The grassroots movement to form The Association started with the frustration many stand-up comedians experiences when trying to work across Canada, as well as internationally. This sentiment was shared by Sandra Battaglini when denied arts funding and faced with thousands of dollars and bureaucratic red-tape to take her comedy into the U.S. American comedians, FYI, do not face the same restrictions when coming to Canada to perform.
Sandra wrote an open letter to Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, regarding the current state of stand-up comedy in Canada entitled: Just a Little Reciprocity. While he never responded, her Member of Parliament Julie Dabrusin did and eventually so did Heritage Minister, Mélanie Joly. Read her response here.
In the meantime, Sandra was a guest on AM 640’s “Inside Jokes”, a national radio show about the comedy industry, hosted and produced by the late Sandra Carusi. Feedback from listeners and other guests on the show demonstrated that something had to be done. Several people recommended we form a non-profit Association in order to present a more powerful, unified voice for Canadian stand-up comedians. Not long after that, an ad hoc Executive was formed to create an official Constitution & ByLaws, and thanks to this small group of Canadian comedians, the rest is history and the best is yet to come.