Road trip chuckles: Kelowna comedians take stand-up show across Canada - InfoNews

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Road trip chuckles: Kelowna comedians take stand-up show across Canada

Velina Taskov will be laughing across Canada this summer.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Velina Taskov
April 28, 2019 - 5:30 PM

KELOWNA - It took one bad Tinder date for Velina Taskov to try stand-up comedy.

Over a year-and-a-half ago, Taskov matched with a man on the popular dating app and went to see his stand-up show.

"He bombed really bad," she said.

Taskov was honest with her date when he asked her opinion about his set: He said he wouldn't listen to critiques from someone who hasn't performed on stage. A week later, Taskov jumped on stage with a set and crushed it. Her date had to admit she was good.

"We've stayed friends," she said. "We still laugh about it."

Taskov, 32, is originally from Melbourne, Australia, but she's been plying her craft as a stand-up comedian in Kelowna for nearly two years. She's worked shows in the Okanagan, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles. She's built up enough momentum and material that she's launching an ambitious cross-country tour with two other local comedians next month.

Taskov, Andrew Verge, and Matt Baker are teaming up for Canada Comedy Jam, a summer-long tour that begins in Kelowna on May 31. They have several tour dates set for B.C. before they head east. While they don't have all their dates set up, they're hoping to push the tour as far as they can go.

"Our goal is to go to St. John's," Verge said.

Verge has been working the stand-up circuit for four years. He founded Comedy on the Verge, which connects audiences with upcoming comedy shows in the Okanagan. Verge, who used to work as a musician, has lived on the road for a long time as part of comedy tours. For Canada Comedy Jam, he wanted to do something special.

"It's a weird lifestyle [comedians] live," he said. "It would be cool to film it."

The trio will be creating a docuseries of their travels on the road, recording the places they visit, the people they meet, and the laughs along the way. They'll release videos periodically on their YouTube channel. Verge hopes to expose viewers to the varied world of Canadian comedy through the series.

"There are really funny people [in Canada]," he said. "It's an art."

Taskov, who works at a veterinarian clinic when she's not in front of a microphone, will be running a side project during the tour. She's creating a podcast about interviewing vet workers from across Canada.

"I'm interested to see what stories I find," she said.

Taskov mines her job at the vet clinic for laughs during sets. She's honed her skills at popular stand-up stomping grounds like Dakoda's Sports Bar and Grill, which she refers to as "the gym."

As is often the case with even seasoned comedians, Taskov has experienced the dreaded "bombing," the night where none of her material seems to work. While bombing is usually a painful experience, Taskov tries to learn from failure and move on.

"I have to laugh to myself and say, 'That sucked,'" she said.

Above all, Taskov loves to entertain people. She wants to put on the best show possible for the audiences who paid their hard-earned money for seats.

"I love those moments when you connect with people," she said.

Taskov will have a chance to connect with an audience next week as she headlines her first show at Dakoda's on May 4 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 and you can reserve a spot by calling 250-860-9500.

"I'm more excited than nervous to headline," she said.

After her headline show, Taskov will be back at Dakoda's on May 31 to kick off Canada Comedy Jam with Verge and Baker. Tickets are $15. Check out their Facebook page for show dates in Penticton, Vernon, and Kamloops. If you want to support their travels, check out their Kickstarter page.

The comedians will be bringing their dogs along for the ride this summer.
The comedians will be bringing their dogs along for the ride this summer.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Canada Comedy Jam

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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