By Steve Hubrecht

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It’s comedy for a cause.

An East Kootenay-raised standup comedian is returning to the region with a new show that will double a fundraiser for Radium Hot Springs’ bighorn sheep herd.

Sarah Stupar will bring her Big Horn(y) Comedy show to Invermere on April 23 at the Columbia Valley Centre, with shows in Golden on April 22 and in Cranbrook on April 24. She is a former Cranbrook resident.

Stupar now lives in Calgary and will be joined at Big Horn(y) Comedy by fellow Calgary-based comedians Jarrett Campbell and Brittany Lyseng.

All three come from rural, small-town backgrounds, and the comedy is expected to resonate with an “East Kootenay audiences,” said Stupar.

“A lot of my humour revolves around small town living and the difference between what people think it is, and what it actually is,” she told the Pioneer.

She said her jokes are not meant to disparage Kootenay communities, but instead make light of the stereotypes many urbanites hold of small towns.

Stupar grew up in Cranbrook, then lived in Vancouver and Montreal for 12 years. She returned to Cranbrook in 2019. Like many standup comedians she works other jobs to make ends meet. In 2020 and 2021 that other job was being a construction flagger in Radium Hot Springs while the Radium roundabout was built, and the traffic signs for it put in place.

“It was a long project,” she said. In the winter there were days when it was minus 25 degrees (Celsius) and Stupar had to wear a parka under her hi-vis vest. “But those were the best days, because the bighorn herd would walk down the road, right by us,” she said.

Stupar spend nearly a year in total working in Radium, and by the end she had developed a deep affection for the wild sheep.

She moved to Calgary in February 2022 and has been doing standup comedy and working in the entertainment industry there ever since. 

When Stupar read about a surge in traffic-related bighorn sheep fatalities in Radium last winter, she decided she wanted to help out. That was the inspiration for Bighorn(y) Comedy. Proceeds from the show will be donated to East Kootenay environmental group Wildsight, to aid its efforts to help the bighorns.

“It’s beautiful and it’s unique. There are not that many places where you can have daily interactions with wildlife like bighorn sheep. Where you can go into the forest and literally get lost,” said Stupar. “That changes the way you see the world. I’m really grateful for it.”

Stupar enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle of the East Kootenay, but after graduating high school in 2007 and leaving for the Vancouver Film School, she “never thought I would come back to Cranbrook.”

She had loved being on stage and a Grade 2 school production of the Nutcracker eventually morphed into a career in venue and events management. While working as a venue manager at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, she became interested in standup comedy.

“I was watching the comedians on stage and kept wondering if I could do that,” she said. When you are acting, you are playing a character, saying lines someone else has written, but in comedy you need to create your own lines, explained Stupar.

She went to an open mic night in 2012 and was hooked.

“It’s very rewarding. In standup comedy, I can write a joke today, go to an open mic tonight and I get instant feedback,” she said.

Stupar was unhappy with big city life and moved back to Cranbrook in 2019. She thought her comedy work might suffer outside of an urban setting. She decided to do a standup show in her hometown, but had no expectations of any real success.

To her surprise, news of the show spread “like wildfire”, she said. 

“I was blown away. In Montreal or Vancouver, if you get 10 people at a first show, that’s good. In Cranbrook the only promotion I did was to make a Facebook event page and there was all this interest,” said Stupar.

This shows there’s demand in the East Kootenay for comedy and live entertainment aside from music, she said. Even though she’s based in Calgary, she hopes to do more standup in the East Kootenay in the future.

“I want to grow this,” she said.

Big Horn(y) Comedy is organized with help from Vancouver-based comedy production company ECL Productions. For tickets visit