Nanaimo comedian Malcolm Wright has participated in the Laugh Lounge series for two years. He credits the series for keeping live comedy alive in the Harbour City.

Nanaimo comedian Malcolm Wright has participated in the Laugh Lounge series for two years. He credits the series for keeping live comedy alive in the Harbour City.

Nanaimo’s comedy scene growing

NANAIMO - Laugh Lounge keeps comedy alive in Nanaimo and allows comedians to hone their craft.

It wasn’t that long ago that Nanaimo’s comedy scene was gasping for air.

In 2013 one of the few venues that hosted comedy nights was closing its doors. That’s when Andrew Roberts, the founder of Got Pop? Concerts, came up with an idea.

“There was about eight to 10 comics locally that would do shows once a month at the old Globe location … and they were closing up,” Roberts said.

Roberts, who had previously attracted comedic acts like Pauly Shore and Charlie Murphy to the city, began searching and landed on the downstairs portion of the Acme Food Co.

“It was a perfect room, it was small, intimate but not in a bar setting,” Roberts said.

In May of that year the very first Laugh Lounge was held at the Acme Food Co.

The once-a-month comedy event typically includes two show times, a headlining act and as many as six other comedians. Each show time typically lasts anywhere from 60 to 95 minutes.

Roberts said the structure is designed to break down the misconceptions about local comedy shows.

“I found was that a lot of people, when they think of comedy shows, they think of open mics and amateurs,” Roberts said. “But we get try and get one good headliner to do 45 minutes so it is a professional show.”

As a result, dozens of comedians including Peter Hudson, Kim Strynadka and Lil Cory, Jenelle Dmytruk, Nick Schols, Scott Goglin, Deanna Wood can regularly practise their craft in front of a local audience.

Nanaimo comedian Malcolm Wright, who has been part of the Laugh Lounge lineup since it started, says the Laugh Lounge has allowed him to meet other comedians.

“Laugh Lounge has been great,” Wright said. “You meet other comedians, you meet local guys, you meet guys from out of town, you meet guys who have been on the road for 15 years.”

Fellow Harbour City comedian Darryl Shaw says the Laugh Lounge has helped grow comedy in the city and provided a stable place for comedians to build their craft.

“I think it has been a fantastic venue for Nanaimo …. I think it is really grown. I have been there when there have been some really small crowds and I have been now when the rooms are packed almost every time and as a Comedian there is nothing more that we want to see than a packed room,” Shaw said.  “To us it is a regular spot to go to. There is nothing worse having occasional shows and not knowing when they are.”

As a result of Acme’s closure, the Laugh Lounge relocated to the Old City Station Pub’s banquet room.

“It’s a great room. It is much bigger than the AcMe and the sight lines are perfect. It’s a great room for comedy because it is not in the pub, it is in the room beside it,” Roberts said.

Both Shaw and Wright say without the Laugh Lounge, the local comedy scene would be almost non-existent.

“It would be pretty dead,” Wright said.

The next Laugh Lounge features Garrett Clark with Jason Lamb and others on Friday (Dec. 11) at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and available at the pub or


Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read