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Rick Wharton - Actor, Comedian, Radio Host, Producer, Instructor
Rick Wharton’s history in the music and entertainment industry is a unique one. A music industry exec for Universal Music/MCA in the 1980’s and 90’s, as Head of Promotions for Ontario he promoted highly acclaimed acts including The Tragically Hip, Rik Emmett, Triumph, The Headstones, Alanis Morissette, The Pursuit of Happiness, Raffi, Sloan, The Watchmen, Robbie Robertson, Young MC, Father MC, Archangels, Boston, Slaughter, Michael Burgess, Marty Stuart, Spinal Tap, Huey Lewis, Paradox, Boulevard, Tara Slone, Eye Eye, U2, Tom Petty, Guns n Roses, The Who, Aerosmith, BB King, Reba McIntyre, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earl, Bellamy Bros., Patty Loveless, Steve Warner, Oakridge Boys, George Strait, Mike Nesmith, Trisha Yearwood, Michael W. Smith, Billy Idol, Melissa Etheridge and more.
Wharton left Universal to fulfill a lifelong dream when he was offered a highly coveted place in comedy as an improvisor at Second City. He then went on from stage to television as the highly recognizable character and cult fave The Conspiracy Guy on SPACE: The Imagination Station and also appeared in many television series and commercials. During this time he did not abandon the music business: He formed Eventure Entertainment and as a notable producer, concert promoter, music manager and host of live events he is one Canada’s most eclectic and connected producers and performers. He regularly promotes Canadian music on radio, in newspapers, in live social media interviews, and through personal connections.
As a concert promoter, Rick has put together both one-off and multiple-date touring shows in places like Toronto, Ottawa, Southern Ontario, several states in America, Ottawa and the valley, and Quebec. He has used a variety of venues including outdoor waterfront festival, small soft seater theatres, casinos, wineries, and private spaces. Rick is also on site for 99 percent of these performances, overseeing everything from technical requirements, backstage, venue specifications, travel and accommodations, merch, etc. As concert promoter he has contracted with many Canadian touring acts including Jeff Healey, Johnny Reid, Michael Burgess, Honeymoon Suite, Rik Emmett, Carl Dixon, David Wilcox, Crystal Shawanda, Shane Yellowbird, Divine Brown, Gord Downie, Valdy, Jason Blaine, Frank Mills, Matt Dusk, The Box, Rivertown Saints, Kira Isabella, Astrid Young, Jordon Zadorozny, Alannah Myles, Five Man Electrical Band, Alannah Myles, Simon Clarke, Kim Stockwood, Rivertown Saints, Matt Dusk, Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe with musical guest Kathleen Edwards, SAB, Cooper Bros., Lunch at Allen’s, Next Generation Leahy, Step Crew, April Verch, Randy Bachman, John McDermott, Gail Gavan, Whiskey Jack, Gowan, The Spoons, Malcolm Burn/Boy’s Brigade, Ian Thomas, Big Bam, Doc Walker, and more.
Rick Wharton first met Rik Emmett when he promoted Triumph and later Rik as a solo artist with Universal. Rick Wharton/Eventure then managed Rik Emmett for over 20 years and created “network shows” whereby superfans worldwide could become promoters with the guidance of Rick. Rick was honoured to be the producer of the Juno Hall of Fame induction of Triumph in Calgary a decade ago.
Rick has also worked with many up and coming performers and been concert promoters on rising talent shows - big and small- including Kira Isabella, Liv Charette, Sierra Levesque, Shane McNulty, Tommy Gilham, Ramneek Jabar.
Eight years ago, Rick was given full access to a dilapidated, declining 40 year old music venue in the Upper Ottawa Valley. He as concert promoter now books the majority of concerts shows there. Rick has devoted much of his time to transforming Festival Hall Centre for the Performing Arts. From small community theatre to a well respected live performance centre, Festival Hall is in high demand by artists. Festival Hall celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019 and as concert promoter Rick hired Glass Tiger with special guest Sierra Levesque for a huge 40th celebration.
Mourning the loss of friend and former client Gord Downie, Rick Wharton/Eventure Entertainment established a Downie/Wenjack Legacy Space at Festival Hall. He paid for everything in the space, made a $5000 per year /$25,000 commitment to Downie Wenjack Fund, and produced and promoted the first annual Legacy event in October 2019. Its mission was to educate and promote reconciliation in the small communities within Renfrew County with their Algonquin indigenous neighbours in nearby Pikwakanagan. There had never before been indigenous programming with full participation by that community. The evening saw musical tributes to Gord and featured drummers, dancers, singers and speakers from the indigenous community. Members of the audience did circle dances and it was an incredible event. During the day, a free showing of “Secret Path” was provided to over 1,000 students.
HEY...IT’S THAT GUY!
Rick Wharton—actor, comedian, writer, producer.
There are two things Rick Wharton loves: show and biz.
Wharton’s own history in the music and entertainment industry is a unique one. A music industry exec for Universal Music (he promoted highly acclaimed acts including U2, Guns n Roses, The Who, Aerosmith, BB King) - who turned Second City stage actor, who then went from stage to television as the highly recognizable character and cult fave The Conspiracy Guy and as a notable producer and host of live events in music, comedy and theatre makes him one of Canada’s most eclectic and well connected producers and performers.
Rick was a co-founder of the popular cult comedy troupe Plead the Fifth. In the 90’s Rick was asked to audition for Toronto’s Second City, where he performed with both the touring and mainstage companies for two solid years. He then started his own monthly comedy show at the Laugh Resort in Toronto, Rick’s Improv Café. The successful strictly improvisational show drew large audiences and rave reviews. Rick’s Improv Café had a 4 year run and is considered “one of Toronto’s best improv shows.” By bringing together players in new and untested combinations, Wharton “gives each show an extra jolt of crackling unpredictability that heightened the wit and vitality of the skits.” (Toronto Star)
Wharton’s talents as a producer flourished with live shows and his highly acclaimed benefit to fight AIDS—Yo Adrian, a yearly variety show featuring top Canadian celebrities, musicians, and comedians which raised over $50,000 for an AIDS hospice.
Rick also performs for theatre, television, film and commercials and hundreds of corporate events.
Rick excels in voice work and has been featured on many radio spots.
Wharton enjoyed a 4 year run on Canada’s SPACE: The Imagination Station Channel for his character The Conspiracy Guy and remains a widely popular and recognizable character across Canada. For his performance in The Conspiracy Guy Rick was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Male Performance in a television category. He has performed in dozens of television commercials including UPS, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Ford, Cheerios and more. Rick has appeared in both dramatic and comedic television roles and in film, and has received accolades for his stage roles in various theatre festivals.
As a live event host, Rick is a natural. He has hosted events too numerous to mention. Currently, Rick produces, performs and tours with his variety show The Canadian Comic Witness Protection Program for both public and private corporate audiences and was recently nominated for another Canadian Comedy Award for the category Best Male Improvisor. The show blends a a revolving cast of Canada’s top comedic actors for an evening of improv, standup, sketch and musical comedy. “Wharton’s rotating casts of fellow alumni and others are reminiscent of those imaginary all-star teams of ex Toronto Blue Jays that bitter fans assemble in their heads.” (Toronto Sun)
For the past six years, Rick has devoted much of his time to transforming Festival Hall in Pembroke, Ontario to Festival Hall Centre for the Erforming Arts. From small community theatre to a well respected live performance centre, Festival Hall is in high demand by artists and promoters and hosts several local arts groups. Visit www.festhall.ca for more information.
Rick also works with schools and military families with his brainchild Shenanigans, a program designed to use improvisation and comedy to promote communication and self esteem.
Rick is available for film, television, radio, theatre and corporate hosting or performance.