PORT HAWKESBURY: Pete Zedlacher is thrilled he’s going to help bring comedy back to Port Hawkesbury.
On Oct. 21, he will join Leonard Chan and Mike Delamont to hit the stage at the Bear Head Room in the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre for the first time.
“I’m a standup comedian, and have been a touring headlining comedian for over 25 years now,” Zedlacher told The Reporter. “I’ve toured every province, every territory, every big city, and small town in Canada.”
As for what got Zedlacher into comedy all those years ago, he indicated he loves telling this story.
“I was a very young kid and I was watching The Muppet Show, and Fozzy Bear was on there. I turned to my mom and said “What does that mean he’s a comedian?”” he said. “And she said, “Well that’s his job, he makes people laugh.””
After sitting there for a couple of seconds, he was determined to be a comedian when he grew up.
“Flash forward to 30 something years later, I’m at Just For Laughs, and I was working with The Muppets, who were hosting the gala,” Zedlacher said. “And Fozzy Bear was right before me, so I had to follow Fozzy Bear at Just For Laughs, and it went full circle.”
He said he took a shine to comedy as a young man in my small town, Wawa, Ont., and we didn’t have any kind of connection to comedy at all, but I grew up watching David Letterman and Saturday Night Live.
“I was a funny kid, I would perform at my high school,” Zedlacher said. “One night when I was in Toronto, a friend of mine sighed up for Yuk Yuks and I went down to cheer him on, and sitting in the audience I knew I just had to do this.”
The next week he signed up, and from there he met all the local comics of Toronto, which introduced him to Toronto’s amazing comedy scene.
“I worked for beer tickets for a lot of years,” Zedlacher said. “And quickly rose up the ranks and became a professional comedian at a very young age, a lot of hard work and it’s been a lot of fun.”
He said he was a great of David Letterman.
“It felt like he was breaking the rules, the old late night show introduced me to all kinds of stand up comedians,” Zedlacher said. “And not famous comedian, just funny guys, and that was the spark that got me interested in stand-up comedy.”
He was then introduced to all the amazing home grown comics, who were beyond brilliant and who continue to inspire him.
Zedlacher said he feels as though he’s getting better with age and when he looks back to the early years of comedy, he feels as though he has more tools now.
“I can do just about anything on stage, I can do an impression, I can do something silly, I can do something political, something thought provoking, or something really personal to me,” he said. “It comes with more confidence on stage over the years, I’ve definitely evolved as a comedian.”
At a typical Zedlacher show, he talks about Canada, quite a bit, as he loves his country, but he’s going to talk about things that are happening in his life, and he will address that thing called COVID-19.
“I think it’s an opportunity to get back out again and be part of a community,” he said. “I’m seeing it more as I do shows, post lockdowns, is seeing people being part of a comedy show again, it’s something that we’ve missed being socially distanced for the last year and a half.”
He said it’s remarkable to see people get back into comedy again.
“It’s been challenging, fortunately we have a radio and television industry in this country, where we can still contribute that way,” Zedlacher said. “But it was the live events that I really missed.”
He said it feels really good to be back, especially when he visits those smaller venue shows.
“People need this, people need to get out and to laugh and enjoy themselves at a live event,” Zedlacher said. “I think we’ve been staring at screens for too long, it’s time to make eye contact and hearing our neighbours laughing around us.”
He was given the Canadian Comedy Award in 2006 as Best Male Stand Up routine but his greatest achievement as a comedian is whenever he gets a chance to perform for the troops.
“It was a nice accolade to be awarded best male comedian, I’ll always cherish that trophy, but that was just a huge pat on the back from my peers,” Zedlacher said. “My pride and joy of my comedy career has always been performing for our troops overseas, I’ve had about a dozen different occasion being flown over to war zones to perform for our forces.”
To find out more information or to purchase tickets for the Oct. 21 show, people can visit www.bestofthefest.ca or http://tickets.phcivic.com.