'20 Years of Comedy in Alaska': Film documents the experiences of visiting comics
From Utqiagvik to Ketchikan, Nome to Dutch Harbor — and many communities in between — if a nationally recognized comedian performs in Alaska, there's a good chance Jerry Evans organized or promoted the show.
Evans directed a film that documents the experiences and anecdotes of visiting comedians over the years.
An Alaska Broadcasters Association hall of famer from Fairbanks, Evans has been performing and promoting comedy in Alaska for over 20 years. He says the journey began while working in television, where he promoted a one-night-only Kevin James show.
"It started working out real well and so it kind of evolved into a system where we would do some shows around Fairbanks for the weekend, inviting headlining comedians up," Evans explained. "It kinda went so well and so weird, that we decided to do it all around the state."
The experiences from traveling through Alaska with comics from the Lower 48 inspired his documentary, "20 Years of Comedy in Alaska."
"The [comedy] shows are always great, but kind of the funnest part about them was when the comedians were making fun of, or talking about, Alaska.
"So I thought, what a great idea for a documentary or comedy, so everything in this documentary is comedy about Alaska," Evans said.
It's an outsider's take on the Last Frontier, described as "a fish out of water" by Evans. And as a lifelong Alaskan, he understands the need for comic relief during the long, dark winter months.
"People just love to laugh, especially in the winter," he said. "That's one of the reasons we don't do comedy shows in the summer, because nobody wants to go inside in the summertime."
The film premiered Friday at the 49th State Brewing Company in downtown Anchorage. For more information about the documentary, visit AlaskaComedy.com.
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