Yuk Yuks cancels date with Danger Cats comedy trio

Club receives complaints about residential school graves, Pickton material

Members of the Danger Cats (L to R) Brendan Blacquier, Brett Forte and Sam Walker. Photo: Danger Cats Comedy

The Yuk Yuks comedy location in Winnipeg has cancelled an upcoming performance by a comedy trio known as the Danger Cats.

“Effective this morning, the Danger Cats will no longer be performing at Yuk Yuk’s Winnipeg in the Fort Garry Hotel,” the club said in an email to Sherry Lynn McKay, a First Nations comedian in Winnipeg who flagged the Danger Cats’ material to the chain.

Tickets are still available for a Winnipeg show on the Danger Cats’ website, but there is no mention of the venue or date on Yuk Yuk’s website.

Mckay said she sent an email to Yuk Yuk’s about a residential school joke and “Pickton Farms” t-shirt for sale on the Danger Cat’s website.

“I wouldn’t want these guys coming to my town,” she told APTN Tuesday. “Especially when it’s your community and your family and your relatives and your city.”

The Pickton pig farm outside Vancouver was owned by Robert Pickton, who was convicted of being a serial killer in 2007. The DNA of 33 women, many of them Indigenous, was located on the property and called attention to the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

A t-shirt for sale on the website of the Danger Cats comedy group. Photo: Danger Cats website

Yuk Yuk’s is still promoting a Winnipeg appearance by Brett Forte, a member of the Danger Cats.

Forte did not respond to a request for comment from APTN News. Neither did Yuk Yuk’s, which operates comedy clubs across Canada.

Mckay said she first learned about the residential school joke about two years ago, when it surfaced following the discovery of 215 suspected unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

The joke seems to be about a woman who continually gets pregnant and is compared to the number of unmarked graves at residential schools in Canada.

Another First Nations woman, Esther Maud, said she helped shut down the group’s performance in Thunder Bay, Ont., a couple of weeks ago.

“When I saw the video [of the residential school joke] my protective side came out,” Maud said. “I was very upset.”

Mohawk Institute
A memorial to the 215 unmarked graves found in Kamloops, B.C., sits in front of the former Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ont. Photo: APTN file

Both Thunder Bay and Winnipeg are home to high numbers of residential school survivors, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and high-profile unsolved deaths involving Indigenous youth.

“Danger Cats ended up making a posting that they were postponing until things cooled off,” Maud told APTN Tuesday.

The Danger Cats are comprised of Forte, Brendan Blacquier and Sam Walker. Their website says they are performing across the country.

They claim buying a Pickton t-shirt is a good thing.

“The pickton murder investigation was the most expensive forensic investigation in canadian history,” the text says on the group’s website. “The powers that be want you to forget and they are wholly complicit in burying and denying the largest proven mass murder in our countries history. The current govt is actively destroying evidence and seeking to erase any mention of the heinous crimes committed. By wearing this shirt you bring light to a grave injustice that is still ongoing.”

In December 2023, the RCMP requested permission to destroy or return thousands of pieces of evidence from the Pickton trial. A petition is being circulated to stop the process.

Forensic investigators sift through soil coming off a conveyor belt at the Port Coquitlam, B.C., pig farm owned by Robert Pickton on Jan. 9, 2003. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Mckay said the Danger Cats use a “shock and awe” type humour that upsets people.

“It’s disheartening that there are people out there that not only are making jokes but people are finding it funny. It’s not funny,” she said.

“When you start taking things that you’ve never lived or experienced … that’s when I think it becomes problematic.”

Maud said if anyone understands humour, it’s Indigenous people who use it to lighten their all-too-heavy emotional loads. But there’s a line.

“We’re Anishinaabe and we have humour. But you just don’t joke around about stuff like that,” she said of the graves and Pickton.

“We wouldn’t go to that extent. Even to other cultures.”

Mckay said she was targeted by the group’s supporters after first calling out the residential school joke in 2022. Now, she said, it’s happening again.

“It’s just turned into this really ugly thing.”

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