June 25th, 2024

Derek Edwards bringing his brand of humour to the Yates

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on June 1, 2024.

Submitted photo Award-winning Canadian comedian Derek Edwards is set to step onto the stage at the Yates theatre next weekend.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

When Derek Edwards steps onto the stage at the Yates theatre on June 9, he will surely feel right at home.

And it’s not just because the award-winning Canadian comedian has played the venue on previous connections, it’s because Edwards has a taste for Lethbridge dating back decades when he previously worked here briefly.

Edwards – a native of the northern Ontario community of Timmins which also produced NHL stars Frank and Peter Mahovlich, former Alberta premier Jim Prentice and a certain country singer by the name of Shania Twain – called Lethbridge home briefly in his youth when he worked at a local pizzeria.

So Edwards is well familiar with the city and of course its winds, as he noted in a recent interview.

Edwards, the only Canadian to ever win the Invitational Comedy Competition in Vail, Colorado and a 17-time performer at the Just For Laughs Festival, is hitting the city on a western Canada tour that takes him from Brandon, Man. on June 6 to Moose Jaw on June 18. The Lethbridge stop is one of three in Alberta, the others being St. Albert and Red Deer.

The name of his tour is “In Praise of the Ostrich” and when he hits the stage for his 90-minute routine, comedy fans can expect to hear numerous personal stories and observations.

“With an easy conversational style, Derek reluctantly pulls his head out of the sand and launches into commentary on the influx of pot stores, self-driving cars, gambling tips, the challenge of staying youthful … plus dressing warm,” says a press release from show producer Shantero Productions.

During a telephone interview recently, Edwards touched on his stop in Lethbridge to to visit family who lived here.

Travelling with a friend in a B210 Datsun pickup, Edwards briefly stopped in Lethbridge before his springtime adventure had him heading to the Banff Springs Hotel where numerous youth were experiencing their first foray away from home.

“I still like to think I have my finger on the pulse of Lethbridge,” he said.

He remembers pizzeria staff on their days off would sit and drink free coffee “and I thought how very bizarre,” he recalled.

With touring a big part of a comic’s life, the 66-year-old Edwards said after COVID restrictions ended, the whole fraternity was feeling rusty with no performances for so long.

“You were locked in your room or where ever you were for the disease period so practice was hard to come by,” said Edwards.

“There were occasions where I could have Skyped a show but I just didn’t have it in me. It’s just not like being there – I can’t accept any kind of fee at all for a Skyped show. Maybe some guys are good at it, I just never felt I was so it was two years of nothin’. It’s not quite like skating, it takes a little longer,” added Edwards.

After so many years on the road, Edwards said he did wonder what fans would be like upon his return to the stage but the strife was mainly internal.

“I always get so anxious before a show anyway, it’s the way of the world for me. But you develop a certain armour. It’s like you’re putting on a leaded vest under your clothes and nothing gets through,” said Edwards.

While he has plenty of material after several years of world turmoil, Edwards says audiences don’t necessarily want to hear his list of concerns.

“It would be easy just to stand and gripe about this and that,” said Edwards.

After more than three decades of performing, Edwards still enjoys hitting the road.

Fans can expect to see Edwards “tap dancing” through all of the new material he’s been experimenting with. That material, he joked, includes “a world of bad advice” and lots of chuckles and giggles.

The show does contain some political stuff and commentary about western Canada “but nothing weighty, just the fun stuff. It’s just an escape hatch – forget all your troubles and have some stupid laughs,” said Edwards.

Tickets are available at the Ticket Centre, 403-329-7328.

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