The Yukon is about to get a whole lot funnier if Richard Eden has his way. Relatively new to the territory, Eden is the president and creator of The Yukon Comedy Collective – a new non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to providing top quality comedic events, activities and hospitality by exposing outside and homegrown talent as well as putting a spotlight on the Yukon itself.
In its short existence, the Yukon Comedy Collective has formed a board of directors, compiled a list of local talent at its disposal and plans for a comedy festival. It’s been a challenging process for Eden, but one he has taken in stride.
Growing up in Windsor, Ontario Eden found his creative outlet as a musician singing lead and playing guitar in the band Frontiers. The band found success, but during Windsor’s economic slump it proved difficult to keep Frontiers going and prompted Eden to make a career change.
Wanting to do something with computers, Eden went to school for web development, coding and graphic design, which helped him gain employment with various marketing agencies.
“I spent a lot of time booking concerts and mini festivals. I didn’t realise I was building up this eccentric skill set that was very useful with putting together bands and festival. Windsor provided a bit of a glass ceiling and was very hard to gain momentum. I was looking for work all over Canada. Wasn’t sure where to go and got a job offer in the Yukon, it seemed like an adventure,” Eden said.
As Eden and his wife Jessica made the move to the Yukon, the one thing he was unhappy about was leaving the Windsor music community behind. After arriving in Whitehorse in 2015, he began to look for community volunteer opportunities and saw that The Yukon Comic Cultural Society was preparing to hold its comic convention, Yukomicon. Eden offered his services in any way.
When he found out that Yukomicon was not going to be held in 2016 he began to think about what he could do on his own. Eden’s first instinct was music, but with an already thriving Yukon music scene and an abundance of great festivals, he couldn’t think of something that was different or better than what was already offered. He then thought about another passion of his: comedy, and the possibility of producing a Yukon Comedy Festival.
After attending some comedy shows in Whitehorse he realised that there were a lot of talented people and a desire for comedy in the community, but felt there could be more.
“For me comedy seemed like a thing that was kind of missing here, it was involved with the community, people were performing, making comedy shows, but I felt like there was a disconnect from the core group of people who were going to the comedy shows in this city from the actual general populous, and there was an opportunity.”
Eden credits his wife Jessica for giving him some good advice. She said, “You’re thinking of doing this thing in a comedy scene that you’re not apart of and in a community that you’re brand new to. You should probably talk to the people who are already here.”
That’s when Eden reached out to local stand up comic and improviser George Maratos to collaborate and bounce ideas around. Though Eden had the initial plan and branding strategy for the comedy festival, it was with Maratos that the two formed the structure of the event and The Yukon Comedy Collective was born.
The society has since performed it’s first show The Roast of Captain America at Yukomicon and will be producing a Yukon Comedy festival beginning March 22 2018. For more information, go to www.YukonComedyCollective.ca or contact [email protected].