Trainwreck comedy on the rails for Friday

Two Kelowna funny men will yuk it up in Salmon Arm this Friday to benefit the SilverBacks Atom A Development team.

Comedians Garrett Clark and Rob Balsdon laugh it up at the SASCU Rec Centre Friday.

Sometimes life is like a train wreck.

And whether you’re blue or in the pink, laughter is still the best way to stay, or get back on, the rails.

Just ask Rob Balsdon and Garrett Clark, two Kelowna funny men who will yuk it up in Salmon Arm this Friday to benefit the SilverBacks Atom A Development team.

When asked why we need comics, Balsdon laughs and points out that it’s just too easy to focus on the negative, whether problems are of a personal or more global nature.

“You need to shut your brain off sometimes and laugh,” he says. “It’s an escape from reality, a chance to enjoy, let loose, forget your problems, maybe even laugh at them once in a while.”

The ability to make people laugh is a craft Balsdon has been practising for many years.

Originally from Ontario, the budding comic took home report cards that said his “behaviour sometimes distracts others.”

“They didn’t say that I was distracted, they said that they (other students) can’t remain focused,” he says. “I knew then I’d make money at that one day.”

In radio for six years, Balsdon prefers a live show, where he can feed off the energy of the audience and know immediately if his material is working or not.

While the show is rated adult, Balsdon says it’s mostly because the subject matter is familiar to adults.

“We’re basically saying we’re going to be talking about subjects that adults relate to and under adults can’t,” he says. “And let’s face it, if comedy isn’t relatable, it’s not funny.”

From life’s guilty pleasures like television and video games, to sports, school and relationships, it’s fine fodder for laughter.

Balsdon says that while he now has his own voice, he was inspired by Bill Hicks, a man he describes as the kind of comic who said what he was thinking.

“As much as he made a joke, he made a point; you learned from him as much as laughed at him,” he says.

Balsdon has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in Canadian comedy and he was thrilled to work with one of his idols when he opened for film star and SNL alum Norm MacDonald.

How Balsdon met and became partners in comedy and best friends with Garrett Clark was surely ordained by fate.

Both men spent many of their school years in Newmarket, Ont. Both performed in the same Toronto comedy venues  over the same five-year period – all without meeting.

For different reasons, both comics moved to Kelowna, where, they appeared at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club. They became best friends and have since done shows all over the country.

The Comedy Train Wreck grew out of those open-mic days.

“To be honest, it was a train wreck most of the time,” Balsdon laughs. “It was never a question of if it would fall off the tracks, it was a question of when.”

Grateful for those days and the ones that have evolved over his professional career, Balsdon says he would now prefer to perform in a show like Friday’s benefit rather than a dingy night club.

“But it’s a reminder of where we came from,” he says, noting he has definitely earned his comedy stripes. “I stay true to my roots and I don’t ever want to forget those rough nights in bars where there were more comics than audience members.”

Clark, however, is still happy to perform in clubs, enjoying a wide variety of venues.

Like Balsdon, Clark began his comedy career early on and, got similar reports in school.

“I made a lot of noises and was good at impressions,” he says. “But the teachers eventually warmed up to me.”

His inspiration came pretty much from the cradle, in a home where laughter reigned.

“It was very important to laugh; we watched comedies and my dad used to write comedy,” he says. “It was very much a part of our culture – laugh, laugh, laugh.”

Being Canadian born, but Australian raised, Clark shares  cross-cultural content – imagine a Vegemite-eating hockey fan.

Considered to be one of Canada’s fastest rising comedic stars, he is often on the road and in the air, touring from Hawaii to Halifax, and from Sydney to St John’s.

He has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in comedy, including Jamie Kennedy and Russell Peters.

His answer to why the world needs comics?

“You’ll live longer – it’s so important to let go and forget all the %$#@ that’s in the world,” he says, urging people to support the show and the young hockey players. “We’re extremely talented, extremely good looking and we have lots of facial hair –  and who doesn’t like that?”

Balsdon and Clark will perform on their own in the Nov. 16 show that begins at 8:30 p.m. at the SASCU Rec Centre.


Tickets are $15 and are available at Hideaway Liquor Store and at the door.



Just Posted

Fundraising campaign for church shooting victim exceeds goal

A separate campaign for the man killed in the April 14 shooting is nearing $25,000 raised.

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Most long-weekend rain has already fallen

A mix of sun and cloud is expected for the last two days of the the Victoria Day weekend.

Court decision prompts CSRD to throw flood mitigation back at province

Public safety minister maintains Newsome Creek concerns in hands of local government

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

The Old Guys reunite to play out spring

Salmon Arm Jazz Club hosts June 13 concert at Nexus

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Former Greyhound Canada employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

“Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” says former bus driver

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read