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Send Cheryl Hann To Space!

photo by Jon Eisener

Cheryl Hann of Picnicface has always dreamed of seeing the Earth from orbit. It’s been her greatest wish ever since she was a little girl. When her mom called her to let her know that Metro Newspaper announced a contest that would send the winner into space, she dropped everything and launched a campaign to accrue votes. Based on what I’ve read on Facebook and the article she wrote for VICE on the subject, she might die if she doesn’t win. If she gets enough votes to make it to the final round and ultimately into orbit, she might die for other reasons. Here’s what she told VICE:

If I win – well, fuck. If I win, I’ll be happy. There isn’t a word yet for this kind of happiness. I don’t know what to expect from this experience except to have the wonders of the universe take a dump in my mind. I guess I’ll probably take a hundred thousand pictures, and then put my camera away when I realize it’s preventing me from really seeing what I came to see. I’ll probably try and catch my space-tears in a jar so you can all taste them, too.

Read the whole article here.

If you have any heart you should vote Cheryl into space. GO HERE TO VOTE CHERYL AS MANY AS 10 TIMES PER DAY. As her Picnicface cast mate Mark Little wrote, “Go to space, Cheryl. Go to space.”

UPDATE: Cheryl’s camp just posted this rousing rap campaign video. Enjoy.

Oh yeah and watch all of Picnicface’s videos and stuff.

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Canadian International Comedy Fest Primer

Sorry I haven’t been posting over the last week or so, I’ve been busy with a new gig writing for Toronto Standard. The good news is, sometimes I get to write about comedy goings-on in town for them. So head on over to see my post on Who To See at the Canadian International Comedy Fest this week.[/not_even_a_real_post]

Guest Post: The Roast of Dan Ramos

The following is a guest post written by my friend James Boyd about another friend of ours, comedian Dan Ramos. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Maybe yes? Maybe no? Well, either way this is going to be a good read. I won’t say anything else because James says pretty much everything you need to know.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Toronto stand-up and actor Dan Ramos for many years. And in that time I’ve collaborated with Dan on countless comedic projects. So it’s safe to say I’ve seen Dan do a lot of ridiculous things to try to get laughs.

I’ve seen him fall off a kitchen table and break a lamp. I’ve seen him pull down a fellow cast member’s pants on stage. I’ve seen him run through university lecture halls in a banana suit screaming while being chased by a 7-foot gorilla. I’ve seen him drink paint.

From performing poetry about fisting, to miming having his head shoved into an anus, Dan will do and has done anything it takes to get a rise out of an audience. Heck I was even witness to him kissing the editor of this very website on the lips (a smooch which was Mikey’s first and only on-screen kiss up til now I believe.)

But this Saturday Dan won’t have to do a thing to get laughs. He won’t even have to get up out of his seat. You guessed it, he’s being roasted.

Dan is leaving Toronto at the end of the month for the big stage of New York City after over 7 years contributing to the local comedy scene. As a parting gift the members of his sketch comedy troupe Touch My Stereotype (TMS) have organized The Roast of Dan Ramos, this Saturday night at 10:30pm at Comedy Bar; tickets are $10. The event will feature many of Dan’s collaborators and contemporaries roasting and performing tributes to him, including members of TMS, The Raisin Gang and Fun Time Internet.

In my completely nonobjective opinion, Dan is a truly special comedic talent and the chance to see him on stage one more time should not be missed. And better yet, proceeds from the show will help Dan in paying for his move and fulfilling a dream.

If you aren’t familiar with his work and want to evaluate his chops before buying a ticket, you can find hours of his material on YouTube including a feature length doc I made about him from a couple years back.

But if you’re looking for a quick sampling, here’s some good stuff to start with:

Stand-up (Montreal 2007)

– This is a few years old, and the quality isn’t the greatest, but it showcases Dan’s ability to command a crowd while delivering the craziest of material.

Prom Day

– Dan’s always been great on camera and on Saturday in addition to the roasting there will be video clips shown of the best acting work Dan did while in this town. This short is right up there, as it won the 24-hour Film Challenge in ’08 and co-stars Comedy at the Ossington’s Stephanie Kaliner and Jeremy Mersereau.

Sparkles

In addition to performing Dan is also an inventive and accomplished video editing wizard. He put together this video for TMS. “What is Sparkles?”

Music Class

Dan broke into the TO comedy scene with Ryerson’s sketch show RIOT. Here’s a skit in which he essentially improvised the dialogue anew at each performance.

– James Boyd

James is Toronto-based videographer and editor. He co-owns and operates Single Space Productions, a video production company, and occasionally he still shoots and edits short films for his funny friends. www.SingleSpaceProductions.com

Laugh Sabbath Born Again at Comedy Bar

It’s been two long months but the wait is finally over: Laugh Sabbath is back, baby! Toronto’s funniest comedy collective has parted ways with The Rivoli after a healthy 6 year run at the legendary club and have moved into some new digs at Comedy Bar where they’ll be every Thursday starting this week on February 16th. I know this reads like advertising copy, but I just such a fan of this bunch of comedians, I get a little aggressive. Check out a little preview of the Laugh Sabbath regulars gracing the stage for the rebirth.

James Hartnett & Tim Polley (Performing separately, I assume, but together in this classic sketch)

Kathleen Phillips

Tim Gilbert

Chris Locke

Hosted by Brian Barlow

And that’s just the first one! If you haven’t ever seen these guys before, I strongly urge that you do. That’s all I can say really.

Follow Laugh Sabbath on Twitter @laughsabbath

Not so awkward Q&A with Awkward’s Erin Rodgers

Erin Rodgers Awkward

To draw in and contract one’s muscles involuntarily: to cringe. The feeling you get when something is said that should not have been said. When somebody fails to act in the manner that is expected of them. To be awkward is unbecoming. But, if there is some sado masochistic part of you that feeds on the pain of an an awkward encounter, you should be coming to Erin Rodgers’ monthly comedic storytelling cringe-fest: Awkward. Recently I sat down swapped emails with Rodgers to find out what made her want to put all her life’s most embarrassing moments on display.

What inspired the genesis of Awkward?

I’d co-produced a few shows and I really wanted to do a show myself. I’d been a big fan of Storytelling podcasts like the Moth for several years and after seeing the awesome Toronto MothUp (now Raconteurs) I thought it would be great to run a comedic storytelling show.

As for the theme, I’m a pretty awkward person. Having a show where I can tell stories of embarrassing myself basically turns every humiliation into a triumph (or at least that’s what I told myself when I tripped and punched a guy in the dick…seriously, that happened)

Can you describe the feeling of “awkward” without using the word embarrassing?

I think that it’s a feeling of exposure. Most of us spend every day trying to seem very adult and together. We have a public persona and we don’t want people to know that we make mistakes, are unsure of ourselves, or are “weird”.

“Awkward” is often, I think, the feeling of losing control. And sometimes it’s also a matter of unintentionally hurting someone else, then trying so hard to fix it that you make everything 300 times worse.

What do you think compels people to go on stage and share their most embarrassing experiences with strangers in the audience?

I’m not sure about everyone else but I know for me its two-fold:

1) My friends and I have been swapping these stories for years. I think a lot of times when any group of people get together there’s that part of the night, right near the end, where those stories of humiliation come out. They’re some of the funniest stories that you can tell, because everyone has had them and as a listener you can’t help but emotionally relate.
I think performers especially have a very intimate knowledge of awkward moments. As a performer (comedians especially) you’re going up in front of people and hoping that the audience will give you the reaction that you want. Get performers together and I guarantee you at some point everyone will be trading stories about bombing at some point

2) This is a bit of a cliché, but I think there’s something very therapeutic about telling (and listening to) these stories. The storyteller may have spent years feeling embarrassed about a particular moment in their life, and then suddenly they have a chance to turn it into something hilarious. Also, listening to these stories, I always feel less like a weirdo. Suddenly my most humiliating moments don’t seLuke Gordon Field facepalmem so bad.

In your experience what makes something awkward? Is it something a person creates themselves or is it thrust upon them?

I think mostly its something you create yourself. Most people have had one of those nightmare “everyone points and laughs” moments, but those rarely happen after middle school (unless you are a member of the Kardashian family).

I think “awkward” is all about your reaction. Most of the time it’s a fleeting moment that the only the embarrassed person remembers (and remembers and remembers).

What’s the most awkward thing to ever happen at an Awkward show?

So far its been mostly awkwardness free. I said a performer’s name completely wrong once, and once my a performer came up in the middle of my intro because they thought I was done.

I think the most dramatic thing that has happened was on my way to a show when I didn’t realize my dress was almost all the way open through the majority of my ttc ride. The funniest part was after I told that story on stage someone came up after the show convinced I had made the story up as it was “too convenient”. It was the first time in my life that I had to convince someone that actually, no, I AM just that oblivious and dumb

Where and when can people see the show in the upcoming months?

Awkward is so pleased to call the Comedy Bar home. The show is the second Friday of every month at 8pm in the beautiful new Cabaret space (next show is Friday February 10th). I’m also excited to be presenting a special all gay Awkward at Buddies at Bad Times on Thursday March 15. The cast is stellar: Gavin Crawford of this Hour has 22 Minutes, Paul Bellini who wrote for Kids in the Hall, Andrew Johnston of Bitch Salad and Video on Trial and so many more.

All photos by Sharilyn Johnson

Follow Erin Rodgers on Twitter @AwkwardToronto

RICK & CHUCK: Their video drops but their testicles have not

Rick & Chuck are a couple of foul mouthed 13-year-olds from Holy Name Elementary School who rap (obviously) about fucking girls, murdering innocents and other naughty stuff that would get them caned by a nun faster than you can say, “Forgive me for I have sinned, bitch.”

Their big debut video, outpacing their pre-pubescent testes, will drop tomorrow night at The Boom Show at The Drake Hotel. Here’s a taste of what to expect.

UPDATE: Here it is in all of it’s profane glory: We’s Hawd

Follow Rick & Chuck on Twitter @ricknchuck

BIG NEWS ROUND-UP DECEMBER 2011

There’s a lot going on in the world of Toronto comedy. I can’t always cover it all. I know, bogus. Thankfully, there are other news outlets that occasionally cover the local scene. It’s a few days late, but here’s a selection of some of the top comedy news stories from the past month.

Another tough loss for the comedy community in December. Joe Bodolai, accomplished writer and comic mentor took his own life at the age of 63 after a rich career writing for Kids in The Hall, SNL and the first draft of Wayne’s World and his role in launching The Comedy Network. By all accounts he cared deeply about Canadian comedic talent as evidenced by his final blog post, examined here by The Hollywood Reporter. RIP Joe.

Speaking of dying (segues are not my forte), if there’s one thing local funnymakers can learn from the success of Shit Girls Say (read a great interview with the creators at AV Club Toronto here), it’s that if you make one of the best viral videos of the year, it will be over analyzed to death.

In a spirited blog post, local comic Martha O’Neill breaks down the math on why Female Comedians + Not Funny = Wrong x Boring. Here, here!

Bite TV occasionally has some great stuff up on their blog and last month was no exception. They posted a humourous review of The Year in Rob Ford which reminded us that is basically impossible to take a photo of the guy where he doesn’t look like an idiot.

Nick Flanagan speaks with Hannibal Buress for TORO Magazine and the only thing I really learned was how to properly pronounce his last name. But who says you always gots to be learning stuff anyway?

Check out this interview with Ali Hassan about his role in the Russel Peters hockey comedy Breakaway (Actually I’m pretty sure Peters only played a supporting role but I’m basing this description of the film on the ads they ran. Please don’t hurt me a real bad, producers of Breakaway)

And finally here are some interviews from AV Club Toronto with professional wrestler turned stand-up comedian Mick Foley and stand-up comedian turned inner-demon wrestler Kyle Kinane (to my knowledge Kinane is still a stand-up comedian).

Oh and my friend Robert wanted me to post this joke and I thought, why not:

The Maple Leafs Trophy Room was burgled last night and the entire contents were stolen.

The police have asked members of the public to be vigilant and report anybody trying to sell a 40ft square white carpet.

That should do well with a local crowd.

BIG NEWS ROUND-UP NOVEMBER 2011

There’s a lot going on in the world of Toronto comedy. I can’t always cover it all. I know, bogus. Thankfully, there are other news outlets that occasionally cover the local scene. Here’s a selection of some of the top comedy news stories from the past month.

Who says nice, sensitive, apologetic, charming, sensitive, gentle, shy, sensitive guys who are maybe sexually attracted to their moms finish last? Eric Andrews comes across looking like a good guy and not at all Oedipal in this amusing Torontoist profile.

Post City Magazine published a list of 40 “Toronto” jokes by “40 top jokers” meaning people from from Matt O’Brien to Russel Peters to Harlan Williams. Some are good, some are awful but it’s worth a glance because, as the headline reminds us, “sometimes you just gotta laugh.”

In the lead up to the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, Kevin McDonald tells The Grid about how the Kids in The Hall basically started the sketch comedy scene in Toronto from scratch. No comment yet from Joe Flaherty, Catherine O’Hara or John Candy (I get that it’s kind of different but, c’mon).

More KITH news: AV Club Toronto engaged Scott Thompson in a thorough conversation about fruit that delves deeper into the subject than one might’ve thought possible. Also this month Thompson’s podcast returned from a six month hiatus. In the first episode back, Scott chats with Dave Merheje, arguably TO’s hottest comic, both buzz-wise and attractiveness-wise according to ST.

And it was just announced that Demetri Martin will be stopping by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on January 13. Can one assume Martin’s regular opener Levi MacDougall will get a chance to shine in front of his hometown crowd? We’ll keep you updated. Get your tickets here.

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