Ski all day, laugh all night

the Altitude Comedy FestivaI’m back in Mayrhofen (March 28 – April 1, 2022) after the events of 2020 and 2021 were postponed due to COVID19. We caught up with Brett Vincent (pictured above) who is juggling running his comedy events, his management business, and the Worlds No.1 Comedy Festival.

So skiing during the day, comedy at night – is that what a normal day looks like at Altitude Comedy Festival ?! It sounds too good to be true …

This is really true! During the day all the acts, the public and the staff head to the mountain for a day on the slopes. Regardless of their level, there is always someone to go with and we all end up in the same bars and restaurants at lunchtime anyway. Then there is a run down the hill to get ready for the first show at 5.30pm, the Apres Ski show at the Strass Hotel (right next to the Penken Lift). Normally an hour is either Improv or Roast Battle or something hot (this year expect us to tear up the Brexit joke!). The big show of the evening, the Gala Show, features all the top comedians lined up ready to make you scream, then we end the day with our Late Show at 11:30 p.m. back to Strass, where you’ll see the stars of the future and surprise guests with a real “comedy club” atmosphere.

How did this idea of ​​comedy and skiing in one event develop?

I have to blame Andrew Maxwell and Marcus Brigstocke for this crazy idea … They were in Méribel doing shows and wondering how they could make their trip and their annual outing and how to get paid while doing something they loved – Altitude was born out of a love for skiing and acting and we are now in our 12th year.

Marcus Brigstocke: Co-founder of Altitude Festival

How did you end up in Mayrhofen as the ideal docking station for Altitude?

After a difficult year with the French tourist office in 2012, I saw an opportunity in Austria and helped move the festival from France to Austria (Meribel to Mayrhofen). Since I was already booking the comedy for Snowbombing, I had been able to see firsthand the great festival culture and the great venues Mayrhofen had to offer. A year later, and every year since 2013, we’ve put on a full schedule with comedy stars from all over the world descending on Mayrhofen for a full week.

Mayrhofen is by far one of the best ski resorts in Europe and the people there and the hosts are incredibly welcoming. The choice of venues, especially the Strass Hotel, the perfect location to host both our après-ski and late-night shows, but including the super modern Europahaus for the gala and the German shows confirms how c is a great place for our festival.

Are the actors really going down the slopes or are they just throwing themselves in for the show?

Our actors hang out in town all week! You could end up having breakfast, lunch or dinner with them, sharing a ski lift, or racing up the mountain in the Clown Hill Race. VIP bracelet holders have a bit more dedicated time with them during a special “ Meet & Greet ” that we offer them, but you will need to get a VIP bracelet before I can tell you more about it! 😉

Now we know UK fans love the festival, but do you have a lot of Austrian guests too?

We have guests from all over Europe! This year alone we have people from Paris, Nuremberg, Hanover, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Vienna, Innsbruck, Ljubljana, Rome, Madrid, Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh and all over England and Wales. We also have 2 German language acts specially for our premises; the incredible Michael Mittermeier and Kaya Yana.

Everyone at Altitude is there to have fun. We have people who come for the ski, for whom comedy is just great evening entertainment and we have people who come just for comedy and who have never been on a mountain! Either way, we are all one big happy family at the end of the day, joining together to make it such a special festival.

Do you think Austrians have a different sense of humor?

At first people thought the Austrians and Germans preferred a more burlesque style of comedy, but over the years watching people like Michael Mittermeier, Kaya Yana, Monika Gruber, Mario Barth and Alfred Dorfer who are all AMAZING, I can confirm that we are all. likewise and the storytelling style of comedy is global. It really depends on what you prefer as all comedy is subjective.

Is it difficult to find German or Austrian artists who will perform in English?

There aren’t many, so when we were able to book Michael Mittermeier a few years ago it was amazing! He was an instant hit with our British audiences and his English set was a perfect introduction for them on how funny Germans can be. This year, discover Christian Shulte-Loh who will perform in shows in German and English.

The International Impro Allstars: Steve Frost, Andy Smart and Ian Coppinger

Is Brexit making things more difficult for you in the future – could it even be the last festival in Mayrhofen?

I hope not. The idea of ​​having to fill out visa applications for all artists is terrifying: the amount of administration this festival is already taking and adding that on top of it will be a killer! I guess the last few years have been tough as there was uncertainty as the UK got out of the mess it had gotten into, which meant our audience was reluctant to invest in anything – that is to say a ticket! – that they might not be able to afford if the economy collapses. That said, I don’t see Europe ever being closed to your daily British ski-cross-comedy fan, and we work closely with the local Mayrhofen Tourist Board and are certainly up for a laugh on the slopes.

Do you think COVID19 will deter people from attending the festival?

Once again I hope not. The festival is next March and by that time most of Europe should have had the vaccine and fingers crossed, we will never need to talk about it again … We already had to cancel two festivals because of it and we believe like our actors, staff and many of our audiences that we are going to have the best year ever! And we’re all dying to go up those mountains and have a good laugh doing it!

Which act do you think will surprise guests the most this year?

Over the years we have had notable artists Benny Boot, Ryan Cullen, Emmanuel Sonubi, Andy Askins, Rainer Hersch and of course Terry Alderton. But you can never say that before the festival. A lot of the acts we bring might be unknown until you get to Mayrhofen, but do it right at the festival and wow everyone! Our audiences are very talented for comedy, so the somewhat unique numbers are always one to watch …

What is your personal highlight at the Festival?

The end of every show when I can see how much fun our audience had. We pride ourselves on bringing the best of UK and international talent and seeing the joy and adulation in these acts night after night is what I do! That and trying to beat my 74 km / h record on my snowboard (I have had 3 lessons so far).

What does Altitude Comedy Festival mean to you – in one sentence?

It’s not only the best alpine comedy festival in the world, it’s also the best week of my life every year!

Featured Image: Brett Vincent (Part-time Penguin and the brains behind Altitude Comedy Festival)


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