FAIRBANKS - Local comedians Jerry Evans and Glen Anderson know that life in Fairbanks abounds in comedy.
“If you just take a look around you there’s always a good joke to tell, and not necessarily at someone’s expense,” Evans said.
Whether they laugh with you or at you, Evans and Anderson are pulling out their rubber chickens and inviting eager young entertainers to the 9th Annual Junior Funny Fest workshops for a week of intensive laughing, followed by a finale performance Friday night under the bright lights of the Pioneer Park Theatre.
“Kids are naturally funny,” Evans said. “One of the goals of this workshop is just to help kids find their funny and teach them how to present it to an audience.”
From video game woes to vegetable wars at the dinner table to overprotective mothers, the kids involved in the workshop, for the most part, are taking their personal life experiences to a more humorous level.
“There is a lot of variety out there when it comes to kids’ comedy,” Evans said. “We just want the kids to be themselves and embrace their personalities.”
But the workshops are about more than just telling a few jokes, Evans explained.
“These workshops help kids build confidence and overcome their fears about public speaking,” he said. Though it may seem hard to believe now, Evans said he was incredibly shy as a teenager.
“I would have loved to have been involved in something like this at my age,” he said. “It builds confidence and lets kids have fun, too.”
Though the three-day workshop is full, anyone can attend Friday’s performance for a round of good G-rated laughs and see a week’s worth of hard work put to the test.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that helps folks get out and beat the winter blues,” Anderson said.
All proceeds from Friday’s performance will benefit the Fairbanks chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a program that provides positive role models for local young people.
Veterans of the Junior Funny Fest will host their own show 7 p.m. Thursday night at the College Coffeehouse. Veterans include Andrew Hawkins, Laurel Gangloff, Ben Ghalami, Justin Harvey and the two progeny of Fairbanks comedians, Ryan Anderson and Skyler Evans.
The 13-year-old Anderson recently managed to make an entire convention of insurance salesman shed tears of laughter with a few of her own jokes while in Anchorage.
Word on the street is the seventh-grader taught her father-comedian and local radio morning show host Glen Anderson — everything he knows.
Contact staff writer Rebecca George at 459-7504.
IF YOU GO
What: Fairbanks Junior Funny Fest Workshops
When: 6-8 p.m. Feb. 1-3 and 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Pioneer Park Theatre
Tickets: $5 at the door