Thank You To Our Comedy Festival Sponsors & Partners

For 13 years the comedy festival, Alterna Savings Crackup (formerly Cracking-up the Capital) has served-up hilarious comedy events which have shone a light on the need for increased access to mental health services in Canada’s Capital Region in a fun and entertaining way. This year the festival included, one Guinness World Record attempt that engaged hundreds of people, a star-studded gala in tribute to John Candy, and nine shows in which we filled nearly 8,000 seats - a ‘personal best’ we are already gearing up to break in 2018!

Over the years we have been honoured to partner with many local businesses and agencies to help raise awareness and funds for mental health in Ottawa. In 2017, Alterna Savings joined as our title sponsor and the United Way of Ottawa and the Mental Health Commission of Canada partnered with us, helping to raise the festival’s profile. Their contributions made it possible to raise more funds and offer more shows and events for mental health than ever before! We are pleased to announce that in 2017 we raised over $22,000 for Ottawa mental health agencies, bringing the festival total to over $212,000!

None of this would have been possible without the support of comics, volunteers, the community and guests, however, a special note of the thanks is owed to all our sponsors and partners.


Alterna Savings (title sponsor) made it possible for us to bring more laughs, position ourselves to raise more funds, and draw more attention to the need for increased access to mental health services in Ottawa. Alterna’s CEO, Rob Paterson, explained that, “[Sponsoring Crackup is] an opportunity to mobilize and engage our teams in support of a cause that frankly - for too long - has gone under-supported and under-recognized as a health crisis in this country. If we can help bring greater access to mental health services, and be a small part of an even wider movement to destigmatize mental health problems and illnesses in our society, then we’re up for the challenge.”

Fundraising has always been a fundamental component of the comedy festival but this year’s new partnership with the United Way of Ottawa made it possible for us to do and receive more. In addition, they extended a great effort that went far beyond fundraising - they played an important planning role in our Snowmania Challenge and Crackup Comedy Gala. United Way President and CEO, Michael Allen says, “It was an honour to be part of the Alterna Savings Crackup comedy festival and to partner with such a well-respected and well-attended event in our community. Funds raised through the festival will play an important role in helping our city’s most vulnerable access mental health support when they need it most. These donations are truly making a difference and we’re grateful to Crackup and its donors for their generosity."

If there ever was a year to break the mould – 2017, Canada’s 150th Anniversary provided the perfect opportunity for Crackup to do something special! Together with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), we welcomed along with the general crowd, Parliamentarians, people with lived experience and many Ottawa area mental health workers who work tirelessly to assist those with mental health and addiction needs in our community. Together we provided a complimentary comedy show event called Crackup for Mental Health which featured some of the biggest names in Canadian comedy and had nearly 3,000 guests ‘cracking-up’ with laughter. 

Crackup for Mental Health featured comics with lived experience including co-hosts Jeremy Hotz and Cathy JonesBig Daddy Tazz (emcee), Sharron MatthewsJames Mullinger, and John Wing. At the show, Cathy Jones presented a new face to comedy in Canada – Owen Redden. Redden, a comic who lives with paranoid schizophrenia, chooses to tell his story through comedy in order to invite conversation. "Their hilarity and vivid storytelling opened a door on important conversations and gave everyone in the room a chance to revel in our messy and wonderful shared humanity," says Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the MHCC.