The need to keep people laughing has been a part of comedian Kris La Belle’s persona since he was a boy growing up in Thunder Bay.
“If you couldn’t fight or play hockey, you better make people laugh,” he says.
And the comedian intends to do just that in two shows at the Salmar Classic this Friday.
The 40-year-old funnyman is known for selling out his shows, which sometimes take place in unusual locations for a variety of causes.
This year, La Belle has already hosted comedy shows in support of mental health and Black History Month and in memory of Mylan Hicks, the 23-year-old Calgary Stampeders football player who was shot and killed in that city last year.
La Belle says he wanted to mark Black History Month and Hicks’ death because nobody else was doing anything in Calgary to mark how people of colour are often targeted.
La Belle has been seen on The Score, TSN, Fight Network, Super Channel and the big screen, performed for the inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre and released three short films that have gone viral.
Thrilled to have provided his prison audience a short reprieve from their otherwise grim lives, La Belle says it gave him a great deal of personal satisfaction to give the inmates the gift of laughter.
In his early career, La Belle found performed what he calls a “Guido” character, a term that has come to refer to Italian Americans who conduct themselves in an overtly macho manner.
But, the former mixed martial arts (MMA) analyst and self-described “bad boy” turned his chaotic lifestyle and comedy into what he calls “a life of laughter based on keen social observation and educated personal opinion.”
“Our world needs more laughter not opinions. We need less protest and more smiles,” says La Belle, pointing out social media has been rife with fear and judgment in recent months. “Take a break from the stress of life and celebrate a night of laughter. Comedy is the best way to create good vibes and enjoy a night out.”
An actor, artist and producer, LaBelle has successfully sold out 85 shows in five years and will perform March 24 with Brett Forte, Todd Ness and his 10-year-old son Dominic La Belle.
Ness started performing as a standup comedian in 2009 and was recently signed to the Yuk Yuks roster. From the everyday struggles of living in suburbia, to the stress of life with family and friends, Ness has become an expert at inventing things to complain about.
“He has honed his comedic skills through years of being a class clown, disobeying teachers and training his upper body,” notes a press release.
This combination of sharp wit, athletic endurance, and ability to relate to other middle-class white people has enabled Ness to excel in the world of standup comedy.
Forte was Yuk Yuks Top New Comic of 2016 and is the winner of the Yuk & Comers Amateur Comedy Competition. He is also the Morning Show producer at KooL 101.5 FM Calgary.
Dominic La Belle is a comic on the rise, says his dad, pointing out his son is known as the youngest comedian and has already been on TV 15 times, made videos that have gone viral and taken to the stage numerous times with his five-minute routine.
Deemed a “funny little dude” by his father, Dominic’s comedy career began two years ago and has already caught the attention of mainstream media.
Shows take place March 24 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the Salmar Classic Theatre. Tickets are available at www.justimaginepromotions.ca.