In 2008, when comedian Dan Quinn was looking for an excuse to go on a snowboarding trip, he came up with a great one.
“I wanted to do this little tour where I would go from ski hill to ski hill and play the small little bars and what a fun adventure that would be,” said Quinn from his Vancouver home just before last week’s World Junior Championship gold medal game.
The result – the Snowed In Comedy Tour, now in its third year, which is making its way to Revelstoke this Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Of course, an idea like that is too good to keep to yourself and soon enough Quinn had his friends wanting in. Glenn Wool was the first to come knocking. Then they mentioned the idea to Craig Campbell and Ed Byrnes and all of a sudden they were up to a gang of four.
That led to another problem: finding venues big enough to handle the big names on board.
“We can’t do small little bars any more – we have one guy who’s a multi-millionaire on the show,” said Quinn.
The solution? “We worked out a plan where we’d do the small little bars during the week and on the weekends we’d play the large theatres.”
The first year of the tour – 2009 – started off small with only nine shows on the circuit and last year they did 15 shows.
Now in it’s third year, the tour currently consists of Quinn, Campbell, Wool and new comer Phil Nichol, who is replacing Byrnes. The quartet will be playing 23 shows, and will squeeze in 20 days of skiing in between.
Each comedian will do about a 30 minute set.
These aren’t your Joe-schmo open mic night comedians either: Quinn won the Canadian comedy competition at Just for Laughs and has performed on CBC and the Comedy Network, Campbell performs to sold-out theatres in England, Wool won the Best of Fest prize at the Sydney Comedy Festival in Australia and Nichol is also an award winner.
“It’s something for everybody – each person would have their favorite but everybody liked the whole show,” said Quinn.
The four comedians all bring different styles to the tour and they all try to vary their acts so you’re not hearing similar jokes on similar topics, said Quinn.
“We have enough material each that we can adjust our shows,” he said. “I’ll notice what direction guys are going and I’ll do something a little bit different.”
This being a tour built around a snowboarding vacation I asked Quinn if he ever thought of writing a snowboarding comedy movie in the vein of Hot Dog: The Movie, Ski Patrol or Ski School.
It turns out he has. “I would love to, and be in it. I even thought of funny clips,” he said. “I think it would be fun to play the old grizzled veteran of the snowboarding world with the young hot shot coming up.”
The movie would make fun of the cliched save-the-ski-hill plot, said Quinn. One of the scenes he envisions is much like classic Simpsons’ scene where Homer repeatedly falls down a cliff, though with a darker element to it.
“One of the funny bits I thought you could do was take a guy up who’s not sure, telling him, ‘You’ll be safe, you’ll be safe,’” said Quinn chuckling. “Then he goes off and dies in the worst fall ever. A hundred footer – boom, boom, boom.”
The Snowed in Comedy Tour is in Revelstoke at Outabounds on Jan. 18. Tickets are $25 and doors are at 8:30 p.m.