Canadian Comedians Beat Americans to the Punch: Form First Association of Stand Up Comics to Lobby for Artist Rights
Our next Comedy Records showcase happens Monday (April 2) at New York Comedy Club. As always the lineup will feature a combination of New York and Toronto’s finest comedians with this month’s show doubling as an album release party for Sandra Battaglini’s LP, Baby Jeez. The album was recorded at the JFL 42 festival last September and debuts on Raw Dog Radio on Sirius XM this weekend.
Battaglini is an award-winning comedian and has been featured on national TV as well as several Canadian festivals including Just For Laughs. While she’s known to her peers as one of the most respected comedians in the country, the Toronto-based comic has recently gained attention off-stage by trying to fix Canada’s broken comedy industry.
Battaglini is the leading voice behind the Canadian Association of Stand Up Comedians. The group launched earlier this month alongside a petition, with goal of having stand up comedy recognized as an art form by the federal government and therefore eligible for artist grants.
Interrobang spoke with Battaglini learn more about The Association and its goals.
The Interrobang: What are some of the biggest challenges comedians in Canada face?
Sandra Battaglini: Canadian comedians have very little support in Canada. Canadian artists of other disciplines can apply for federal grants but stand up comics are excluded from this. There’s also no real comedy industry to speak of here. There’s a lot of talent and stage time but once a comedian’s headlined the major clubs or performed at Just for Laughs they’ve hit a ceiling.
Not to mention that most of the major clubs restrict comics from performing at other venues, which makes NO SENSE. It’s a highly unethical and incredibly unfair practice. Comedians appease this archaic way of doing business because they’re afraid of not getting work. I couldn’t buy into this anymore. Comedy in Canada is really a third world industry in a first world country.
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