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YK comic performs for live audience at festival

Over the past few months, Jade Halcyon has become more accustomed to performing to her plants than in front of an audience.

“Comedy is really a conversation between performer and audience, almost like a dialogue,” she said. “When it’s just me in my living room, it’s quite different.”

That will soon change for the Yellowknife based comic, originally from Vancouver Island, who will be performing for a physical audience when she travels to Iqaluit as one of the live-performers for the Arctic Comedy Festival, happening from October 7 to 10.

Halcyon is travelling with two other comics to Nunavut, to perform live shows to a reduced capacity audience on October 9 and 10. She won the Arctic Comedy Festival competition last year, and is being sponsored to return to the festival and perform four shows.

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This will be the first time in a while Halcyon has had a physical audience. She has only been able to perform once in front of a crowd during the pandemic.

She has tried having a friend watch her via FaceTime, putting them on mute when she was recording her online set for the upcoming Arctic Comedy Festival. Timing the pauses was difficult, but having at least some form of call and response was helpful, said Halcyon.

Halcyon is a self-proclaimed amateur comic. She works as a substitute teacher and is returning to school to study to become a psychologist. She has also worked with the Dope Experience, a travelling arts education group.

Performing comedy is more about enjoyment for Halcyon — any paycheque is a bonus. Although, writing jokes has become challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are at an abysmal time in human history — there’s a lot to be hopeful and grateful about,” she said. “But there’s also some dark moving forces that are being felt across the world.”

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Halcyon said it helps that she tends to stray away from social commentary in her performances. Her current set builds off personal experiences to argue how everybody needs therapy.

She also tries to remember the difference between a tragedy and comedy is the protagonist ends up being okay, something she tries and remembers in her own life.

“My life is a bit of a joke, there’s always something funny going on,” said Halcyon. 

“The need for comedy is even more important now, we need to remember to laugh because laughing together helps build shared experience and positive endorphins, and I think we could all use that right now.”


The original version of this story said Halcyon was a Yellowknife native. She was born on Vancouver Island. The story has been changed to reflect this. We regret the error.

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