Pink Comedy Night brings comedian Julien Dionne to Algonquin College

Dionne, originally from New Brunswick, is well known in comic circles around the country
Photo: Ben Fleguel
Julien Dionne jokes about how often people are on their cell phones.

Julien Dionne came to the college with fellow comedian Ben McKay on April 10 to support Jack.org’s initiative to raise mental health awareness.

“I was happy to come out and entertain in the name of raising awareness for a good cause,” said Dionne.

McKay, a fellow comedian originally from Toronto, said he hadn’t heard of Algonquin College. He looked it up and found that the college was described as “affordable.”

“That’s what I say, too,” joked McKay. “You could probably afford me.”

He broke the ice and quickly had the crowd laughing. McKay, who only has five years of experience, much of it being during the pandemic, did around 15 minutes of material and thought it went well.

However, both comedians commented during their performances that the atmosphere was different than what they were used to, on a Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the sunlight still creeping into the room around the hung black sheets.

McKay wrapped up his act and introduced Dionne, who has toured across Canada and even spent some time practising his craft in New York.

“You know it’s a packed house when you can hear individual answers,” said Dionne as he heard the crowd tell him variations of how their day was.

The Corner Lounge in the E-building might not have been full, but the 25 or so students who attended the event filled it with laughter.

Dionne took the opportunity to do many bits with specific audience members, and they joined in with some lighthearted heckling.

“You look like a clean Frank Gallagher,” said one audience member, referring to the character from the TV show Shameless.

“You look like the guy that sells weed to the Toronto Raptors,” retorted Dionne.

Dionne was ecstatic when he made a new female friend from the audience, whom he believed was hitting on him during her heckle.

“Is anyone recording this?” said Dionne. “My mom won’t believe it.”

Dionne performed nearly 45 minutes of comedy for the students before calling it quits, as he and McKay were on a tight schedule. They had to attend a comedy night at the Absolute Comedy Club, which was to be MC’d by McKay.

In an interview after the show, McKay said he always enjoys doing college gigs because it’s good to see what young people are like.

“Sometimes clubs are full with people a little bit older, so it’s nice to come and see how the material works with students,” said McKay.

Jack.org club leader at the college, Shannon O’Donohue, said it was the perfect way to help students who may be going through a tough time.

“I like the saying that laughter is the best medicine,” said O’Donohue.

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