P.E.I. comedian Dennis Trainor is warning people to buckle up for the Brackley Drive-In Theatre Comedy Festival.
“You better get your seatbelt on; I swear. This is take-no-prisoner’s time," Trainor said Thursday in an interview.
The Guardian sat down with Trainor and Bob Boyle, owner of the drive-in, to discuss the inaugural event.
Trainor will headline the first weekend of the comedy festival, Aug. 7-8, with a live 20-minute set that tees up the showing of the P.E.I. feature-length film Pogey Beach, which Trainor stars in, followed by the Will Ferrell movie Anchorman.
The comedy festival continues Saturday, Aug. 15 featuring a number of comedians, including the U.K.’s James Mullinger, who now lives in Saint John, N.B.
Need to know
Following is the schedule for the Brackley Drive-In Theatre Comedy Festival:
- Aug. 7-8: Dennis Trainor will be live on stage and on the big screen for a 20-minute set before the drive-in shows Pogey Beach and Anchorman.
- Aug. 15: Sam MacDonald will host the show, featuring Brad Doiron, Katherine Cairns, Joe Revell and James Mullinger
Trainor says his act will be “rated PG-14".
“I can guarantee you there is no heavy language. There’s not a peck of swearing," he said.
“And, Dennis guaranteed me, no nudity," joked Boyle.
“Well, it would probably against the wishes of most of the audience," Trainor quickly fired back.
The comedian said his set will be tailored towards the world that Islanders are experiencing.
“I ain’t going to pull any punches," Trainor said.
Boyle said it’s been a tough summer, so far, with no content from the Hollywood studios. He said the weekends are fair but there’s not many customers through the week.
He did reach a deal with an entertainment company to broadcast two concerts on the big screen recently — Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton. He also hosted Ceilidh in the City, bringing in 75 vehicles to listen to Islander singer Kendall Docherty and friends.
Now, Boyle is going after more fresh content, explaining that a person need not look further than P.E.I.
“Pogey Beach is kind of the stereotypical (story about) Islanders on pogey," Boyle said. “Well, fast forward to 2020 and everyone is on CERB. I thought, ‘who is better able to write comedy on Pogey Beach and CERB and update it than Dennis’?"
Trainor said he’s up to the challenge.
“I want this to be timely and reflective and, hopefully, bust-your-gut, spill-your-drinks-on-the-kids-inside-your-car kind of funny," the comedian said. “I’m damned determined."
The comedian said this event may have been born out of desperation for fresh content but added “what great things have not been born out of some kind of desperation?’’
Boyle said the comedy festival isn’t meant to be a one-off, pointing to the uncertainty of the movie business and how that might affect the business in the next few years.
The drive-in owner hopes this event can play a role in helping to shine a light on the local comedy scene.
“There’s tonnes of talent on P.E.I. and our goal, over time, is to be able to cultivate this," Boyle said. “Dennis and I have had discussions to start off small and hopefully build off that. I hope that this isn’t a one-off. I hope that it succeeds and people will come out and enjoy live comedy. We all need a god laugh right now."