“A Day in the Life” with comedian and speaker Jessica Holmes

Comedian Jessica Holmes, who made her Air Farce debut in 2003, stars in Air Farce New Year’s Eve final show. After nearly five decades of award-winning hit shows on radio and television, Air Farce, one of the longest running, iconic homegrown comedy troupes in the country, is drawing to a close. The one-hour farewell special premieres 8 PM on December 30 – the day before New Year’s Eve – on CBC and CBC Gem.


As a child Jessica was self-motivated and never needed reminding to complete schoolwork or tasks at home. She had diverse interests like breeding finches, dance, pottery, art and family camping.

Jess was quite excited to start at Canterbury High School, in the drama program. Her improv group, called BOFA, won the national championships. I believe her interest in comedy developed at Canterbury, and she did her first stand-up as a dare.

Although she was voted funniest at her high school graduation, she did not make it onto her family funny list till later.

Next, she moved to Toronto and went to Ryerson for Radio & Television. While there, she did stand-up, hoping for a breakthrough. Her Dad worried she had chosen a tough profession. She said she’d give it two years. Then, it just happened. She took off — The Itch, The Holmes Show, Holmes Alone andRoyal Canadian Air Farce. She loves doing comedy.

Using her experiences with postpartum depression and clinical depression, Jess has become an advocate for people living with mental illness. She’s done loads of corporate speaking engagements promoting self-help with comedy and has written two books, Depression The Comedy and I Love Your Laugh.

Jess and her husband Scott are the parents of my two lovely grandchildren.

– written by Randy Holmes (her dad)

Jessica Holmes
Luba Goy, Don Ferguson, Darryl Hinds and I doing the Air Farce F-Bomb sketch, where we launch goo at political targets. Always a favourite for the in-studio audience who need to be covered in a giant plastic tarp.
Jessica Holmes
Air Farce castmate Chris Wilson and I starred as Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a La La Land parody called Canadaland. The makeup and wardrobe team pulled out all the stops and the crew made an incredible set. It was one of the most exciting pieces I’ve ever been in and it made me feel like a wide-eyed teenager, although it took me about ten times as long as any teenager to learn the choreography. Mom brain.
Craig Lauzon and I in an Air Farce sketch with legendary comedian Tommy Chong, who brought his own “props” for the weed-smoking segment.
Jessica Holmes
ET Canada graciously invited Don Ferguson, Craig Lauzon and I to come promote our final show. They also played a clip of me flashing the camera back in 2010. That bit never gets old. Been doing it since I was two.
Jessica Holmes with Wayne Testori on the last day of shooting Air Farce New Year’s Eve. Wayne is one of the show’s writers/producers and has been my pal for 15 years.
Doing my Depression The Comedy talks at the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. It’s hard not to feel needlessly guilty in that building. Still, the show went great.
Jessica Holmes
Family time in Mexico, where I go annually to practice my Spanish and forget about work for a week. Does my husband look calm? He’s a Reiki Master. He should look calm.
Au natural with my buddies at the lake.


What ‘hood are you in?

We’re in west Toronto. I can jog to High Park or Lakeshore in 10 minutes. We picked this neighbourhood in part because there are 4 bakeries within a two blocks radius on Bloor Street.

What do you do?

I’m a comedian…and speaker…and author. (In Canada you can have a few careers in the arts that equal one regular full time job). My focus these days is doing mental health keynotes called Depression The Comedy which are a mix of, well, comedy and reducing the stigma of depression.

What are you currently working on?

I’m headed to Halifax on January 29th for Bell Let’s Talk day to do a few mental health talks. I’m always reading up on what’s new in the field of positive psychology, and thinking up new characters to keep my live shows fresh. No two days are alike and I love that. Waking up and thinking hmmmm, which wig/script/song/keynote to work on today?

Where can we find your work?

You can catch me doing impressions on Air Farce, or playing a flighty mom on the new CBC Gem series The Communist’s Daughter. I’m also hosting a Winnipeg Comedy Gala which will air on CBC in 2020. Or visit jessicaholmes.com to find out where I’m performing live – although I’m a little slow about updating it. I think it still has “upcoming shows of 2017” on it.



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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography