When Dan Quinn organized the first Snowed In Comedy Tour 10 years ago he was just hoping to have fun and cover the cost of a two-week B.C. snowboarding vacation with some friends.
“We figured if we did shows we’d be further ahead financially than if we just went [vacationing] for two weeks,” he said.
“And we’re all comedians so we’re like, ‘Well, why not?’ and then we did it and we didn’t lose money and we’re like, ‘Let’s do it again,’ and then it kept kind of growing and growing.”
The first tour featured nine shows. Over the past decade that figure has exploded to 55 dates in 48 cities. This year’s tour, which aside from Quinn includes fellow comics Paul Myrehaug, Pete Zedlacher and Craig Campbell, starts in Prince Rupert on Jan. 3 and ends in Thunder Bay, Ont. on March 17. The foursome come to Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on Jan. 12.
Quinn said audiences have become familiar with the comedians over the years.
“They’re not just coming to see a comedy show anymore, they’re coming to see us specifically,” he said.
“We’ve got Craig Campbell who’s been with us since day one, he was on the very first year and he’s back, and then Paul Myrehaug, this is his fifth year I think, and Pete Zedlacher, I think this is his third in Nanaimo.”
Quinn planned the the first half of the tour around the B.C. and Alberta ski hills he wanted to visit during the day — including four days in Whistler — with performances at the local theatres at night. He said it’s helpful that the comedians have good chemistry.
“That’s a big part of it is we have to hang out for 10 weeks,” Quinn said.
“The great thing is, these guys, we actually have a blast together. We have a lot of laughs, probably sometimes more laughs offstage than we’re giving the audience onstage because we’ve got eight or 10 hours together all day.”
This year’s tour added five dates in Manitoba and Ontario and Quinn said he hopes to extend the campaign by another five or 10 more cities in 2019. His goal is to turn Snowed In into a cross-Canada tour.
“The whole thing was never like, ‘This is something we’re going to do forever’ or anything, so the fact that it’s still going is surprising and great and scary, too,” Quinn said.
“It’s gotten to the point where we just don’t want it to end, either. It’s just so much fun and probably the best part of our whole year. Hopefully we can make it to 20.”
WHAT’S ON … The Snowed In Comedy Tour featuring Pete Zedlacher, Dan Quinn, Craig Campbell and Paul Myrehaug comes to the Port Theatre on Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $35 for seniors and $25 for students.