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Indigenous comedians unite for unique show in Squamish

The Bad Apples Comedy Show: Laugh your way through an evening of cultural insights and unapologetic humour on Feb. 4.

The late comedian George Carlin is quoted as saying, "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

Some hilarious line-crossing comedians are set to take centre stage at Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Totem Hall on Feb 4.

The Bad Apples Comedy Show stars comedians Nelson Mayer and Clayton T. Stewart.

Mayer, who hails from Winnipeg, features his Métis heritage in his comedy. 

Stewart, of the Peguis First Nation, draws on his Ojibwe heritage and Treaty membership for his performances. 

Both comedians have had plenty of success in their own rights, including performing at festivals across Canada, the U.S. and beyond.

The two have combined forces to bring audiences The Bad Apples. 

They have appeared in performances seen on HBO, Prime Video, Crave TV, APTN, CBC, Sirius XM, iTunes, and TUBI.

"With a blend of cultural insights, personal experiences, and an unapologetic sense of humour, their performances leave audiences doubled over with laughter … inspired by their unique perspectives," reads the event description

Also performing in the Squamish show is comedian Justin “J-Bomb” Fillion.

Comedian and North Vancouver Squamish Nation member, Keith Nahanee will be hosting the show, and performing a set of his comedy. 

The local event is produced by Burnout Entertainment, the production company of Nahanee and his partner Bernadette (Berny). 

Nahanee performed with The Bad Apples at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival in May of 2023. 

"They're really funny," he said. 

Nahanee, who performs in about 75 standup shows a year, began his comedy career during a very sad time for the Nation. 

In 2014, the Nation lost 41 people in one month for various reasons—from natural causes to stillbirths, accidents, overdoses and suicide.

It was a dark time desperately in need of some light, Nahanee said. The couple decided to put on a comedy show on the Capilano 5 Reserve, at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre. 

"We learned how to produce shows just by jumping in there," Nahanee said, with a laugh, adding they likely lost money on that first show. 

"I think we were down maybe one or $200. But you know, it was fun," he said. 

Eventually, he started doing a 10-minute set of his own stuff, and his standup career grew from there. 

His humour focuses on relationships and family, but he also jokes about some heavy truths. 

"A lot of non-natives look at me, and they sort of get cautious. Meanwhile, I'm a certified clinical hypnotherapist. I do energy readings. I do house cleansings, I do comedy, and I'm an outreach worker. So I make fun of those things—the stereotypes."

Once he and his wife were going into the Cactus Club and a non-Indigenous person saw them and pushed his key fob a few extra times to ensure his vehicle was locked. 

Nahanee uses this incident in his act. 

"I looked at his car, and I was like, that's a crap car anyways. What are we going to steal—your children or your land?” he joked. 

“So, we sort of reverse it.” 

He gets big laughs, he says, though sometimes he must remind non-Indigenous audiences that it is OK to laugh. 

"A lot of them won't laugh because it's so 'sensitive.' I do that in quotations because it's not sensitive. It's an eye-opener,” he said. 

Nahanee said he admires honest comedy, like Carlin’s.

"He tells the truth about society, about the government, about the school system. And he's no holds barred, but he does it in a funny way."

While overall Nahanee has had a ton of positive feedback for his shows, once or twice he has had a member of the audience get upset about jokes that take aim at the church.

He has a message for anyone coming to the shows. 

"If you got offended by any of this, you shouldn't be here. This is a comedy show,” he said. 

You can catch Nahanee for free in the second episode of Margin Films’ Comedy Invasion, called Rez Style.

It streams for free on Roku and Tubi.

He also has other plans in the works such as a possible collaboration on eight to 13 episodes of First Nations comedy, but first, catch him hosting the The Bad Apples Comedy Show in Squamish.

Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.  

Tickets are $25 each, through Eventbrite.


                                          Keith Nahanee.| Hand out photo.