EDvent/ Edmonton Comedy Battle, Episode I

A dozen of Edmonton's most foul-mouthed comics battle for bragging rights at this first-ever prickapalooza showdown


WARNING: If you can't handle a few curse words and touchy subjects, I recommend you skip over this post. Seriously...and don't say I didn't warn ya!

David Dempsey
LET'S see who's the biggest asshole! Essentially, that's what we found out at last week's inaugural Edmonton Comedy Battle (Feb. 8), hosted by The Hydeaway (10209-100 Ave.). As it turns out, Kelly Soloduka is the biggest prick of them all!

Not exactly surprising, if you know the bastard.

But, to be fair, there were plenty of other sons of bitches razing each other during the mockathon, an insult free-for-all slapped together by Aussie David "moved-here-for-a-girl" Dempsey and local comic Scott Belford.

"Belford and I were inspired to do this since they run a similar event in Calgary," Dempsey told I Heart. "Scott was going down to take on some Calgarian comedians in a two-on-two battle with another Edmonton comic, and we thought it would be a cool concept to try at the Hydeaway with some local Edmonton guys."

And that's exactly what they did, rallying up some of Edmonton's more foul-mouthed stand-ups to provoke each other with an onslaught of bitter--and some rather tame--insults. And nothing was off limits.

It was nearing 8:30PM when Dempsey, cloaked in ink and a pair of sneakers straight out of an episode of Glee, warmed up the mic, quipping briefly on how he followed a girl here from down under, though he denied us an explanation for them flashy runners of his. I joke, I kid.

Dempsey's keen in-between banter preceded every one-on-one battle of wits, five shameless showdowns in all. First up was my friend Fidge Ballantyne and her Toronto-born roomie Neil Rhodes, who took the brunt of the cunt-fest. And not just in that initial barrage against the lady who'll graciously take him home laterwards, but also...well, I'll get to that later.

Winner: Ballantyne.

Fidge Ballantyne
No more than 10 minutes later it was Chris Ade vs. Ken Hicks. I'd seen both comics prior to tonight's grill, and so wasn't at all surprised when Hicks--ironically--KO'd former MMA fighter Ade. Not that he didn't put up a good fight, partially rapping his way through, but Ade lacked the necessary sharp tongue that could pierce through Hicks' unforgiving ASSault. "He's wrecked more vaginas than cervical cancer," Hicks blistered, teasing Ade for his "pretty boy" presence.

Winner: Hicks.

Inside jokes continued to baffle the modest crowd, seemingly made up of local comics who all knew each other or at least of each other. They continued right into act III, when Kent Tilley went up against Welby Santos. Again, I had seen these guys in action before, so was eager to see them toss each other's salads, so to speak.

I've never seen such a placid onset ravage so entertainingly as that of Tilley's, his humdrum chops stealing the scrimmage. But the ethnically-ambiguous Santos was no door mat, sweating out offensive taunts as though he'd been studying them for weeks ahead of time. Perhaps he was his own weakest link though, laughing intensively at the expense of himself. Even he knew Tilley had it in the bag.

Winner: Tilley.

Kelly Soloduka, a guy I've known for about three years now (that's three more than I'd care to admit), was next in line, sharing the stage with one Jason Cooper. I'd been introduced to Cooper, of Nova Scotia (I know!), when Soloduka headlined The Hydeaway-hosted "Fuck You Comedy Show" last June, so was pretty confident in his upset.

But Cooper had definitely polished up his arsenal since "F.U.C.S.," holding his own up against the former "Funniest Person With a Day Job" runner-up. No, Soloduka couldn't win that, but he undoubtedly prick'd his way through to the next round this evening.

Winner: Soloduka.

Kelly Soloduka
The world's most inappropriate kindergarten teacher, Drew Behm--yet another a-hole I'd been exposed to before--had default to thank when he was announced victor for his mockery debate. Sterling Scott, the most "typical black guy" he's met, was M.I.A. And I'm not talking about the Sri Lankan rapper...I mean the SOB didn't even show up! Well, that's not entirely true. He walked through the doors once all acts had made their cases.

In his place was Rhodes, who amiably volunteered to--like Wayne Brady--"act black" and mimic Mr. Scott. It proved an advantage for Behm, who bit back like a pitbull in heat, though much of Rhodes' shame was self-inducing. Dempsey quickly congratulated Behm for going "up against the only guy who he could beat...no one."

Winner: Behm. (This may be the only time Behm sees the word "winner" preceding his name! I joke, I kid).

Somewhere amongst my 2nd or 3rd rum 'n' Coke, and recovering from the joint's unimpressive chicken-nacho platter, "meant to be alone forever" Matt Alaeddine broke things up with a 15-minute-ish stint that criss-crossed funny and ehh! Don't get me wrong, the guy's funny as fuck, but either he was a lil' off for the night or it just wasn't his crowd. For the most part, he won us over; it must've been his excessive self-mutilation, puncturing his ego with self-hating unpleasantries regarding mostly his blubbery physique. His words. Okay, my words.

It was during Alaeddine's set that Scott mosied in from the cold, too late to offend anyone from behind the mic. Oh well.

The five top dogs (Ballantyne, Hicks, Tilley, Soloduka, and Behm) swarmed the stage, and were each given the opportunity to degrade their peers, over illegal marriages, diabetes, and even something about a pigtail pussy?! From there, Dempsey narrowed the group down to the best of the worst, leaving the crowd's applause to vote between Soloduka and Hicks.

Overall Winner: Soloduka.

Turns out it was worth leaving class early for, laughing out loud at the expense of others. If you'd like a chance to see the next crop of local comics ripping into each other, stay tuned and we'll keep you updated on the next Edmonton Comedy Battle.

If you'd like to check out Dempsey (& 'dem shoes), he's headlining a show at The Hydeaway on Tuesday, February 22. But, on that same night, Soloduka will be part of "Comedy & Music Collide 3," at The Brixx Bar & Grill. Flip a coin, folks. As for Tilley, he'll be MC'ing a pair of shows in Sherwood Park tonight...stalk him via Facebook if you'd like the details.

Below is a video clip of Paul Brown introducing "Funniest Person With a Day Job" contestant Kent Tilley, at The Comic Strip in West Edmonton Mall. 


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