Comedians from across Canada call Peter Hudson “the mayor of Nanaimo.”
The local joke teller has been putting the Harbour City on the comedy map. He recently earned the Queen’s a “Best Comedy Room” nomination for his series of mental health awareness comedy shows and last month he said he became the first Nanaimo comedian to perform at the Just for Laughs NorthWest Comedy Festival in Vancouver.
“It was amazing, man. I’m in the same festival with all my heroes like Bill Burr, Anthony Jeselnik, the Lucas Brothers. I was having a drink with the Lucas Brothers after a show. It was surreal…” he said.
“It’s one of the biggest credits you can get as a comedian. It’s like the Grand Poobah. I’ve been doing comedy for seven years and it felt [like] all my work paid off.”
Hudson said its hard for comedians who live outside of major population centres to get noticed by comedy scouts. With that in mind, he developed his Outsiders comedy show, which brings together Western Canadian jokers from as far as Whitehorse. The comedians are divided into teams representing Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Valley and the Prairies.
Last fall Hudson put on an Outsiders showcase in Vancouver for the head co-ordinator for Just for Laughs NorthWest to great acclaim.
“She loved the idea and we’re going to be doing it next year, too,” he said.
On April 7 Hudson will be back at the Queen’s to host an evening of comedy featuring Chris Gordon and Colin Sharp. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Vancouver Island Crisis Society. Hudson was inspired to hold comedy fundraisers after a childhood friend and fellow comedian died by suicide five years ago. He said he didn’t want his friend forgotten.
“I give away a lot of free tickets too, to people who are going through some stuff, people that have lost loved ones to the fentanyl crisis, to depression … its a community thing. It’s beautiful, it’s really special,” he said.
Hudson said the comedians he approaches for the shows are enthusiastic about participating and he makes sure they’re taken care of.
“I bring them around [and] I show them my city. I’m proud of where I come from,” he said.
“I love where I come from. I own a house here, I have a new family, a little baby girl, I’m not going anywhere. I’m the guy – I’m the Nanaimo guy.”
WHAT’S ON … Peter Hudson hosts Chris Gordon is Missing Getting Action: A Stand-Up Comedy Show for Mental Health at the Queen’s on Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20.