ST. GEORGE — Val Douroux stopped in downtown St. George to hang a poster outside the Electric Theater on Tuesday afternoon. On this particular afternoon, Douroux was being pulled in many directions, but on any given day, she has a lot going on.
In addition to being a mom, wife, location scout and stand-up comic, she’s also the producer behind the Electric Theater’s first Zion Comedy Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at the theater, located at 68 E. Tabernacle St. in St. George.
Douroux told St. George News that she had just returned to St. George from Los Angeles. Her 4-year-old son, Micah, was napping in the backseat of her Honda CRV, which was parked with the engine running. She didn’t want him to be hot, she said, but she also didn’t want to wake him – a struggle all too familiar to parents of young children.
Douroux said that the Zion Comedy Festival, much like comedy itself, is “really all about bringing people together to laugh.”
As she spoke, she stood on her tip-toes to peek inside the CRV’s rear window. A moment later, as if on cue, Micah stirred, wanting out of the vehicle. Douroux walked over to the CRV, then returned with Micah in her arms.
“I think it’s really important that, after this past year, we come together to laugh again,” she said, as Micah nuzzled his face into her shoulder. “Laughter is essential to reliving the tension of our hardships, trials. Life, really.”
As a unique part of the festival, Douroux has lined up a series of day trips where people can get to know each other better. As an example, there’s an “opening ceremony hike” Friday morning at Snow Canyon and a 9 a.m. sacrament on Sunday. And an event called “Campfire Comedy” will cap the festivities Sunday evening.
Douroux paused, then sauntered over to the CRV again. She opened the door, and a root beer-colored dachshund tumbled out – yet another of her responsibilities for the day.
“He can be pretty vicious,” Douroux joked of the dachshund, whose name is Beamer. The dog wasted no time before he wobbled off to explore the sidewalk.
Of the day trips, Douroux said that she wanted visitors to have an opportunity to see the area’s attractions and to experience the region’s beauty together. Though Douroux has been producing competitions under the Electric Comedy umbrella for two years, this will be the first comedy festival.
“This is the biggest event we’ve done so far,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of local talent, as well as national talent. Comics will come from L.A., New York, the Midwest, the corn states.”
She added that many of the comics can earn more than the festival can offer, “but because L.A. is only now opening up again – and very slowly – I’ve been able to get some great comics out here.”
Beamer began barking and bolted toward a motorcyclist pulling out of the parking garage across Tabernacle. Douroux snatched the dog up before he could jump off the curb.
“Laughter is essential,” Douroux said, holding Beamer close to her chest and coaxing him. “Thank you for guarding your family,” she said to the dog, “but you don’t need to kill anyone.”
American comedian and actor W.C. Fields famously said, “Never work with animals or children,” but even though Douroux was preoccupied with both on Tuesday afternoon, she was all smiles. Sure, she was tired and busy, but she said she’s having the time of her life.
“God is good,” she said. “God is good for giving me the motivation – and the energy – to do this.”
For tickets or more information about the Zion Comedy Festival, including schedule and locations, visit the festival’s webpage.
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