EventFeatureFEATURE – Observer: Getting Some Laughs is Decidedly Personal

December 9, 2022

The Observer had an article about an upcoming event here at the brewery. In just a few days, we will be splitting our guts to the Happy Merry Comedy Tour. Bill Atwood writes:

If you’re in the mood for a laugh on Saturday, Rural Roots Brewery might have just the thing for you. That night it will be hosting the first stop in the Happy Merry Comedy Tour, which features a group of seven comedians headlined by Londoner Gee Gethiga.

While the tour has a holiday theme to it, it will resonate with everyone.

“We want the vibe to be, come celebrate the holidays, no matter what your background is. And that’s why the joke is there’s no Christmas in the name. It’s called the Happy Merry Comedy Tour. So, no matter if you celebrate Christmas or you don’t – or just the holidays – just come, have a good time and have a good laugh,” Gethiga said.

“One of the comedians sings funny Christmas songs and then everyone else is a professional comedian, so it’s going to be a really fun night,” Gethiga said.

The group features comedians from a wide variety of backgrounds, including Gethiga, who is a Kenyan immigrant, and Kitchener native Dylan Lindsay.

“He’s a pretty well-known comedian. He’s been on [comedy club chain] Yuk Yuk’s. He’s got an interesting perspective. He’s got cerebral palsy, and he’s a really funny dude. We have someone who has been on CBC Debaters and she’s a very unique different kind of comedian. We have a Ukrainian,” Gethiga explained.

Like most stand-up comedians, the performers will be sharing personal stories to help bring the laughs.

“Most comedy is personal. A lot of the stories are personal. I talk about my upbringing. I talk about growing up in London, Ontario. I think the best comedy is personal,” Gethiga said.

While stand-up comedy has that personal element, it is also universal, he added.

“The main thing that I find with comedy is it’s kind of like music where there are different genres and some people like certain comedians, but at the same time, funny is funny. So good music is good music and no matter the type of comedy you do, the talent will always rise to the top. I think everybody can know when they see something funny or they hear something funny.”

Although he has only been doing comedy for five years, Gethiga has been inspired by several generations of comics.

“Going back to Richard Pryor in the ’70s and then down to Dave Chappelle is one of my biggest inspirations. Canadian-wise, I just grew up on John Candy and Norm Macdonald. We have a great tradition of comedians in Canada. Jim Carrey [and] all these guys who were Canadian made me feel like it wasn’t that far away,” he said.

Being a stand-up comic also requires being vulnerable, Gethiga explained.

“What I’m learning is the more vulnerable you get, the more the customers and the crowd appreciate it – that’s how you relate to the crowd. I used to think you need to be more general, like you need to appeal to everybody, but I think people want to know about you.

“I think human beings are very similar. We’re all going to have problems. We all went through COVID together. We’re not all that different. I think we’re all Canadians – we have the same problems, the same fears,” he said.

The Happy Merry Comedy Tour lands in Elmira on December 10, 8-11 p.m. at Rural Roots. Although tickets are already sold out, some walk-ins will be accepted.