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Fun facts about the Edmonton Comedy Festival

The eighth annual Edmonton Comedy Festival (ECF) runs from October 10-13 at comedy venues across the city. ATB is once again proud to sponsor the festival, which celebrates the art of comedy like no other event in Edmonton.

Here are five fun facts about the ECF.

There’s something for everyone

The ECF brings world-class comedy talent to Edmonton. This makes it a must-see for local comedy enthusiasts. But Andrew Grose and Carole McIlvride, the husband-and-wife team behind the festival, take pride in making the festival appeal to comedy newbies, too.

Seasoned fans might seek out a set from a specific comic. This year’s big names include K. Trevor Wilson, Monique Marvez, Rondell Sheridan and John Wing. But Grose recommends curious newcomers pick one of the themed shows built around a topic that interests them, like the Date Night Gala.

It’s sold out… but you can still get in

The word is out among local comedy connoisseurs that the ECF has the goods. The festival sells out every year, and 2018 is no exception. But Grose has a secret tip for anyone who wants to come see some comedy. Just show up.

“Selling out a comedy show is like throwing a wedding,” said Grose. “You invite all these people, some of them actually show up. But I want every comic that comes to Edmonton to look at the crowd and feel like we sold out that show for them—not for the money, but for the comics. Just come to the door, we’ll get you in.”

The comedy supports great causes

Grose firmly believes that the ECF should do more than entertain Edmontonians, it should, "leave the city better than it found it,” in his words. That’s why the ECF gives away hundreds of tickets to charities each year. The charities sell the tickets at a price of their choosing and keep the proceeds. This year the ECF worked with ATB to give an extra 400 tickets to charities on top of the usual yearly allotment.

It’s a family affair

“Everyone in a management role at the festival is related to me, which makes for great Thanksgiving dinners,” said Grose.

McIlvride and Grose, both pillars of the Edmonton comedy scene, provide executive oversight for the whole festival. Grose’s adult children manage the festival’s four venues during shows.

“Every year, people say you do too much work, hire more people,” he said. “But we just own this thing. We just own it. The biggest reason we don’t hire other people is we want to make sure it’s perfect.”

It’s safe to sit in the front row at the ECF

Comedy newcomers are often scared of sitting near the front at shows, according to Grose.

“Nobody ever wants to sit in the front row because they believe the comics will pick on them,” he said. That might happen at some comedy clubs, but not at the ECF.

“I’ve hired comics who are far too skilled to pick on someone in the front row,” said Grose. “They have acts they want to do.”

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