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Ready for laughs? Deer Hunting Weekend at Holmes

Need something to do while your spouse is out deer hunting this weekend?

The Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes is once again hosting its popular Deer Hunting Weekend Comedy Show this Friday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

This year's lineup features a talented trio of female comedians: Jackie Kashian, Holly Henson and Shannan Paul, who all got their start on the Twin Cities standup comedy scene.

Kashian has gone on to appear in the nationally syndicated radio and television show, "Bob & Tom," as well as hosting her own half-hour special on Comedy Central and appearing on both CBS and NBC television shows.

She has been a touring comic for 14 years, and recently traveled to Kuwait and Iraq, to perform for U.S. troops stationed overseas.

Henson is making her second appearance at the Holmes Theatre.

"I did a show there five years ago," she said in a telephone interview. "I'm very excited to be coming back."

Last time, Henson was the show's headliner, but on Friday she will be sharing top billing with Kashian, a colleague whom Henson met 15 years ago when she moved to Minneapolis to try her luck on the local comedy scene.

"You'll be getting two headliners for the price of one," Henson said of Friday's show. "We have not worked together for about 13 years, so it's going to be a great reunion for us."

Henson added that she thinks her comedy material and Kashian's "complement each other... we don't overlap."

Shannan Paul, who will be the evening's opening act, is a comedian, writer and radio host who lives in Minneapolis.

Though it may appear most of the humor on stage Friday will be coming from the distaff side of the gender line, Henson said, "It's not a girls' night out. Men will really like the show as well. The ladies will love it, but fellas, don't be shy. You're welcome too."

Though Henson has been a working comedian for many years now, she said her early career aspiration was to be an actress.

"I was an actress in Los Angeles, trying to make it in television when I took a standup comedy class," she said. "That's how I got started. I was just awful at first, but I loved doing it. So I just continued on, despite the moans and groans, and after about seven years I got the hang of it.

"I was not a natural," Henson continued -- unlike Kashian, who "was always a natural. She's funny onstage and off."

Henson, meanwhile, has a bit of a message behind her madness on stage.

"I beat cancer -- I was stage 4 and I beat it," she said. "It took me two years, but even while I was battling cancer I continued to perform and do standup.

"I'm living proof that humor is very healing," Henson continued. "It really is, scientifically and medically."

The endorphins generated by laughter "help with blood pressure and stress -- stress is a killer."

The real trick to beating cancer, Henson believes, is to "look at it as a whole body problem. I treated everything --spiritually, aesthetically, and also with diet and exercise. I didn't just rely on chemotherapy.

"I'm eight months cancer free, and I feel terrific," she added, noting that she looks forward "to a nice cancer free life."

She's happy to share what she's learned along the way with anyone who is interested.

"In October I did a 'Tickled Pink' comedy show that raised about $10,000 for cancer causes," Henson said. "That's also a hobby of mine (raising funds for, and awareness about cancer)."

But even when discussing such a serious subject, Henson can't help but slip in a quip or two.

"I may be the only comedian who can cure cancer," she joked. "I think that's worth $22."

Tickets for Friday's show are, as Henson noted, priced at $22 for adults and $11 for students. They can be purchased at the Holmes Box Office, 806 Summit Ave., by phone at 218-844-SHOW (7469), or online at

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454