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  • Writer's pictureJ.R. Bjornson

Reflecting on The 24th Annual FUNNYFEST A Night of Laughter, Learning, and Networking

Updated: May 1

On Saturday, April 27, at 7 PM, I found myself at the Kill Kenny Irish Pub in Calgary, Alberta, eagerly anticipating my participation in the 24th annual FUNNYFEST. Despite not clinching the top spot in the competition, the experience was rich with laughter, networking opportunities, and personal growth.

The last time I dipped my toes into the world of comedy competitions was back in August 2019 at the "So You Think You're Funny" Red Deer competition. Fast forward to 2024, and here I am, once again, ready to share my comedic talents with the world.

While the victory eluded me, I didn't walk away feeling defeated. For me, stand up comedy isn't solely about winning; it's about spreading joy and connecting with people through laughter. Every comedian who graced the stage that night, myself included, brought something unique to the table, making us all winners in our own right.

Networking proved to be a silver lining amidst the competition. I had the pleasure of meeting Tara, a fellow comedian and show producer, who graciously offered me a slot at her venue on May 29, 2024. To me, this opportunity was a triumph in itself, demonstrating that every setback carries the potential for growth and new opportunities.

One aspect of comedy competitions that always gets my heart racing is the nerves and pressure to perform flawlessly under judgment. Yet, I can't help but wonder if the absence of competition would allow me to shine even brighter. The fear of judgment sometimes harkens back to my school days, where nervousness often sabotaged my performance.

Despite the nerves, participating in the FUNNYFEST was an enriching experience. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the FUNNYFEST committee for orchestrating such a fantastic event and to the dedicated volunteers who guided me onto the stage. Your support and professionalism did not go unnoticed, and I appreciate your efforts in ensuring a smooth experience for everyone involved.

Navigating the stage as a blind comedian comes with its own set of challenges, but with each performance, I aim to challenge misconceptions and foster understanding about life with visual impairment. My comedy isn't just about eliciting laughs; it's about offering a glimpse into a world often misunderstood.

As I bid farewell to Calgary and return to my quiet comedy life in Red Deer, I carry with me fond memories of a city that welcomed me with open arms and embraced my unique brand of humor. To those who laughed at my "Blind Guy" jokes, thank you for embracing the lightheartedness and joining me on this journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

Stay tuned for details on my upcoming show on May 29, where I'll continue to share my perspective on life, laughter, and the occasional mishap of being blind. Until then, Calgary, thank you for the memories, and I'll see you again soon.

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