Artistic director Al Rae talks about the 2012 Winnipeg Comedy Festival, which kicks off April 5th

Filed under: Interviews

2012 is upon us. The Mayan calendar ends on December 21st of this year, and many (okay, a couple) believe that life on earth will cease to exist past that day. Of course, most of us think that basing the end of the world on not finding future dates on a millenia-old calendar is ridiculous, but that won't stop a ridiculous group of people from playing off of that theme to create some publicity.

No, I'm not talking about the church of Harold Camping and his "give all your money to me because the world is ending anyway" craziness. These wackos are the best possible kind -- the funny folks behind the 2012 Winnipeg Comedy Festival, who have appropriated the Mayan theme and "The End is Near" slogan to promote this year's slate of comedy shows featuring some of the country's best stand-up comics (with a few international names thrown in for good measure).

Spanning a mammoth 11 days for its 11th annual event, Artistic Director Al Rae has managed to make this year's Winnipeg Comedy Festival bigger than ever before. Featuring the usual series of CBC TV galas at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre and tapings of several CBC comedy radio shows (including the now-iconic Debaters, which originated at this festival), the festival has expanded to include shows in small towns around Manitoba and Saskatchewan, a number of fundraisers, the socially-conscious "Make It Better" panel, and more local comedic talent than ever before.

Once again, is on the ground and ready to bring you unprecedented coverage of the funnyfest, with ticket giveaways, interviews with some of the biggest stars in Winnipeg to make you laugh, and reviews of many of the shows big and small taking place around town.

To kick things off, we got the chance to speak with Mr. Rae a couple weeks ago about his own comedy background, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival beginnings, some of the comics he's most looking forward to at the festival, and his suggestions for first-time attendees who might get lost in the haze of dozens of shows of all shapes and sizes.

Tags: Al Rae, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Winnipeg, Little Mosque on the Prairie, stand-up, David Steinberg, The Debaters, festivals, comedy, WCF2012

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found putting on and promoting music and comedy events with The Purple Room in Winnipeg, or co-producing the live comedy game show Pants on Fire. (@comedygeek)

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