COMEDY: ‘Herlarious’ night of laughs in Surrey to mark International Women’s Day
SURREY — Four women will hit the stage in Surrey this Thursday (March 9) to get people laughing in celebration of International Women’s Day, which is actually marked the day before, on March 8, but that’s OK.
As planners of the show promise, it should be a “herlarious” night of comedy at Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage during the annual event, dubbed “I Am Woman, Hear Me Laff.”
Sarah Hagen, a classical pianist who has turned her attention to comedy, will emcee the show, to feature headliner Kate Davis, middler Larke Miller and opener Katrina Bennett.
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The truly “local” comic among them is Bennett, who lives on the Surrey-Langley border with her two young kids.
On stage, Bennett’s single-motherhood status is a source of comedy, as is her recent battle with cancer and a rather nasty divorce that followed.
Her bio elaborates: “Best known for her personal (and sometimes uncomfortable) experiences, mixed with brutally honest commentary, Katrina will tell you how it is, and then some.”
After dabbling in comedy during her early 20s, and then “chickening out,” Bennett got serious about performing about three years ago.
At the time, she dealt with a cancer diagnosis – non-Hodgkin lymphoma – while her friend, Ashlyn, was re-diagnosed with breast cancer.
“(Doing comedy) was just a thing where you have to deal with the potential of having three months to live,” Bennett deadpanned in an interview with the Now. “(Ashlyn) and I were going through treatment at the same time – she was declining while I was going through a stem-cell transplant and sort of waiting to see if my treatment worked or not.
“We got talking back and forth and she was like, ‘You have to promise me that when you get better’ – those are her words – ‘that you’re going to get back on stage, because really, what’s scarier than this shit?’ So I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll do that,’ and then she passed away, and two days later I had my all-clear. A couple months after that, my marriage dissolved and yeah, I started writing.”
Without question, Bennett felt good to fulfill a promise to her departed friend and also pursue a passion of hers, of performing comedy on stage.
“Oh yeah, it was really cathartic, and it probably saved me, because you don’t realize how awful divorce is going to be. That actually felt a little bit worse than cancer.”
Today, Bennett also works a “day job” with an insurance company in the Guildford area.
Having played local comedy clubs over the past couple of years, she’ll be making her big-stage Surrey debut at the “I Am Woman, Hear Me Laff!” show. She earned the opening slot after silver-medaling at the B.C.’s Funniest Female contest in both 2014 and 2015.
“This is my Surrey debut, for a big venue anyway, and it’s exciting, yeah,” Bennett said. “There aren’t a lot of comedy rooms on this side of the bridge, although people have tried to do comedy nights here and there. Most of the shows are downtown (Vancouver), of course.”
Hard work is required to become a good comedian, and Bennett knows what it takes to get to the next stage of her career.
“There’s so much that happens before a show – a lot of writing, rewriting and then also just working on your delivery, finding the right tweaks, the right takes, getting comfortable with your stage presence, getting the right plays on words, where to pause, where to keep going, all that,” she related. “It takes some time to develop that, to get a good seven (minutes of performance time), a good 15. I’m not a headliner by any means, but I recognize that.”
It’s a process to get there.
“I’m comfortable doing a good 20 to 25, but it’s taken a long time. In the beginning, everybody wants to come watch and support and then you’re in it, in the first year, the second year, they’re like, ‘Are you going to tell all the same jokes?’ It’s like, I might add a couple more but you’re still working on your timing and delivery of those jokes. It takes time.”
Tickets range from $25 to $40 for “I Am Woman, Hear me Laff,” which starts at 8 p.m. at the arts centre. For show details, call 604-501-5566 or visit Tickets.Surrey.ca. The venue is located at 13750 88th Ave., at Bear Creek Park.