Viv Pfeffer connects with people, rather than numbers 

Part of 16-comic Whistler Comedy Festival this month

Who: Viv Pfeffer

Where: Buffalo Bill’s

When: Sept. 22

Accountant-turned comedian Viv Pfeffer says comedy keeps her in touch.

"Making that connection with people, being able to make a stranger laugh – it’s like being validated in some way," says Pfeffer, who adds much of her life is spent on the road and keeping material fersh.

"You constantly have to be updating your tapes," she says.

In this her return show at Bill’s, there will be sports fodder ("I’m a skier, so I do a lot of sports jokes,") as well as other comments on life.

When the comedian-performer found number crunching for an oil and gas company in Alberta a little too dead-pan, she began breathing new life into her speeches.

For rooms of 300 people, Pfeffer started telling an icebreaker here, a quip there, and she found her calling.

When she wore a fez hat, complete with red tassels, for a speech at a five-star hotel, she got laughs.

Twirling the hat tassels from time to time produced even more giggles, plus over 100 congratulatory calls about the "most unusual show." There were also a few unhappy callers telling her she should get herself to some club and out of the professional field.

Next stop was open mic nights at a Yuk Yuk’s stage part time, and she was on her way to life in the smiles game.

Now an independent artist based in Vancouver, after finding the "politics of comedy pretty bad" as a salaried employee at major agencies, she finds fodder in everyday life.

Living in the West End, she says sexuality is a large source of material.

Stage-side, Pfeffer has trained in acting at Los Angeles’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, on camera at the William Davis Acting Studio in Vancouver, and done scene study at the Vancouver Film School.

Pfeffer has also played the Gastown Comedy Store, Lafflines, Jester’s in Calgary, as well as Toronto’s Rivoli Club.

Festivals in her repertoire include Girls Do Comedy at Milk, every second Saturday in Vancouver, and Raising the Roof, a benefit for the homeless held in Vancouver in 2000.

As a sketch comedian, her credits include "Lacie Birkdale," ditzy anchor of "Hard Truth" on CBC’s Bedtime with Brent Butt, and a drunken ’50s housewife in the Debutant Lounge’s My Nanny Hitler.

"There are some areas where you hold a room, and people just can’t handle woman doing that. That’s why I also like going to the women’s shows, because they appreciate you.

"But I can handle hecklers, and my material is for everybody’s consumption," says Pfeffer.

Her goal is to work with San Francisco comedy tour company Olivia Tours, the lesbian-run tour company that sends comedians around the world.

Nothing funny about all that those travel options.

"You don’t have to be gay to perform with them, but they appreciate you for being a chick, and voicing your opinions," Pfeffer says.

And her advice to aspiring comics?

A demo tape, current, and around 10 minutes long is what every good comedian should have in their portfolio.

"Go watch comedy every night for two months, and write your own material. Keep doing it – just keep plugging away!"

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