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'Laughter the best medicine to move away from COVID'

Comedian Pete Zedlacher performs in Sault Ste. Marie on November 27 at Soo Blaster
2021-03-22 Pete Zedlacher
There’s nothing like being in a comedy audience, says Pete Zedlacher

If anyone needs a laugh right now, it’s everyone.

With Covid quarantines and lockdowns behind us for now, stand-up comic Pete Zedlacher has been back on stage and is noticing that laughter really is the best medicine.

“I’m getting so many compliments after the shows with people saying I didn’t realize how much I missed other human beings in an experience watching a comedian perform and sharing the laughter,” he said.

“It really reminds us that we are all part of this big tribe and being separated from each other has been very trying.”

Zedlacher will be performing in Sault Ste. Marie on Nov. 27 at Soo Blaster.

Born and raised in Wawa, Zedlacher has fond memories of driving into the Sault as a boy, seeing the bright lights of the city … and the water tower.

“Sault Ste. Marie was a big city to me. It was exciting when I got to the Sault,” he said.

“Soon as I saw the water tower coming in and then the stop lights. Oh my God it was exciting. And then you’d go to the Station Mall and ride the escalators at Sears. It was all very exciting.”

But, seriously, folks, Zedlacher, who now lives in Calgary, says getting back to live shows couldn’t come soon enough. 

Just as many saw their workplaces move online, so did Zedlacher, and he’s had about one Zoom call too many.

“I did some Zoom shows where you perform stand-up comedy into your laptop and people tune in from their living rooms, and it sounds just as fun as I’ve described,” he said.

“People are not apt to laugh while they’re staring into their laptop. When you put a wi-fi signal and two screens in front of it, it’s very removed."

Inspired by comedians like David Letterman and television shows like Saturday Night Live, there is one true comic that stands out as having influenced Zedlacher’s decision to become a comedian – Fozzie Bear.

“I was a very little boy, and I was watching The Muppet Show and Fozzie Bear said he was a comedian and I turned to my mom and said, ‘What does that mean he’s a comedian?’ and my mom told me that’s his job, that’s what he does, he makes people laugh, and she said I sat there for a couple of seconds and nodded and said, ‘Yup, I’m going to be a comedian.’”

Fast forward 30 years to a Just For Laughs comedy festival that brought it all full circle for Zedlacher.

“The Muppets are hosting the gala and I had to follow Fozzie Bear. I’m in the wings and I’m watching Fozzie Bear warm up the audience before I hit the stage,” he said.

Zedlacher has won many awards including a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Male Standup and a Sirius XM Top Comic Award. He has had multiple Canadian Comedy Award nominations and two Gemini nominations. 

Besides stand-up comedy, Zedlacher also has many credits in television writing and acting. Highlights include The Ron James Show, The Hour With George Stroumboulopoulos, The Jon Dore Television Show, and CBC Radio’s The Debaters.

Zedlacher also appeared on a few episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation, playing a cop alongside Aubrey Graham, aka Drake.

Zedlacher jokes about that time, saying he encouraged Drake to pursue his musical dreams after the then-actor said he wanted to try his hand at rap and hip hop.

“I told him he should do it. And he said yeah? And I said yeah, you’ve got a real shot at it and he looked at me and said thanks, man, and I said, cool, and you know, two years later he’s Drake. He’s like the biggest recording artist in Canadian history and he still has not thanked me.”

Zedlacher is looking forward to his show in the Sault in a few weeks and hopes many will get out of the house and share in the laughter.

“I can’t stress enough how important that is for us as human beings to share in moments like that,” he said.

“There’s nothing like being in a comedy audience and there’s that loud laugher off to your left who makes you laugh even harder, and just the energy in the room between the performer and the audience. It’s a magical experience that can’t be matched on Netflix or CBC Radio, you know, it’s got to be seen live.”

Get your tickets online.

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About the Author: Lisa Dobrovnik

Lisa Dobrovnik is a freelance writer based in Sault Ste. Marie
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