Fort McMurray is pretty lucky because although it has taken disastrous hits in recent times – naturally and economically, there are people who live in the community that have the best remedies to help us face adversity. Let’s call them the Heroes with Humour. Renee Manners is one of these people.
With wit and charm, she’s been a famous face in our local comedy club at Bailey’s Pub for the past four years. Not only a professional comedian, but she’s also a certified grief and recovery specialist who, after the 2016 Wildfire, discovered she had the abilities to help others cope with trauma through laughter.
Renee gets her jollies by bringing laughter into the lives of others. And though she is used to standing on a stage, she put her jokes and satirical sketches on paper for Your McMurray Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50 edition.
Introducing Renee Manners…
Growing up in toxic environments, I quickly discovered my ability to use laughter and comedy to ease tensions and encourage happiness in those around me. It became clear to me as I grew that I could use my sense of humour to disarm negativity. I’ve taken this knowledge to the next level and started using it as a tool to educate others on grief, emotional awareness, and self-control.
I was lucky to be naturally equipped with a quick wit and, I’m happy to share that my nine-year-old son doesn’t fall far behind. We’ve had so much fun together and he truly makes me laugh very regularly.
With the holidays approaching and as a single mom with a single income, we get creative with gifts. We still want to show generosity, but we don’t have a lot of money to work with, so we usually bake or cook. I am teaching my son to be creative in his own way, as well.
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. He’s been on a dip kick lately, discovering new dips that he thinks he’s going to market. We haven’t touched on plagiarism, yet.
The other night he pipes up, “Maybe we can make little dips for people for gifts?” as he’s mixing up his famous taco dip top-secret recipe of salsa, sour cream and cheese mixture.
“We need unique packaging,” he said. “So, it stands out on the shelves at the grocery store. May we put them in little ships? I’ve never seen a dip in a ship. Plus, it rhymes!”
Excited, he announces that for the holidays everyone will be getting: “Dip Ships!” What a character.
The holidays can be tricky financially if you’re not careful. However, I feel very lucky to live Here in Fort McMurray. I’ve been given opportunities that I just wouldn’t have had back home in B.C. I’m so grateful for how generous this town has been to me.
I’ve been able to get out of debt three times, so far.
It was quite the culture shock for me moving here, coming from Surrey, B.C. It took a long time to get over the fact that no one here needs to chain up their barbecues!
With anything good, comedy takes practice…
And, you’ve gotta know my son is putting in the work, practicing his joke writing. As his only audience member, I’ve got a lot of practice groaning because of this.
We are usually funniest when we are not trying. He’s caught me off guard a few times with some hilarity. I’m quick to pay for it, as he strives to achieve more laughter, not knowing that what was comical was not something he could have rehearsed, just a part of who he is.
And after many, many, failed attempts, I must say he’s picking up the skill and has written and sold some of his own thought out jokes!
Here is one:
“Why did the chicken say when he was leaving the restaurant? I need a bawwwwwks.”
Not bad eh.
You know the biggest advantage a comedian can have is an engaged, responsive audience. We feed off the energy. The more excitement and laughter we receive, the more we can really perform and open up.
The energy exchange becomes like a choreographed dance. Writing these jokes for you all today has been just the opposite of that!
If a comedian is standing in the woods writing jokes down for a magazine do the people reading it make a sound?
What a treat to share a few of my thoughts! If I’ve gotten a little smirk out of you while reading this feel free to come and check out a comedy show in real life! On top of random comedy shows around town, I also produce two fantastic events reoccurring monthly.
Check out BAD MANNERS ART NIGHTS and the BAD MANNERS BINGO NIGHTS. These events are what you assume them to be only with a very adult cheeky twist. You are going to want to run through the disclaimer before attending, but here is the short version: We offer unlimited chicken wings, laughter, prizes and a fun, carefree, friendly environment to relax, have fun, let go of your worries and responsibilities for a few hours! You can find us on social media under BAD MANNERS or Renee Manners Comedy!