Queer Joy and Chaotic Laughs

Toronto-based trans comedian Al Val brings unpredictable laughs as the headliner of The Gay AF Comedy Tour, which hits Calgary on April 14th

For transgender comic Al Val, comedy is all about joy.

“A lot of other comedians come from a place of pain and anger, “ she says. “The rebellious side of me wants to oppose that. The world needs a lot more hope.”

It’s also a way to cope with her journey as a trans woman. “Transitioning is difficult; there’s no hope if I don’t laugh at it. On a macro level, it’s about putting positivity into the world. On a micro level, it’s survival.”

Val’s upbeat approach to comedy has led to a swift rise in Canada’s comic scene. From lauded appearances at the “Just For Laughs” festival to writing for “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” she brings disarming honesty to her energetic brand of comedy. Her chaotic shows are a gut-busting, safe space to engage with complex social issues.

This month, Calgary will get the chance to party with Val when she headlines The Gay AF Comedy Tour, a Toronto-based queer comedy showcase that is going national for the first time.

For Val, it’s a chance to work through material for her upcoming debut comedy special, “So Brave.”

“My early stuff represents the chaos and tumultuousness of stepping out as queer and the early stages of transitioning,” she says. “Now, I’m moving on to material that reflects this new era, where I feel very confident in myself and my identity.”

These new bits of comedy will tackle the unique challenges of dating as a transgender woman while also pointing out the universal struggles of dating. This is how Val aims to create a connection with audiences. “My material can be very enlightening to my personal experience,” she says. “But there’s always a nucleus of a humanizing, universal experience.”

Working on new material for new crowds can be a hectic experience, but Val revels in it. “I’ve always had a policy of doing one new thing every single set, even if it scares me,” she says. “I like to react to my material as I’m saying it, which can be a source of a lot of hilarity. I improvise. I’m an agent of chaos onstage!”

Calgary comedy fans can expect anarchic improv and tons of queer joy when Gay AF lands at Dickens Pub on April 14th. Robert Watson – the organizer of Gay AF Comedy – hosts and comedians Gabby Rose and Connor Christmas will also perform.Get your tickets now!