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May. 21, 2022 | Saturday
Local News
Gearing up for the sixth annual Icebreakers Comedy Festival
Comedian Jeff Paul (Submitted/Christopher Aziz)

Niagara residents are being invited to “break the ice” with Jeff Paul and fellow comedians at this year’s Icebreakers Comedy Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Coinciding with the Niagara Icewine Festival, Icebreakers is a four-day event set to bring big-name comedians together for evenings of laughter from Jan. 23 to 26.

The festival, going into its sixth year, has grown in size and length, having begun as a two-day event.

Jeff Paul, comedian and organizer of the festival, says his friend Christophe Davidson started the venture. “[Davidson] started it a couple years back, he’s since moved on, but I’m still at the helm here. I used to run shows every month at Corks Winebar & Eatery, we decided to turn it into a little festival.”

Paul says he was contacted by organizers of the Icewine Festival to include it in the weekend after his friend Paul Harber, owner of Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, made the suggestion.

“[Harber] has a friend who is a comedian — one hand washes the other and now we’ve got a festival.”

Excited for the prospect of growth, Paul says turnout improves every year. This year’s CBC Laugh Out Loud Gala (taking place on the Saturday night) sold out three weeks in advance.

“Eventually we’d like to see it go into bigger venues. Right now, our big show is a 300-seater,” Paul said, adding he has an interest in partnering with the Shaw Festival in the future for “bigger shows, bigger names.”

Paul says the festival is something the town needs this time of year.

“It brings a little cheerfulness in the middle of winter – which is what the Icewine festival is all about. This is a tourist town, there’s not a lot of people coming out right now. I think it’s good for people coming to the town, but I also think it’s great for the locals. We have a lot of locals and a lot of repeat customers that come back every year. It’s something nice for the town.”

He says he’s looking forward to the event, especially Thursday night where he’ll be recording his first comedy album.

The other events won’t be disappointing either, Paul says. “We’ve got something for everyone.”

Paul said there a variety of different comedians and comedy styles. On opening night, Scott Faulconbridge will warm up the crowds with some of his wholesome light humour.

“He’s a safe comic, he’s not going to say anything too offensive. It’ll be a more wholesome night of comedy. Whereas the next night at Oast House, where I’m recording my album called Delightfully Dark, it’ll be a little more risqué. We have two shows Friday; a Comedy Records show case and the late show called The Meltdown. That’s the dirty one. That’s where we’re intentionally trying to be offensive – It’s not for the easily offended.”

Paul encourages patrons to pick up tickets early as shows have sold out every year.

To purchase tickets, visit