Patrick Maliha, all love and lung chunks 

Stand-up plays Valentine's Day Comedy Rehab after headlining unexpected gig at Vancouver General Hospital

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Comedy is dangerous work. Patrick Maliha knows it and he's missing the lung chunks to prove it.

Maliha, who is to perform at the Valentine's Day edition of Comedy Rehab at Maxx Fish, was hospitalized after a gig in Kelowna almost two weeks ago.

A heckler didn't get physical. Pneumonia did... along with its buddy, H1N1 influenza.

A lot of "shouldn't haves" are involved.

"I had a cold for a while, it was really bad and then it faded. Then I got the flu and that got really bad and then I travelled when I probably shouldn't have. I was taking Gravol to get through the day when I probably shouldn't have," he recalls, still working through a residual cough.

"I got back from Kelowna on the Saturday, that's when it was really bad. Sunday was just horrible and then my wife had to call 911 at 2 a.m. I was coughing up blood and passing out all over the place."

Being a professional, he saw the funny side of the situation as he lay in a bed at Vancouver General Hospital.

"It was hilarious. I get to the hospital and they quarantine me and I'm in a room. People come in and they're wearing the Hazmat-type of outfits. So I thought that can't be good," Maliha laughs.

Hilarious.

No, really, he says.

"It was pretty funny because the doctor said 'OK. Well we did the X-rays and got an interesting surprise! You got pneumonia!' because they thought it was H1N1 or my gall bladder was getting ready to explode. They were getting ready for surgery," he says.

"Five days later I am starting to recover... It's like being abducted by aliens. You wake up, three days are missing and your bum is sore."

It's the sickest Maliha has been in his life.

"The one nice thing about being forced into the hospital is that since Sunday I've lost 10 pounds, though three pounds of that was lung."

He partly attributes what happened to his work schedule, which was a bit tight.

"December was the busiest December I'd had for 20-plus years of doing stand-up. I had three or four days where I did three shows a day. I would do one in the afternoon and two shows at night," he says.

"There were a couple of Sundays I had off and I'd call up my buddy who has a room here in Vancouver and tell him I had the day off and did he need anybody. I'd emcee instead of resting.

"I'm like the Wolf of Wall Street without the money or glamour.

"As a Canadian stand-up comic, you're like 'Man, I just can't slow down because for some reason everything's hot, so I've gotta go with it!' Until you end up in hospital."

Friday's show, subtitled Love Makers and Heart Breakers, sees Maliha perform alongside Kyle Jones and host Jesse Carroll. Tickets are $10 in advance from Maxx Fish or Hempire and $15 at the door.

He enjoys the resort's vibe, having last performed in Whistler a year ago.

"I had an amazing time at last year's Valentine's show. It was such a good crowd," Maliha says. "And for this Valentine's Day I can tell everyone that I love life."

So what is he bringing to Whistler this time?

"SARS!" Maliha says, brightly. "I'm bringing SARS, H1N1 and the Norwalk virus. I'll be that weird, creepy guy in a housecoat."

Maliha was voted Favourite Vancouver Comedian in the Georgia Straight Best Of awards in 2008 and 2009. He has also featured in Stand-Up and Bite Me on Bite TV and in a one-hour Comedy Now special aired on CTV and The Comedy Network.

The other thing Maliha is doing that is "getting a lot of heat" is his improv work with two other comedians called The Gentlemen Hecklers. It started off with an impromptu performance in Vancouver in 2012.

"It's a send up of Mystery Science Theatre 3000... We do a version of that but we do it live in the Rio Theatre once a month. We take terrible movies and we give them hilarious commentary during the movie so that people can enjoy the movies. It's doing very well and getting really popular," he says.

Eighteen months ago, 40 people turned up at the movie theatre. The last time they performed there they got 250 per show. They might even take it the the States.

And is Maliha in a healthy place for the Whistler gig?

"I'm recovering. I feel great. Today I was able to wake up, sit for a few hours and then pass out," he says.

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