Vanier grad hitting the comedic big stage

Courtenay native Kristie Gunter will perform at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival with a comedy troupe called the Connie Chungs.  - PHOTO SUBMITTED
Courtenay native Kristie Gunter will perform at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival with a comedy troupe called the Connie Chungs.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

The Comox Valley has produced a budding actress who is making waves in the Toronto comedy scene.

Kristie Gunter, who grew up in Courtenay, is a member of a comedy troupe dubbed The Connie Chungs, who perform March 12 at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Kids in the Hall is a headliner at the 11-day celebration of live, scripted comedy from around North America.

Sketch comedy is generally defined as any funny performance written and rehearsed by a cast of comedians, in the vein of Saturday Night Live, Second City TV or Kids in the Hall. It is neither standup nor improv.

Says the festival website, "The physical and versatile members of the Connie Chungs bring their bizarre perspective on all things other-worldly, to the people of earth, against their will."

"I think we're pretty fearless," said Gunter, a graduate of the 2010 class at Vanier Secondary. "We're not afraid to do the comedy that people might not want to do because it's too weird or different."

In high school, Gunter was part of the Vanier improv team that was a "a big stepping stone to getting here." She also says her "hilarious" parents are a big reason she's in comedy.

At 21, she is the youngest member of the 10-person Connie Chung troupe that evolved from the Second City conservatory program, a year-long comedy intensive program where students create their own show, and write and perform sketches. The training centre has produced the likes of Tina Fey and Dan Aykroyd.

"It's like a big comedy revue, and you get to put it on," Gunter said. "From that experience, I started to develop troupes and comedy duos. This is one of the troupes that we developed from the conservatory program, The Connie Chungs. We've been working on sketches and we still do improv together. Now we're putting some of our sketches into the Toronto Sketch Festival."

The Connie Chungs starred in its own comedy revue called Twerkin' 9 to 5 last April.

Gunter also performs with an all-female troupe dubbed One Night Stand, and with a 'spooky duo' known as Ghost Girls.

Later this year, she performs at the Toronto Fringe Fest and the SheDot Festival (Toronto's Festival of Funny Women). Last year, Gunter and Ghost Girl partner Aimée Ambroziak performed at the Detroit Improv Festival. The duo was nominated in the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund sketch comedy competition, which supports promising comedians in the early stages of their careers.


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