A new year is upon us. I find myself with a bachelor’s degree yet without gainful employment. Blog is the obvious solution. This isn’t my first blog, although it is the first one I intend to take seriously.
I call myself a comedian. I perform sketch comedy in Toronto (hence the title in TO comedy) with a troupe called The Raisin Gang and I occasionally do stand-up, but it’s not like it pays the bills. It barely pays for beer. And while my career hasn’t taken off, I am very much in love with comedy (hence the title into comedy) and the scene here in Toronto.
This city has got superb talent (Chris Locke, Pat Thornton, Katie Crown), lots of great shows and institutions (Comedy Bar, Laugh Sabbath, Second City) and is the centre of the country’s media production industry. But despite all the enthusiasm for comedy, it seems like the local scene is missing a certain je ne sais what. All the pieces are there, but it seems to lack organization or a cohesive core or something. I want to see MORE for and from the Toronto comedy scene.That brings us to the blog. I want this blog to be a one-stop-shop for all things comedic in Toronto. If it’s funny and it’s from here, made here or even just passing through here, I want to showcase it. If the Toronto comedy scene needs a New Year’s resolution, it should be “stop apologizing and start celebrating without too much navel gazing.” Actually, that goes for the whole city, but let’s start here.
To kick off the new year and this new blog here’s a list of some things I would like to see in 2011 from Toronto comedy.
1. More Web Presence
It’s baffling to me that in such a tech-savvy, twitter-loving, media-crazy city we can have such a poor showing when it comes to our comedic web presence. Blogs go un-updated, YouTube channels are left un-customized and content is sporadic and poorly promoted. Videos made for the web are generally pretty good but let’s see some more. Second City Toronto only has 3 uploads, all “behind the scenes” pseudo-interviews. Real content please. When it comes to web-design and online aesthetics, the music and art communities are making comedy look really bad, even more so than they do with fashion.
As I said before, I feel like the content is out there, but it’s all just so poorly organized. Hopefully this blog will help, but I’m not making any promises. I realize I’m setting myself up for criticism here as my blog is less than impressive right now, but I’m committed to improving it! This internet stuff is supposed to be easy for our generation, right? (If you are over 35 and reading this, I’m surprised!)
2. Better TV
Canadian TV is notoriously Canadian (read: mostly bad). Here’s why as far as I can tell: Our population is so small that there is almost no money for TV except from the government so what does get made is risk-averse mush meant to appeal to everybody but actually appeals to nobody. Let’s make more shows for less money and take chances on some exciting talent. If it’s fresh, chances are a lot of people won’t like it. Maybe so few will watch that it should get canceled. But if it’s good, people will flock to it and those people who are turned off probably wouldn’t watch anyway. Embrace failure as part of the model.
Also we need a stand-up show on TV that plays recent material by dangerous acts. Comedy Now! airing sets recorded almost 2 years earlier is not cutting it. It doesn’t always need to be 30 minute sets either. You could fit 4 sets, 5 minutes each, into a half hour time slot (22 minutes + commercials). Or even a regular stand-up feature on an existing talk show (I’m looking at you MTV Live). A variety show of sorts seems like a no-brainer for The Comedy Network.
3. More Audience
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the final installment of The Loner Show with a packed house in the back room of the Rivoli. What was disappointing what that it took a big, gimmicky event with 50+ performers to bring out the crowds. Can we please have that every week? Not sure how to do that but maybe working on these other things will help? I’m committing myself to going to more shows this year. You should do the same.
4. Get Political
Politics is another passion of mine and I feel the state of political satire in Canada is pretty low. It’s not like 22 Minutes sets the bar very high (no disrespect to Nathan Fielder). Rick Mercer is fantastic but his current show has neutered him. Let’s get over our fear of sticking our necks out there and let our mostly shitty political class know they are shitty. And not just Rob Ford jokes, although I do love the Rob Ford jokes.
5. Keep It Up
Despite all these criticisms, I really do love what is going on in Toronto comedy and I can’t wait to hear all the jokes in 2011. This time, I’ll be blogging them.
Oh, and if anybody is good at photoshopping stuff, I would love it if you could photoshop an image for the banner with a giant naked guy standing over the skyline except his wang is the CN tower and his balls are SkyDomes.