On Apr. 13 and 14, the Humane Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth (HSKWSP) held two comedy shows, both called Paws for Laughs, to raise money for both shelters and their associated services.

The first event, held at Apollo Cinemas in Kitchener, featured the performers Kate Davis, Ben Miner and Tamara Shevon. The second sold-out show featured Eric Johnston, Justin Shaw and Jason Allen at The Revival House in Stratford.

Initially, HSKWSP worked with an agent to facilitate relationships with comedians; however, they have since fostered their own relationships with comedians in the community.

“It’s always a challenge to pick the comedians because there are so many good ones out there,” Nick Burke, director of development at HSKWSP, said.

“We’re no longer working with an agency, and we are communicating directly with comedians that come and perform. [This] allows us to get to know the performers that are coming in to work at our events, but it also gives a better opportunity for the comedians to make a fair wage and get paid without having to go through an agent.” Burke said.

Despite the number of services they provide, the HSKWSP receives no government funding and relies solely on contributions from donors. The idea for Paws for Laughs was conceived in 2019 and the first show was scheduled for Mar. 27, 2020, but interrupted by the pandemic.

“Paws for Laughs started as an idea back in 2019, where myself and our manager of partnerships and events came up with an idea to do a comedy show. Much to our dismay, our first Paws for Laughs was scheduled for March 27th in 2020, and the world shut down about a week before that,” said Burke.

 “We’ve done virtual events. We did a few in person events in ‘21 and ‘22, but 2023 was really our chance to do the event the way we really wanted to do it.”

The HSKWSP will also be holding their Homeward Bound Barnyard ball at the Walper Hotel on May 5. Another fundraiser event, Dash and Splash, will be held by the HSKWSP in Kiwanis

Park in September. More information about both events can be found on the HSKWSP website.


Rachael is a Staff Writer for the Community Edition