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Comedy for a Cause to hit the stage in Grande Prairie this weekend

Comedy for a Cause is a charity comedy show that will make a stop in Grande Prairie this weekend, with 50 per cent of the proceeds from ticket sales going to the Centre for Young Parents.

Alex Mackenzie is a standup comedian and the owner of ECL Productions. He says it is essentially a stand-up comedy tour across the country donating to different causes with what he calls some of the most talented comedians.

“Sophia Johnson is the host of the show. She’s been on Netflix and she’s an actor as well. Then we have Chris Griffin, not the guy from Family Guy,” he laughs. “Chris has been on Just for Laughs and CBC. We’ve also got Sunee Dhaliwal, he’s a national touring comedian, and myself as well. The combined experience of the group is about 35 years of performing.”

Mackenzie chose the Centre for Young Parents as the beneficiary of the show, based on his experience with kids.

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“The Centre for Young Parents always has a special place in my heart. I was a stepdad for five years to a beautiful little girl named Chloe. I remember when I first started doing standup comedy she was very supportive,” says Mackenzie. “She gave me a little purple dolphin and she told me that if I was ever performing and people weren’t laughing to bring the dolphin out and do the dolphin dance.”

Mackenzie started as a solo standup comedian and the more he performed, the more he realized it could be a good way to raise money and give back.

“Rather than just asking people for money or starting a GoFundMe, I thought this could really work. That way they can enjoy a night out and know that a portion of their money is going to a good cause,” he says.

Food Banks across Canada benefitted from the Hungry for Laughs Comedy Tour via ECL Productions, which began in 2019.

“We do a lot with them, for example we’ve raised money for the Revelstoke community connections foodbank, the Salvation Army food bank, and we’re looking at partnering with Food Banks Canada. We’ve also donated to Critteraid, which is an animal shelter. I love animals and I live in my RV with my dog.”

Alex Mackenzie at a Comedy for a Cause event with a furry friend, Finley (Supplied, Alex Mackenzie)

Another cause that is close to Mackenzie’s heart is mental health.

“We’ve also done work with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Like most people, comedians struggle with mental health. That’s another one that means a lot to me. In my old job at the pulp mill which I had for 12 years I was very depressed. After doing some therapy, I thought comedy was the best way forward.”

Even though the show isn’t until June 25th, Mackenzie says the response from the Grande Prairie community has been very positive.

“We’ve got a lot of engagement on the social media posts we’ve put out, a lot of people talking about it, including local media. The Sandman Hotel gave us some really good deals on rooms for the artists and production team. The Centre for Young Parents has been amazing too.”

The show happens on June 25th at 8 p.m. at Douglas J. Cardinal Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Bonnetts Energy Centre box office.

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