Footage from the evening will be used in the CBC’s ‘Of all Places,’ a series about small town Canada.
As the series host, Harris has been touring the Crowsnest Pass for a week, visiting the Frank Slide, the Bellevue Underground Mine and spending time in the backcountry.
The Pass Herald, caught up with Harris after the show to discuss his hometown, comedy and the Crowsnest Pass.
Q: How did you get into comedy?
A: I sort of came at it from the theatre side. I wrote a one-man show that was directed by Andy Jones, a well-known Newfoundland comedian.
Q: Who were your comedic influences?
A: There are a lot of Newfoundland comedians like Andy Jones and Mary Walsh Cathy Jones. They had a troupe back in the day, CODCO that I watched growing up and they were all really funny.
Q: What do you think of the Crowsnest Pass?
A: It’s gorgeous I really love it. Its really beautiful here and everybody seemed very gracious. I’d like to come back and spend some time here. And also the vibe of the town, there’s definitely a bit of variety and flavour going on.
Q: Anything strike you as unique about this community?
A: We quickly realized that this place was both beautiful and deadly, like that history between Hillcrest and Bellevue and the Frank Slide. It’s this sort of make or break boom or bust kind of place but there’s also a danger too.
Q: Why is there a fascination with small towns?
A: I was having a discussion with one of the producers one night. And she said ‘we want to find out why people stay’ in small towns. Coming from small town myself, that question doesn’t pop into my mind automatically; I think why not stay if you can make a go of it?
Q: Can you tell me about the town where you grew up?
A:I come from Pouch Cove, which is just north of St. John. Newfoundlanders are always talking about the rubber band effect. The people go away and despite that fact that Newfoundland’s been economically struggling up until ten years ago. And the weather can be inhospitable because it’s a chunk of rock in the North Atlantic. But so many Newfoundlanders, even after they’ve moved away want to go back, it’s home for people.
Q: How do you come up with material for the show?
A: I don’t want to take cheap shots at people. I try to poke fun at them but flatter them as well. You can cut people down in comedy but you can also give them a pat on the back and I think that’s was I was doing.
Also, small town people are always better at having a laugh at themselves. And I think we saw that here tonight.
Harris is a native of Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. Next stop for Harris and his crew is Oil Springs, Ontario, which is near Sarnia, to film another installment of the show.
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