Yukking It Up for a Cause

 Katie-Ellen Humphries has one clear goal in mind this week when she makes her second

trip to Whitehorse.

“Now that I’ve been up there and I know what’s going on, I think this is the year I try to get into the Snowshoe Shufflers,” the Vancouver comedian quips.

“I know they’re a tight-knit group, and I’m sure there’s some rehearsals and things that I’ve missed, but I have a lot of heart.”

Humphries is one of three comics who will perform at the Yukon Convention Centre this Thursday and Friday at a fundraiser sponsored by the local chapter of Ride for Dad.

Since 2010, the volunteer organization has been raising money to support prostate cancer research and build public awareness of a male-specific disease many people feel uncomfortable discussing.

As anyone who has seen or heard Ride for Dad’s advertisements can attest, the national non-profit organization often employs humour to sell a serious message.

This is the second year the local group has augmented its annual June motorcycle ride through southern Yukon by hosting an evening with professional comics from the Yuk Yuk’s stable of touring performers.

“Last year, we had 260 seats available, and we weren’t really sure how it was going to go,” admits Leah Verishine, one of the event’s organizers and a founding member of Ride for Dad Yukon.

“As it turned out, we sold out of those tickets in 10 days. It blew us away.”

This year, instead of two comics, the group decided to book three and switch venues from the Coast High Country Inn to the convention centre.

“We have a capacity of 550 people over there, and we sold out the Thursday night this year in five days,” she adds.

Fortunately, all three performers were available for a second show the following night.

Besides Humphries, who will return as host, the roster includes comedy veteran John Beuhler and relative newcomer Garrett Quinton, also from Vancouver.

“Garret is going to be the feature act. He’s one of the top young talents in town, with kind of an off-kilter observational style,” Humphries says.

“He’s just so funny. He really tickles me.”

Humphries calls Beuhler “one of the best joke writers working today,” whose credits include working with the likes of Dennis Miller, Zach Galifinakis, Joan Rivers, Craig Ferguson and Brent Butt.

“John is definitely someone who has the ability to go after some pretty risqué topics, but because he is so funny, he can always leave you laughing no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter may be,” Humphries says.

Before moving to Vancouver and teaming up with Yuk Yuks, Humphries developed her comic chops as a member of the Victoria-based Atomic Vaudeville troupe, whose shows Ride the Cyclone and Legoland have both played in Whitehorse.

Working with that company, she says, taught her a lot about not being too “precious” about her material.

“The audience is ultimately the final word on what isn’t funny. If it’s not working, you’ve got to let it go, even if it’s something you think is really great,” she says.

“That was a wonderful lesson that I picked up from them, and it helped, because sometimes you might have a joke that you think is absolute genius, and it proves not to be the case.”

The former marathon swimmer with self-described “cavernous dimples” has a word of advice for Whitehorse audiences.

“You might want to do a couple of sit-ups in advance, because your stomach will definitely hurt from laughing.”

The Ride for Dad fundraiser takes place Thursday and Friday, January 29 and 30, at the Yukon Convention Centre. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a 7:00 p.m. curtain.

For more information or to check ticket availability, go to the Ride for Dad Yukon page on Facebook. 

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