Chris Griffin only had one question to answer before his debut comedy special could be finalized.
“Out of all the places in Canada, where would you like it to be filmed,” producers in Nashville, Tenn. asked Griffin.
Without much hesitation, he replied, “the Dream Cafe in Penticton, B.C.”
On Saturday, March 4, Griffin is performing a pair of shows at the venue for the purpose of filming his debut comedy special, one that’s set to be released through the Tennessee-based 800 Pound Gorilla record label.
The 41-year-old, self-described storyteller now lives in Vancouver, after years of opening on stage for his comedic heroes and headlining at some of his favourite clubs in his hometown of Calgary.
Among Griffin’s appearances include serving as the opening act in 2017 for the late Canadian legend Norm Macdonald, who passed away in September 2021 after an illustrious career on stage and seen on SNL.
Griffin had been to the Peach City before and loved what he saw — from floating down the river channel to running into impersonators during the Penticton Elvis Festival.
But it was in October 2022 when his favourable opinion of Penticton was solidified.
He performed at the Dream Cafe for the first time in his career, soaking in all of the venue’s history and getting a reaction from the crowd most comedians can only dream of, one joke at a time.
“It was the second I stepped foot in there,” Griffin said. “The vibe, the energy, the look, and the people were just amazing.”
Penticton wasn’t alone when it was time to decide where the anticipated comedy special would be filmed, though.
Select comedy clubs in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary were among the finalists but none of them gave Griffin what Penticton did.
“It’s such a unique place,” he said about the South Okanagan city. “Funny enough, all the other places are comedy clubs and the Dream Cafe is more of a music venue, but I still thought it was the best. It’s going to look really cool on film.”
His unforgettable time in Penticton this past October was headlined by the recording of his new comedy album, released in late 2022.
The show went so well, he recalled, that the Nashville-based record label offered to send cameras to any location in Canada for a taped comedy special.
One day after the show, Griffin called the producers and requested Penticton as the destination.
His start in the business, however, came much later than most, he admitted.
“I started when I was 30…unlike a lot of the comedy’s biggest stars around the world,” Griffin said.
He won a Canada-wide contest one year into his career, so he quit his steady publishing job to pursue telling jokes full-time.
Much to the chagrin of his parents, he took it a step further.
“I also sold my house.”
Performing with the same name as the beloved Family Guy character, Griffin became one of only a handful of Canadians in 2017 to make the finals of the prestigious San Francisco Comedy Festival.
He’ll be performing twice at the Dream Cafe on March 4, first at 7 p.m. and then at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets to watch the comic during the special’s filming can be purchased here.
He says the special will be released on 800 Pound Gorilla’s YouTube channel in the months after.