Comedy competition kicks off in Vancouver 0
Who's the funniest of them all? Patrick Maliha's The People's Champ of Comedy launches this week in a local competition pitting Canadian comics against each other as they vie for $30,000 in cash prizes. (SUBMITTED)
Summer is typically a desert wasteland for Vancouver comedy as locals stay outdoors and absorb what few rays of sunshine the city offers, according to veteran comic Patrick Maliha.
But the local comedian is doing his best to save the masses from harmful UV exposure beginning Monday night as Patrick Maliha's The People's Champ of Comedy kicks off in Vancouver.
Sixty comedians are competing for $30,000 in cash prizes at various venues Mondays to Thursdays until the end of August.
Audiences vote for their favourites - who co-sponsor 24 hours will profile - while wildcard berths give comics another shot at earning thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
"Even if you didn't make it through, you still have the chance of having your name drawn - just like in The Hunger Games," Maliha said.
The contest started from humble beginnings five years ago when the seasoned comic began putting up his own dollars to finance a comedy showdown and reinvigorate the Vancouver scene during the dead summer months.
Maliha said he no longer has to risk his own cash now that sponsors are putting thousands of dollars into the purse.
Cash prizes totalling $10,000 will be handed out to those who make it to the semi-finals and place in the top eight after the Aug. 25 finale at Edgewater Casino. The winner takes home $20,000.
"Probably a lot of comedians would pay off some debts if they won $20,000," said Vancouver stand-up Ben McGinnis, who's competing in The People's Champ.
He added most comics in the city perform stand-up comedy out of love for the game - not because they expect a big payday.
But Maliha said the prize money has drawn audition reels from every source imaginable.
Amateur Chris Thompson, who never before performed stand-up, filmed a submission from his Burnaby basement, while Toronto-based comic Trevor Boris sent in a clip from an appearance on TBS's Conan.
"Something like this," Maliha said, "it just kind of lets the rest of the country know we've got an amazing thing going on here."
A list of venues and ticket prices can be found at facebook.com/PeoplesChampVan.