On Saturday, Nov. 19, comedian Don Burnstick presented his show to more than 400 spectators at the Aqsarniit Hotel in Iqaluit.
The show sold out in four hours, said Steve Sullivan, director of hospitality for Qikiqtaaluk Corporation.
“I really like him!” said Katauyak Everard from Rankin Inlet who saw Burnstick’s performance. “His show was really funny and it was my first time seeing him. I’ve always heard how funny and cool he is but have never had the chance to see him. I always see posts and memes of him.”
The comedian prepared a gift of humour to his audience by adding to his running gag about the way Native women laugh. In another show of his, Burnstick had presented 5 ways Native women laugh, which became a viral video online. During his performance in Iqaluit, he added 5 more characteristics to the Indigenous Women laugh.
Burnstick did not fly to town solely to present his jokes, however.
“Don arrived on Wednesday, Nov 16. We checked him in to the hotel and then we were off to the Uquutaq Society Men’s Shelter. Don, Peyton (Morin) and I served dinner and then chatted with the fellows,” explained Sullivan.
“Thursday and Friday we saw Don ingratiating himself in the community. He also did two workshops each day: healing the wounded warrior, changing the culture of violence, empowering youth dealing with the bullying issues and healing through humour.”
Getting the famous comedian to visit the city was a long and challenging process. He has a busy schedule and the Covid pandemic did not help either.
“About six years ago, Tony Rose and I were talking. He mentioned that we should consider bringing up Don Burnstick to do a comedy show. When I went to Don’s website, Don has so much to offer besides a comedy show,” said Sullivan. “I then began speaking with Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council about working together on this project. The wheels were then in motion. As we were progressing, Covid hit and put a stop to everything. Starting in March/April when restrictions were lifting, I received the support of the team at Aqsarniit Hotel to move forward with the project. Embrace Life was fully on board. I then sought out sponsorship and I received help from Embrace Life, Canadian North, Aqsarniit Hotel and Conference Centre and Qikiqtaaluk Corporation. We worked through the usual hurdles, but then got everything signed sealed and Don delivered.”
At the end of his performance, Burnstick announced that he will be returning.
“I will be back in nine months,” he joked.
By the end of the evening, Sullivan took the stage to announce a donation made to the Embrace Life Council to support their work in suicide prevention throughout Nunavut.
“Because of all the great work done by Cecile Guerin and her team at Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Concil, I was happy to announce that donations were being made to them by both NCC and by Qikiqtaaluk Corporation. We hope to build from this and do more to help in the future.”