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All aboard the Capital Pride Comedy Cruise

Set sail with Winnipeg comic Al Rae, drag kings and queens

Zac Johnstone, community relations coordinator at Jer’s Vision, invites all hands on deck for a good cause.

When you have community partners like Yuk Yuk’s and Capital Cruises, putting on a comedy cruise is a nautical dream.

“People are going to have fun,” says Jodie McNamara, chair of Capital Pride. “It’s going to be a variety show . . . There’ll also be drag kings and queens and a couple of other surprises as well.”

Olivia Travel, a San Francisco-based company that offers lesbian cruises and resort holidays, was part of the inspiration for the comedy cruise.

“The Olivia Cruises have comics on them all the time,” McNamara says. “It seemed like a natural fit, and it’s also a good way to differentiate it from the Jer’s Vision cruise so people don’t feel like they’re going to the same thing over and over again.”

Local comedians will hit the stage along with Al Rae, a Winnipeg comic who came out in 2013 after ending his marriage of 23 years. In addition to his standup chops, Rae is known for TV writing — particularly for his work on Little Mosque on the Prairie — and for being the co-founder and artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.

Cruisers will rub elbows with one or two comedians from the Laugh Out Proud roster. McNamara can’t yet confirm who will be in attendance, but Elvira Kurt and Jessica Kirson are distinct possibilities. Kurt is Capital Pride’s out icon, an honour extended for being out in her public and private life, renowned in her field and raising the profile of LGBT people. Kirson, headliner for Laugh Out Proud, has been making waves in comedy since she left New Jersey for New York in 1999.

McNamara is happy to sum up the comedy cruise’s appeal: “Laughs, booze, food and Pride on a boat? I mean, I don’t know what more you want.”