbillies....
Yes, the stand-up talents of this year's Snowed In Comedy Tour are on their way to Whistler.
"We just wrapped up week one, so we're not quite at the hillbilly stage yet," insists five-time Canadian Comedian of the Year nominee Pete Zedlacher.
"It's going great. We kicked off in the north with two sold-out shows in Prince George, and in Terrace, Prince Rupert, Quesnel... stellar shows.
"But we've got snow today. When we drove up it felt like we were going through three climates, it was plus three degrees in Vancouver and by the time we got to Prince Rupert we went from -36 degrees, to -12 degrees, to -25 degrees. We've seen everything up here."
The Snowed In Comedy Tour comes to the GLC for three shows from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m. It is almost sold out at the time of writing, but check for tickets at the GLC or at www.snowedincomedytour.com.
"There will be five of us for those shows," Zedlacher says.
Along with Zedlacher at the Whistler show will be Just for Laughs winner Dan Quinn, British-based Canuck wild man Craig Campbell, with Aussie superstar Arj Barker and Great Canadian Laugh Off winner Paul Myrehaug joining them.
All five are returnees to Whistler for the tour's ninth season.
But Campbell was not in the hillbilly car for the northern B.C. kickoff. He was recovering at home in England from an accident at the start of the year. Instead, Snowed In veteran Damonde Tschritter stood in for Campbell for those shows.
Laughter is one big reason why Quinn created the tour nine years ago; another is going on a road trip from resort to resort, creating space for a day or two on the slopes.
"Whistler is my happy place. I can't wait. I got some new gear for this year and I've tested it out and it passed. Plus no frostbite, we're doing good," says Zedlacher.
"I'm the skier, the other guys are snowboarders. I'm the holdout; I'll learn it one of these days. The best place so far is Shames Mountain (in Terrace) — I hadn't skied that before.
"The windchill is definitely there, but I look forward to this for a year and as soon as I'm on the mountain I am grinning from ear to ear, thrilled to be there."
Zedlacher has discovered that half of their audiences tend to be longtime fans of the tour.
"They come back year after year after year," he says.
"It's very important to us that we have a new show each time we come through town. We're not repeating any jokes; it will be a brand new show. In the first few shows of the tour we end up wondering how jokes will fly with the audiences. They will be well polished and very shiny by the time we get to Whistler.
"Some of them have been to see us three, four, eight times in a row. They seem to know us, too. They are kind of rooting for us, too."
The collaborative environment of spending time in close quarters with three other creative guys is important to Zedlacher.
"We watch each other's show and say, 'What about this line or why don't you try this?' By the end of the first few shows, we've got a great thing. We got a standing ovation in Prince George already," he says.
"We work on material through the year and bring our best stuff."
Asked if he can talk about what gets them going in terms of material, Zedlacher sighs.
"Of course, what's on everybody's mind is what is going on down south — the insanity," he says, meaning Donald Trump's pending presidency.
"Dan recently got engaged, so he's talking about that. Craig recently had a baby, so he'll talk about that."
The tour has slowly been expanding until an Alberta and Saskatchewan leg was added. Zedlacher says they may go as far east as Ontario next year.
"The tour is a labour of love and a highlight of the year," he says.
April 21, 2017, 11:30 AM
Agreement to be presented to council on Tues., April 25 More...
April 21, 2017, 9:00 AM
Three candidates talk transportation; NDP's Livaja won't attend Whistler all-candidates debate More...
April 20, 2017, 1:03 AM
MOU between RMOW, province, WB and First Nations to be presented April 25 More...