Last Dance

Sitka Fine Arts Camp elementary age campers dance with instructor Brendan Jones in their final day of camp today at the Sheldon Jackson College Campus. Middle School Camp, for grades seven thru nine, begins Monday. Registration is still open at 907-747-3085. (Sentinel Photo by Klas Stolpe)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Standup Comedy Tour Onstage Here Tuesday

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

Comedian Brooks Wheelan, formerly on the cast of Saturday Night Live, will join Alaska comedians for a night of stand-up comedy on the SJ campus Tuesday.

The program starts at 7 p.m. in Odess Theater, and is presented by the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

 

Brooks Wheelan. (Photo by Abby Williamson)

Wheelan and Anchorage comedians Justin Sands, Ben Peterson and Andrea Feniger are on a statewide tour, “Alive in Alaska,” putting on shows in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Talkeetna, Soldotna, Cordova and McCarthy as well as Sitka.

Wheelan, 37, was on SNL in 2013 and 2014, and released his debut album “This is Cool, Right?” in 2015. The album reached the top of the iTunes charts, and PASTE magazine ranked it as one of the top comedy albums of 2015.

He’s appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, AP Bio, HBO’s “Girls,” Comedy Central’s “The Half Hour,” and Adam Devine’s “House Party,” among other shows.

Wheelan spoke to the Sentinel by phone today from Juneau, where the comedians are camped out in a boat in Harris Harbor.

He said he watched SNL from an early age growing up in Iowa.

“I was a big fan of Adam Sandler,” Wheelan said. “I remember in fifth grade I read a book about him, how did he get on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ He started by doing standup. So that’s what I thought, ‘I’ll do standup, now and that’ll get me on SNL.’ It ended up happening, which was pretty great.”

The gig lasted a year, “then I got the boot,” Wheelan said. But it led to other opportunities including stand-up shows, appearances on national chat shows and tours like this one.

The Alaska tour is off to a successful start, opening in McCarthy and doing two shows at the Goldtown Nickelodeon in Juneau. Highlights have been the response and hospitality of audiences, working with the other comedians and experiencing Alaska.

“That’s the whole point of this entire tour, we’re trying to do the most fun local things as possible,” Wheelan said. “Just have a good time.”

He said he’s found Alaskans are excited to show him things they’re interested in, and that they don’t take themselves too seriously.

Audiences in every town are getting a fresh routine since he is inspired by what he hears and sees.

“The shows are kind of, what happened that day on this tour, because we’re in Alaska, and it’s an interesting place, and so interesting things happen,” he said. “And there’s also material I’ve been working on.”

The tour will wind up with a performance at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub in Anchorage, which will be taped for marketing to networks and streaming services, such as Netflix and Peacock.

“This entire tour is gearing up to that,” he said.

Other performers on the tour are:

– Justin Sands, coordinator of the tour. He’s an Anchorage-based comedian who travels the country doing comedy clubs and colleges with his tales about growing up in Alaska and relating to the lower 48. He’s also a chef at Bear Tooth.

– Ben Peterson, an Alaskan comedian who’s a setnetter for salmon during summers, and makes ice cream in the winter.

– Andrea Feniger, who divides her time between California and Alaska, traveling and doing comedy shows. She has opened for comedians like Derek Sheen and SNL alumnus Luke Null. 

Sands was born on the East Coast but grew up in the Anchorage area from the age of five and is a graduate of Service High School. He worked in the Kenai and North Slope oil fields, and then took a job as a chef in Anchorage while pursuing comedy.

“It’s been picking up and it’s becoming more and more a bigger part of my life,” Sands said. He said coordinating this show has taken a cooperative effort of the Alaskan comedy community, and venues willing to make it happen.

“It’s been really cool, it’s been a great experience,” he said. “It’s something I truly enjoy.”

Sitka Fine Arts Camp staff said ticket sales have been going well, and a few tickets are still available.  They are $30 at fineartscamp.org. A cash bar will be available at the show. Those with questions may call 907-747-3085.

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20 YEARS AGO

June 2004 

Advertisement: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Caring Employee of the month! Franklin Thomas Hospital Nutrition Services.

50 YEARS AGO

June 1974

Edna Revard is enjoying a much-deserved vacation: she and youngest son Joe are in Italy visiting her older son, Jack, his wife and child. Jack is with the military, stationed in Italy. Edna will be gone a month, the crew at Revard’s Restaurant says.

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