“You Have to Find Humor in Painful Things”

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What better way to kick off Listuguj’s first Pow-Wow in two years than kicking it off with a live performance from the hilarious, Don Burnstick?

The last time Burnstick was in Listuguj was in 2017 for National Addictions Awareness week where he talked about sobriety, violence, and well-being, this time around, he came to the community to lighten things up after the pandemic. “COVID was horrible across the board,” says Burnstick, “You’re healing when you can make fun of an experience. You have to find humor in painful things.”

Burnstick is forever grateful for the impact he has on people, and how his show affects the lives of his multi-generational fans: youth, adults, and elders.  He is touched by the laughter that erupts from the crowd at each show, and by the stories from individuals saying he played a major part in their lives. Burnstick recalls one powerful fan encounter where the fan stated he and his father often laughed and bonded together listening to Burnstick, and since the fan’s father passed away, he continues to watch and listen to Burnstick in memory of his father and feels his father laughing alongside him.

Burnstick believes it’s his mission to make people forget their problems while he is performing. He says, “Somebody in the audience could be thinking about suicide, or someone is depressed, or someone got beat up the night before, there’s stuff that’s going on, so if I can help those people, I’ll do it. I’ll pour my guts out.”

Touring North America and performing for Indigenous communities is what Burnstick craves. He acknowledges that he could travel the world and perform, but says he wants to specifically share his humor and visit with the Indigenous communities who have supported him since day one.  Burnstick says it is truly humbling to see fans lined up outside venues to listen to him speak. “I used to get in trouble for my words, now I get paid for them.”

Burnstick has developed a major following on various social media platforms.  Be sure to follow him for news, upcoming show dates, and of course the humor we all love him for.

By Ann Marie Jacques

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