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Homeless homecoming: Tanyalee Davis returns to Winnipeg Comedy Fest

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What makes this homecoming unique is that it’s for someone who doesn’t really have a home.

Tanyalee Davis’s second trip to the Winnipeg Comedy Festival also marks just the second time she’s been back to the city of her birth since leaving to pursue comedy-career success in 1993.

When she first appeared at the fest in 2006, she had recently put down roots in Las Vegas after several years in Los Angeles, and had started made some forays across the pond to sample the comedy climate in the United Kingdom.

Flash forward eight years, a divorce and a big British-bookings boost later, and Davis describes herself as a constantly on-tour comedian with no fixed address.

"I consider myself pretty much homeless," the diminutive (three-foot-six) performer says with a laugh during a telephone interview from England, where she’ll do shows in Birmingham and Liverpool before jetting back to Winnipeg for a full schedule of festival appearances. "I’m basically here every other month; after I got divorced three years ago, I was living in Vegas but I thought there was no point paying rent there when I’m spending so much time in the U.K.. So I decided I’d just bounce around for a while and see what happens."

When she’s in North America, Davis spends as much time as she can with her boyfriend, who lives in North Carolina. But comedy is very much an on-the-road calling, so the 41-year-old product of Westwood Collegiate — who also attended the University of Winnipeg — doesn’t stay in one place for very long.

After Winnipeg, she’ll be in Vegas for a week, back in Britain for two weeks, at a club in Winston-Salem for a week, back to the U.K. for a month, at a club in San Antonio for seven shows and then back across the pond for much of the fall.

No fixed address, indeed.

While she’s back "home" in Winnipeg, Davis will take part in five comedy-fest showcases.

"It’s got some good street cred, and my experience there in 2006 was fantastic," Davis says of the event. "I was really impressed and proud of my home city for putting on such a top-rank, professional festival."

Davis says she’s thrilled to be booked on so many shows, and adds she’s particularly excited about headlining Size Matters at the Gas Station, which also features host Paul Rabliauskas and special guest Sunee Dhaliwal.

"I feel it’s quite a feather in my cap," she says. "There aren’t too many comics at the festival who get a show where they get to do an hour. The Gas Station is a fantastic theatre, and I’m hoping to (record the show for) a DVD.

"I’m really going to be pushing that show through all my connections on Facebook and social media, because people are going to be able to see the whole gamut of my act. It won’t be just 10 minutes of banging it out; I’ll be able to relax and do some of the storytelling stuff that I can’t do in clubs."

Though small in stature, Davis is big when it comes to brash, loud and sometimes blue-hued material (hence her appearance at the always raunchy Dark and Stormy Show on April 12). She says she has always adhered to an honesty-is-the-best-policy approach when it comes to crafting her act.

"I can be a bit risqué," she admits. "I can get away with a lot because I’m ‘cute’; I can say dirty words because people think I’m ‘cute.’ Apparently, it sounds funnier coming from someone who looks like me — at least, that’s what I’ve been told."

Twitter: @BradOswald


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