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Comedian gets the last laugh

NANAIMO – Comedians Dan Quinn, Arj Barker, Craig Campbell and Pete Johansson crack jokes at the Port Theatre on Jan. 10.
Dan Quinn

Dan Quinn was making his stand-up comedy debut at Yuk Yuks in Edmonton when he was caught with his pants down.

“I was very, very nervous,” Quinn said. “I did a joke that my friend told me to do and I don’t know why because I had worked on my set for so long.”

After mustering up the courage to go on stage, Quinn told his friend’s joke and got no response.

“He told me I should go up on stage with my pants undone and say ‘this isn’t the bathroom’… and I walked on stage and did that and it got nothing. It wasn’t funny at all,” Quinn said. “Then I did my jokes and I got tons of laughs and the next thing I know I was doing really well.”

It was then that Quinn learned a valuable lesson in comedy.

“You’re friends aren’t as funny as you think they are,” he said, laughing.

Since then, Quinn has gone on to open for some big names including Russell Peters. He has also been selected the Best of the Fest at the Moncton and Vancouver Comedy Festivals.

On Friday (Jan. 10), Quinn along with fellow comedians Arj Barker, Craig Campbell and Pete Johansson will be cracking jokes at the Port Theatre as part of the Snowed In Comedy Tour.

“On this tour it’s a little bit different than most,” Quinn said. “For us it’s very go go go. Unlike most comedians, on this tour we are getting up early because we are hitting the hills to snowboard all day and then we come back, shower and do sound check.”

The Snowed In Comedy Tour began earlier this month and will see the four comedians stop in 27 cities and towns throughout British Columbia and Alberta. In addition to their show in Nanaimo, they will be performing in Courtenay, Port Alberni, Campbell River and Victoria.

“It doesn’t stop. There are very few breaks on this tour,” Quinn said. “It’s not for everybody.”

When the tour concludes in Vancouver on Feb. 8, the foursome will have traveled more than 6,500 kilometres. Quinn said the amount of travel is similar to that of a pro athlete and can wear many comedians down.

“It is sort of an interesting balance between the constant amount of travel and trying to get rest and performing and at the same time saying to yourself ‘this is the most fun I’m ever going to have.’”

Quinn is also the brains behind the Snowed In Comedy Tour. He created the tour six years ago when he wanted to have an excuse to go snowboarding.

“The tour was my idea and it was a huge risk,” he said. “People might not have shown up and I could have lost a huge amount of money because putting on a tour like this have an incredible amount of expensive.”

Quinn was born in St. Paul, Alta., and moved to Edmonton to study business at the University of Alberta. He said he grew up admiring TV shows such as Seinfeld and had thought about becoming an actor.

“I really had a fascination for preforming and I wanted to see if I could do it,” he said. “I just loved standups. I kind of wanted to be an actor as well but I didn’t know if I could be an actor.”

The Alberta native said he usually comes up with his jokes from “things that happen to me,” and often draws his influences from his own life.

“I try to draw from my own life because I feel like that’s sort of where my best humour comes from,” he said.

Quinn has previously opened for Tracy Morgan, Tom Green, Bob Saget and Rob Schneider.

“It doesn’t really matter who is on stage after you. It’s irrelevant because you’re on stage and you do your thing,” he said. “When I’m on stage it doesn’t matter who is on after me. It is irrelevant because it is just what my interaction is with the crowd.”

For ticket information, please call the Port Theatre ticket centre at 250-754-8550 or visit