Most people wouldn’t quit a six-figure full-time job to pursue their dreams, but Alex Mackenzie isn’t most people.
This 31-year-old Prince George man quit his job as a power engineer and industrial instrumentation mechanic at the pulp mill after 12 years to realize his dream of becoming a standup comedian.
He sold his house and all of his possessions and moved into an RV with his dog Finley to begin touring the country to share his story on stage and online in his vlog An Experiment Called Life.
He’s bringing his show to Kelowna with the Okanagan Comedy Festival.
The goal of his life-changing experiment — to find happiness.
“I think humour is the best way to deliver a message to people,” Mackenzie said.
Especially those tough subjects.
Mackenzie said he battled severe depression for the majority of his adolescence and young adulthood.
He thought that buying the house, the toys and everything society said he should bring him happiness, but he still found himself struggling with depression.
When a friend told him depression is the brain’s way of saying you’re not on the right path, Mackenzie listened but didn’t heed the advice.
It wasn’t until he decided to give up everything did he realize that maybe his friend was actually onto something.
“I’ve never felt more myself,” he said.
Now he goes from city to city looking to spread laughter in hopes of inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
After three months on the road, Mackenzie said he is pinching himself everyday asking: “Is this real life?”
“It’s just amazing how good everything is working now that I am following my heart,” he said.
On the heels of the Kamloops Comedy Festival, Mackenzie said he has learned so much from the other acts.
“Performing on the festival circuits is a great chance to see headliners from across the country,” he said.
“It’s such a good learning experience getting to watch five different styles of comedy on one card.”
Unlike independent shows, festival shows only allow for shorter performances which left Mackenzie struggling to condense his set into 10 minutes.
To achieve the “Tight 10” and maximize LPM, or laughs per minute, Mackenzie said he had to read the room and think quick on his feet in order to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Mackenzie said he’s most looking forward to sharing the stage at the Okanagan Comedy Festival on Aug. 21 to 25 with other popular comedians such as Tim Nutt, Nikki Payne and Ali Hassan.
“I remember watching Tim Nutt on Just For Laughs as a kid and never in my life did I imagine I would be sharing a stage with him.”
Once festival season concludes, Mackenzie will park his RV and board a plane heading Down Under.
In Australia, Mackenzie will “chase summer” and perform open mic nights in hopes of getting picked up on the festival circuit. He’s already caught the attention of a booker for the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
“I’m having the time of my life,” he said from a campsite in Vernon. “This feels like a summer vacation that isn’t ending.”