For Sudbury comedian Shawn McLaren, the Laugh Out Loud Sudbury Comedy Festival, which runs Feb. 4-8, is the best time of the year.
Not only is McLaren performing at one of the festival's club shows, he's involved with the festival's planning.
“I think for the festival to be here, to be bringing in world-class talent, it just benefits the town and the local comedy scene, because it gets people talking about going to local comedy shows," he said.
“It gets people interested in checking out these higher-calibre shows. Also, I think it gives something for local guys to strive towards, to make sure their product is as good, if not better, than what's coming into town, because people are kind of getting hungry for good stuff.”
One of this year's headliners, The Trailer Park Boys, also headlined at the first edition of the festival.
Ricky, Julian and Bubbles bring their famous redneck humour to the Sudbury Arena on Feb. 5 as part of their Still Drunk, High and Unemployed Tour.
Canadian comedian Jeremy Hotz also fills a headliner slot, taking the arena's stage Feb. 8. One of the most unique standup comics working today, Hotz has quickly become a proven international success.
As a bonus, the festival is bringing The Comic Strippers to The Grand Nightclub for a matinee show Feb. 7.
A fictitious male stripper troupe (played by a cast of some of Canada’s best improvisational comedians), The Comic Strippers always perform a "sexylarious" improv comedy show. These guys try to be sexy, it just comes out funny.
The Laugh Out Loud Sudbury Comedy Festival also features a series of club shows, with six comics from across North America performing each evening. The venue is The Durham Social, newly renovated after a devastating fire.
“Some of the bar shows feature some of my favourite comedians in Canada,” said McLaren, who performs at The Durham Social Feb. 4.
Craig Ferguson, best known for his role on the Drew Carey Show, where he played Carey's boss, Nigel Wick, was originally supposed to be one of the festival's headliners.
Unfortunately, he is unable to appear due to a scheduling conflict.
LOL Sudbury brought in a replacement in American comic Bill Burr, but his performance isn't until April 4. Burr is known for his envelope-pushing and politically incorrect material.
For a full festival schedule, or to purchase tickets to any of the shows, visit lolsudbury.com.