March 25th, 2019

Brew Ha-Ha pairs craft brews with laughs

By Medicine Hat News on August 9, 2018.

Stan Ashbee

For the Medicine Hat News

There’s going to be a Brew Ha-Ha this Saturday night, as stand-up comedians Kevin Farley and Steve Hytner co-headline a night of craft brew sampling and laughs at the Canalta Centre. Local comedian Stephanie Foley will also be featured. This unique, entertaining and first-time event will combine the growing popularity of craft brews paired with live comedy for guests 18 and up. With the purchase of a ticket, guests will receive tickets to sample various beers, ciders and meads from various breweries.

Farley, who has performed at many notable comedy venues throughout North America, has also starred in films including “Black Sheep” (with his late brother Chris) and “The Waterboy” with Adam Sandler. The comedian was previously in Medicine Hat with SNL alum Norm Macdonald.

“That was fun. I had a good time,” he said.

According to Farley, his set includes material from his life and about growing up in the American midwest. “I talk a little bit about Chris and my family, I talk a little bit about weight problems and relationships — things that people know.”

These days, Farley added he’s out on the road pretty much every weekend carving out a stand-up career, in an industry in the midst of a resurgence.

“I think a lot of people are coming back in to it just because it’s such a pure art form. You either laugh or you don’t. I think people identify with that purity of communication rather than all the texting and e-mailing. I think it’s having a bit of a resurgence because of that reason,” he explained, adding Netflix, YouTube and an assortment of comedy specials and clips definitely help keep the live comedy scene vibrant.

“It’s easier to see the kind of person you want to see and you can get to know their comedy easier. That’s really helped out stand-up.”

Farley also keeps busy with his iTunes podcast, “Kevin Farley On the Road,” where he talks to local comics. He’s also a featured voice on the animated Netflix show, “F is for Family.”

“It has Bill Burr, Laura Dern and Sam Rockwell and a lot of great people on that show,” he said, adding it’s always a privilege to work on the show.

As for his return visit to Alberta, Farley believes Canadians are the nicest people on Earth. “I really enjoy going up to Canada just because the people are so nice and it’s a beautiful country,” he said.

Aside from headlining comedy clubs and corporate shows, Steve Hytner has spent many years on-camera appearing on many hit TV shows including “Modern Family,” “Friends,” and as Kenny Bania on “Seinfeld.”

Hytner is also no stranger to Canada, as a lot of his on-camera work was filmed in Vancouver. Hytner said he tries to take his son skiing in Whistler at least once a year, as well. This will be the first time Hytner has been in the Hat and the first time he’s shared the stage with Farley.

“We’ve never actually worked together because we both headline,” he noted, adding he’s been out with Farley and they have mutual friends. “He’s a great guy.”

Hytner also has a syndicated radio feature entitled, “Please Don’t Hit Send.”

“I basically make fun of a celebrity tweet every day. It’s a one-minute feature with a wrap-around commercial on it,” he said, adding he also has a brand new podcast called, “That’s Gold with Steve Hytner,” which had a soft opening in July.

“I have a 13-year-old son. I like to spend as much time as I can with him. The podcast and the radio feature all allow me to stay near my boy.”

According to Hytner, he took 20 years off from stand-up in New York City in the 1980s and moved to Los Angeles to focus on an acting career, but he has found a new found love for stand-up.

“As I wanted to spend more time with my son, believe it or not, stand-up pulls you away less than acting does. Acting pulls you away for bigger chunks. I went back to stand-up and I love it more than I ever did. I think it has to do with when I was in my 20s my whole act was why won’t she touch me, which was the only life experience I had at that time. Now, I’m a lot older now and nobody still wants to touch me, but at least I have more to talk about,” he joked.

His set now, Hytner explained, consists of talking about kids and what’s going on in his life. He also talks a bit about his time on “Seinfeld.” “People just want to hear about it, so I do a little chunk on that.”

As for the current live stand-up scene, Hytner believes there’s many avenues for comedians to be able to monetize their craft, but there is a challenge.

“The challenge is your material gets burned real fast, as opposed to how it did when I first started in the 1980s. There was none of that. You could work on your set, hone your set and if you did get lucky and get on ‘The Tonight Show’ or something you’d only be burning six or seven minutes of your set. Where now, everything gets put out there so quickly,” he said.

Tickets for Brew Ha-Ha are available at Ticketmaster.ca, charge by phone 1-855-985-5000 or in-person at the Canalta Centre Box Office. Tickets are $29.99 or $39.99 plus service charges. Brew Ha-Ha is the finale to the Mad Hatter Comedy Festival.

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