Prince Albert comedian lands dream gig

Perry Bergson
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Prince Albert’s Kelly Taylor, who will soon be performing at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, will perform at Baileys on Thursday at 9 p.m. He’ll be sharing the stage with Stu Hughes.

Prince Albert’s Kelly Taylor has earned an invitation to comedy’s biggest show next month.

The Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, perhaps the most highly regarded international comedy event in the world, reached out to Taylor last Thursday.

“It’s the Stanley Cup,” Taylor says. “It’s the ultimate one.”

Other well-known comedians that Taylor will be sharing the bill with include Lewis Black, Ron White and Kathleen Madigan.

Taylor had earlier performed at the Just For Laughs show in Vancouver in 2006, where he appeared in the homegrown competition. He emerged as one of the two winners and received a bunch of bookings as a result. And even though Jimmy Kimmel liked him, Taylor failed to capitalize on the opportunity to tape a video that he could send out as his calling card.

He says he was never happy with the results and soon a year had passed.

“You have to hit while the frying pan is hot,” he says.

One of the problems with getting onto the Just For Laughs stage is that you have to audition in Toronto or Vancouver, which is both costly and hard to arrange with Taylor’s busy schedule.

He did a showcase in Toronto in November in front of the Just For Laughs representatives and also people from the Halifax Comedy Festival and the Investors Group Tour.

The latter two quickly booked him but the big fish didn’t bite right away.

“Montreal is a different thing altogether,” Taylor says. “Montreal is all of the biggest comics in the world, the biggest industry guys, agents, managers. I started to see a few guys mentioning that were doing Just For Laughs so I thought -- it was already June -- ‘Aw man!’ I thought it was done.”

The old line was that if you did well at Montreal’s Just For Laughs a couple of decades ago, that people were handing out sitcoms.

Times have changed but Taylor was thrilled when the phone call finally came.

“I was golfing and my phone went,” Taylor says. “I looked and went ‘Right on! Excellent!’”

It could be a tremendous door opener for Taylor, who recognizes the opportunity.

“Anything can happen there,” he says. “It’s the one time of the year when something can happen. You can have a great show somewhere else but there’s no one there scouting it. Every one is there (in Montreal.) You don’t know what could happen.”

Taylor has another acting job coming up in August in New York. He was actually on his way to study with his acting and dialect coach when he found time for an interview.

Another project that he had been called about was a Canadian show for HGTV.

He starred in a Canadian movie called Sure Shot Dombrowski.

But the money remains on the road doing corporate and college gigs along with comedy clubs.

The married father of four -- aged 12, seven, four and one -- admits that it makes it harder to travel. That’s part of the reason that he remains in Prince Albert instead of moving his busy career to a larger centre.

“I’d be leaving my family either way and they don’t know anyone in New York or L.A.,” he says.

A fun sideline for Taylor recently has been performing at charity golf tournaments organized by current and former NHLers.

After doing a great set at his first NHL event, he made friends with a number of players and since done more tournaments.

Taylor met former Prince Albert Raider Scott Hartnell at one of the events, and received a call last fall from the forward after the Philadelphia Flyers got off to a dreadful start.

Hartnell flew Taylor down to Philadelphia to help loosen the team up.

“I did a show for them in their video room after practice,” he says.

The Flyers went on to make the playoffs.

Local comedy fans will get their final chance to see him for the summer at Baileys on Thursday. He’ll be performing with Stu Hughes.

Taylor laughs when he describes Hughes.

“He doesn’t know what he’s going to say as he talking so that’s why it’s funny for me to watch because I know he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about half the time,” Taylor says. “I’m not going to lie. He’s a real hit and miss.”

The show begins at 9 p.m.

But for Taylor, the prize awaits in Montreal with the shows he’ll play between July 21-27.

While it’s a golden opportunity, Taylor is keeping it in perspective.

“There are always times when it kind of seems like nothing is coming in,” he says. “It is exciting when you know something might happen. At the end of the day, if nothing does happen, I’m still doing the same thing that I love.”


Organizations: Prince Albert, Investors Group Tour, Philadelphia Flyers NHL

Geographic location: Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto New York Philadelphia

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