Inuvik Comedy rises to next level in national competition

Inuvik Comedy rises to next level in national competition
From left, Dez Loreen, Brendan Callahan and Brandon Larocque are getting national attention with their sketch comedy show, North of Normal, in CBC’s Comedy Coup competition.Photo: Courtesy of Inuvik Comedy.

Three sketch comedy addicts from Inuvik celebrated the sleepless nights and hard work that launched them into the next round of voting in the national Comedy Coup competition last Monday night in the way they know best: with champagne and pizza.

The Inuvik Comedy trio behind the proposed half-hour sketch comedy special North of Normal ascended into the Top 55 last week in the CBC challenge that has comedians from across Canada vying for $500,000 and a prime-time spot on the national network.

“It was unbelievable,” said Dez Loreen, who creates the show with friends Brandon Larocque and Brendan Callahan, on the big announcement. “We had three bottles of champagne ready to go and we were all gathered around the laptop there at five to 7:00, and when it came through, it was definitely a big celebration. Wow.”

Teams were required to submit their “show bible” – essentially a script for their pilot show – to the producers by noon on Sunday.

“We stayed up all night Friday and Saturday night – I think I got about four hours of sleep, combined – and we wrote an entire script for our pilot,” Loreen said.

Needless to say, anxiously waiting for the results to come out Monday evening after a full weekend of minimal shut-eye was the longest day in Loreen’s life, he said, but worth it.

“We burned it at both ends last weekend, but it definitely paid off.”

Since making the Top 110 out of an original 285 entries, Loreen said the “real gravity” of the competition has set in and pushed the team to grow and focus hard on showcasing their unique brand of humour from the Northwest Territories.

“We’re the only Northern team here and we’re totally just these guys doing it for fun. The more we see from these top 50 teams, a lot of these are established sketch groups who’ve been together for five years and a lot of these projects already have pilot episodes,” he said. “We’re a bunch of dudes who like doing this on our own who came together for this exact reason. It’s huge for us to be on the same page as these other people.”

Loreen said their “fresh, new and funny” approach is what sets them apart and has kept them in the running.

“People are saying, ‘We love your passion; you guys look like you’re having so much fun with this whole thing,’ and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

The next challenge the team must embark upon is called Media Hype, which means selling their product to the media via a 90-second video.

Apart from their Comedy Coup duties, the crew also let loose last week with another short video in time for Halloween.

Voting for the Top 15 begins on Nov. 3 and ends Nov. 9. Winners will be announced Nov. 10.

Loreen is confident the team is going to make the next round, and has no plans of stopping even if they don’t.

“No matter what happens, every team – if you complete all the challenges – will walk away with a complete script of their pilot, various clips and video elements of their show, and enough to go forward and package it to somebody else,” Loreen said. “This is something we’re strongly behind. This isn’t just a one-off. It’s something that we can keep doing.”

To vote for North of Normal, visit

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