Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with comedy, burlesque, and a snake at What’s the Craic?

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      It’s pronounced craic like crack, not craic like rake; that’s according to Irish comedian Amy Walsh, who will be performing at the What’s the Craic? variety show this Thursday, March 16. 

      “We use it as a greeting,” Walsh says in a phone interview with the Straight. “So it kind of means like, ‘What's the story? Any news?’ When we meet our friends, we usually say, ‘Well, what's the craic?’ But you can also say that someone is ‘good craic,’ so it's a little bit confusing.” 

      Walsh is one to know a good story. The comedian specializes in a story-forward style of standup, one that landed her third place in BC's Funniest New Female Comedian 2022 and a feature in Just For Laughs Vancouver 2023. 

      She says that she’s constantly evaluating life’s ups and downs to potentially turn into her next new on-stage story—even when things might not be going to plan. 

      "A lot of my comedy is based on real stories that happened, in my life or my friends’... but it’s also a handy tool for when something bad happens in my life. My response is: ‘Okay, cool. How can I make this into a bit for my comedy?’ It’s a good way to process as well, because you instantly are trying to see the silver lining of a bad situation.”

      Walsh is set to perform on Thursday to kick off the weekend’s celebrations in a variety show that will include burlesque, live music, comedy, and even a real snake that will be used to help tell the story of St. Patrick. Because yes, there are snakes involved in that story. 

      “It really is kind of an experience like no other, with all of the different variety of performances that are scheduled for the lineup on the show," she says. "So I think it definitely shouldn't be missed by the people of Vancouver and it doesn't matter if you don't have any Irish connections at all."

      The show is run by Clare Voyeur Presents and is part of the Celtic Festival's programming, which will culminate in a free community festival at the Vancouver Art Gallery on March 17 and 18. 

      “I'm really excited for all the music and the stalls,” adds Walsh of the festival. “I remember last year, it was absolutely lashing rain and it was still a big crowd out and it was just, the atmosphere was brilliant and, as we would say, it was great craic.”

      Walsh suggested that those hoping to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the proper Irish way should aim to grab themselves a pint of Guinness (even though “it isn’t really great over here,” Walsh notes with a laugh) and find some live music to enjoy. 

      Which shouldn’t be too difficult for Vancouverites, as CelticFest will feature a beer garden, food stalls, free activities, and two performance stages at šxʷƛ̓ ənəq Xwtl'e7énḵ Square from 4 to 9pm on Friday and from 10am to 9pm on Saturday. 

      (…And the beer gardens open at 4:10pm and 12pm, respectively. Just in case you were wondering.)

      Find out more about CelticFest’s schedule, and What’s the Craic? here. 

      What’s the Craic? takes place from 7pm to 11:55pm on Thursday, March 16 at the Rio Theatre. Tickets are available online