Lots of laughs at comedy fest

By Penny Coles, Niagara Advance

NOTL native Jeff Paul has organized the Icebreakers Comedy Festival to take place in town next weekend. He will host of of three events.

NOTL native Jeff Paul has organized the Icebreakers Comedy Festival to take place in town next weekend. He will host of of three events.

The Icebreakers Comedy Festival is back for a third year, bigger and funnier than ever, promises Jeff Paul, a local comedian who organizes the show.


He promises three nights of fabulous shows and quality performers - he chose them all himself.

Thursday night's concert, Jan. 28 at Corks Wine Bar and Eatery, will be hosted by Joe Pillitteri - a local hero, says Paul.

Friday, Jan. 29, the laughs move to Oast House Brewers, and the performers will be at the top of their game, with CBC Radio recording the evening for their Laugh Out Loud show, with Paul hosting.

Saturday, Jan. 30, the gala presentation will be held at the Royal Cambridge at the Prince of Wales, again taped by CBC, with host Sandra Battaglini.

The three shows, said Paul, will feature 18 comedians, all top notch - CBC's stipulation was that there be six per show.

"They're all great, and they're all going to be there for a reason."

With CBC recording the shows, "it puts the festival on a national platform. It's good for promoting the town as well as the comedians."

It's not hard to convince the comics to be part of the festival - they like NOTL, and they know they'll have a great time themselves, he said. "We make sure we show them a good time while they're here. They're happy to be on board, happy to be part of the festival."

Both of the previous festivals have had every show either sold out or close to it, and this year will be no different, says Paul.

The events provide a little something extra for locals and visitors during the Icewine Festival evenings, he said.

Paul grew up in St. Davids and remains friends with Paul Harber of Ravine Vineyards, who is also a member of the NOTL Chamber of Commerce icewine festival organizing committee. It was Harber who suggested the first Icebreakers Comedy Festival, and brought his friend on board to spearhead it.

Paul graduated from the TV broadcasting program at Fanshawe College in London, after going to St. Michael Catholic Elementary School and then Niagara District Secondary School, and landed a job in Toronto with CTV, where he works as a program co-ordinator weekdays.

He'd love to get to the point where he can give up his day job, but he's not quite there yet, although he's made progress this year, he said. He has been signed to Yuk Yuks roster, enjoyed his first East Coast tour, and has been invited to the Sudbury Comedy Festival, which is one of the major Canadian events for comics.

For more information or tickets to the Icebreakers Comedy Festival go to or call 905-468-1950.


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