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Standup students to find laughter in the difficult on Oak Bay stage

Laughtercise Comedy Show launches a dozen comedians aged 19 to 90 on March 2
Comedian Kirsten Van Ritzen presents her adult comedy students making their stand up comedy debuts in the Sports View Lounge on March 2 at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre. (Courtesy of Kirsten Van Ritzen)

Kirsten Van Ritzen promises gut-busting laughter courtesy her latest class of comedians.

A versatile Canadian actor and playwright, Van Ritzen also has a decade of experience seeing potential in her standup students.

“I love it because it attracts such a diverse range of people,” she said. “They always do a really amazing performance.”

Van Ritzen will act as the host when her latest cast of 12 to 14 students take the Sports View Lounge stage at Oak Bay Rec on March 2. The first-time standup comedians hail from all walks of life and range in age from 19 to 90.

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“This particular group skews to definitely more women than men, and I would say women of a certain age who have a lot to say,” Van Ritzen said. “This will be regular folks who are for the most part trying standup for the first time.”

Relationships will likely appear in the repertoire – and be just as diverse as the people shilling their content – with dating, marriage and divorce all being in the comedic crosshairs. Feminism could make an appearance and a few people tackle living with OCD or PTSD in their acts. If you can find humour in tough topics, it’s an incredible way to engage with an audience, Van Ritzen said.

“I encouraged people to talk about life challenges they’ve faced or are living with.”

She teaches them the craft of writing to illicit as much laughter as possible, and the audiences tend to be supportive. After all, comedy shines a light on the human condition.

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“Ultimately it’s about finding humour in our shared experience. That’s why I enjoy doing it and why I enjoy facilitating others to have this amazing experience,” she said.

It seems to work, over the decade she’s seen many an audience blown away by the rookie performers. The latest group takes the stage at the upstairs lounge at 1975 Bee St. on March 2.

Tickets to Laughtercise Comedy Show are $20 and available online at

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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