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Mark Menei brings Campfire Comedy to Whistler

The Thunder Bay performer will take the stage on June 13
Comedian Mark Menei performs in Whistler for the first time on June 13, 2024.

A new actor will soon be joining the Sea to Sky stand-up scene. 

Mark Menei isn’t new to comedy, per se. The Thunder Bay, Ont. native has been performing for over 10 years across his home province and Manitoba. He’s been named Best Comedian by Walleye Arts and Culture Magazine in addition to gigs on CBC and CTV plus opening acts for decorated talents like Gerry Dee and Darrin Rose. 

Yet Menei’s never set foot in British Columbia, let alone Whistler. That is why he’s got June 13 circled on his “Campfire Comedy” touring schedule. 

“I’m actually very excited to come see the West Coast,” he says. “A lot of towns that I visit when I go on the road are probably anywhere from 1,000 to 15,000 people [like Whistler is]. I've grown a really good appreciation for the smaller towns and how they operate. I’m excited to see the landscape, meet the people and tell some jokes.” 

Harder than it looks

If you had grown up with Menei, you likely wouldn’t have envisioned him as a future comic—or any kind of stage performer. He was a quiet kid by his own admission and still works as a project manager by day. In the mid-2010s though, a switch began to flip in his head as he watched other comedians strut their stuff. 

Despite his introverted nature, Menei felt that he had a good enough brain to write some jokes. “Turns out, it’s a lot harder than it looks,” he quips. 

Menei made his way up the learning curve at a comedy club in Thunder Bay. COVID-19 forced it to shut down…which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Taking his act into people’s backyards, Menei gained valuable reps in a number of easygoing, low-stakes environments. He connected with  Canadian and American talents on various Zoom workshops that were particularly helpful in terms of diversifying his repertoire and becoming less reliant on making local references. 

“If anyone read the ramblings on my phone’s notepad app, I might go to prison,” remarks Menei, tongue-in-cheek. “It's all over the place.” 

'I began to understand'

Generally speaking, Menei draws inspiration from his personal life. His three-year-old toddler is a consistent source of potential content, and his thrifty nature contrasts amusingly with his wife’s demeanour as “an only child with expensive taste.” 

Menei often tries to toe the line between clean and dirty. His corporate gigs tend to be somewhat sanitized, while he can experiment with more provocative or macabre stuff at his personal events. Gauging the audience is key, and Menei knows how to reel it in if a certain crowd isn’t appreciative of his darker jokes. 

Plus, Menei will usually incorporate some type of crowd-based improv into his sets. That way, he can tailor each show to viewer preference and build rapport with large family or friend groups that don’t always respond to jokes as a mosh pit full of strangers would. 

Either type of audience may have intimidated Menei at the beginning of his career. He had to get comfortable with performing on-stage, and though his writing was a relative strength, he wishes in hindsight to have done more research in earlier years. 

“There's a lot of really good books and resources with which you can learn how jokes are written or structured,” Menei says. “I began to understand why things worked…but I was kind of [succeeding] by fluke at the start. You see people doing comedy, but there's a lot of nuance to the whole scene.” 

Menei performs on Thursday, June 13 at RMU Whistler alongside opening acts Brandon Smith and Breanne Menei. Learn more at