Tonight’s the night! Come for a night of Big Laughs in Little Portugal (I now realize this would have been a much, much better title). Stay for the Mexican-inspired cuisine and the “real life”-inspired jokes!
NACO Gallery 1665 Dundas St. West at 9pm
Featuring the comedic stylings of:
Hosted by yours truly Mikey Kolberg
And if a list of names isn’t enough to get you out to the show, surely this clip of Tom Henry performing will!
If you’ve been making your way out to Toronto’s fine comedy shows over the last month, you’d be hard pressed to have missed the biggest singular influx of talent into the city’s comedy scene since Lorne Michaels banished the 1986 cast of SNL to ab-Scarborough-ity. The members of Picnicface have descended on Hogtown in conjunction with the premiere of their eponymous sketch show on Comedy Network. Since late this summer it has not been not uncommon to see Mark Little showing up at an open mic or Evany Rosen hosting Sunday Night Live with The Sketchersons. When they’re not performing sold out shows at the Rivoli together, the Picnicfacers (we’ll work on the nicknames) are out and about town, doing their own thing. This is to our benefit. I’ve seen almost everyone of them perform on their own and each one is just as strong solo as they are with the group. If you haven’t seen the show yet, seriously, what’s wrong with you?
Watch Picnicface on The Comedy Network, Wednesdays at 10:30pm or online at picnicface.thecomedynetwork.ca
DO YOU LOVE LIFE OR WHAT?
TONIGHT AT THE GARRISON (1197 Dundas St. W) 9pm (Doors at 8:30pm)
It’s a night of stand-up comedy with my favourite of all time Chris Locke. Hosted by Tim Gilbert and featuring sets from Aaron Eves and Kathleen Phillips, this is not to be missed. They’re filming it for an up-coming special so you can go and then tell your friends you were in the audience when it blows up all over the internet. Watch the promo above. Also, this is a great excuse to just post a bunch of Chris Locke videos to watch. (I may have posted some of these before, but, whatever. Who cares.)
That oughta do it.
Check out the Facebook event. But, more importantly, just get yourself to The Garrison tonight.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of both Chris Locke and Aaron Eves, the wacky geniuses who have brought us Let’s Get Hot! every month for the past six years. Their bizarro deadpan delivery and goofy grins tickle my funny gut. So it is with a glimmer of sadness that I report the last ever edition of Let’s Get Hot! is upon us. This Sunday June 5th at the Rivoli, those two guys are going to get on stage and host the hell out of what is sure to be a fantastic final show. Check out the video to get a taste of all the classic definitely-not-made-up bits these guys will be digging out of the proverbial pantry. It should be a fitting tribute to their own goofy legacy. SERIOUSLY GO TO THIS SHOW.
(Full disclosure/Shameless plug: The above video was shot by Joe Fuda using a smartphone assisted by the prototype for a device known as the “Piper.” This author controls a 5% stake in the intellectual property of the “Piper” – or the equivalent of one (1) Molson Stock Ale. All inquiries regarding the “Piper” should be directed to fudagraphy.tumblr.com/)
As Toronto’s preeminent improv-theatre troupe, the guys and gal of National Theatre of the World have reason to be confident in themselves. The announcement of their new show The Script Tease Project is a significant achievement for these stage veterans. An impressive list of playwrights (WOODY HARRELSON!) pegged to pen the first two pages of a play for NTOW to complete proves the company is held in high esteem, and the brash display of confidence in the video above is more than just dramatic, self-congratulations manifested by ACTORS! living in a self-contained bubble. Jolly good show!
If you’re reading my blog, chances are you probably already know that Mark DeBonis beat out the competition to take home the $25,000 grand prize at Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off on Sunday night. I’m sure it was all over the front page Monday morning. Maybe if something big happened, they would bump it to Tuesday but I doubt it. Nothing interesting ever happens.
A lot of pixels have been spilled about how this was a surprise win and a tight competition, but to me there was no question that DeBonis deserved to win. He was the only comic that exhibited a genuinely original persona and style.
Now before I put my foot in my mouth I should say this: All the competing comics were extremely skilled and funny. Polished material and slick delivery were the order of the day, and deliver they did. It just wasn’t super exciting comedy.
Massimo had explosive energy. Darrin Rose had suave charisma. Eddie Della Siepe had charming likeability. Everybody could make jokes, but nobody could match DeBonis and his unique sensibilities. He broke out of the shell of club comedian and brought unexpected premises to light with ease. All comedians do jokes about relationships, in the broad sense of the word, and so the challenge is to bring a fresh approach to it. Claire Brosseau’s act centered around her cheating ex-boyfriend and despite her well crafted barbs, I found myself exhausted by all the dick jokes I had heard, both during her set and throughout the night (admittedly this was more a symptom of her going last and my server’s inability to serve me a single beer until after the last performance). Ian Peet’s jokes about how he’s glad when other things piss off his wife are old hat. Even Rose and Della Siepe, the apparent favourites to win, stuck to tried and true tropes like “Daddy Issues” and “Dating Troubles.”
(Sidebar General Criticism: I was pretty disappointed by the number of cheap stereotype jokes I heard throughout the night. I’m not opposed to jokes that have “sexist” or “racist” undertones to them so long as they’re intelligent and the payoff is worth it. Alas, more often than not this was not the case.)
DeBonis stood out because he tackled unlikely relationships, like the one between him and a newly-baptized baby or a guy he knew pre-kindergarten. You could always relate to him but at the same time, Mark gives you the feeling that only Mark could have come up with that joke. Not only has he found his voice, but he is using it in a way that will make people remember him. From the simple brilliance of lines like, “If you don’t have dumb friends, then you’re the dumb friend,” to more drawn out ideas, like the one about recording his most used phrases in case he ever loses his voice, these are unmistakably Mark DeBonis jokes. It transcends the everyday comedy audiences are used to.
Mark has that essential ‘it’ quality a comedian needs to truly connect with crowds beyond that one night on stage. And it’s not that the other finalists are incapable of that – some of them are right on the cusp of it – but on Sunday night Mark DeBonis stood out from the competition. And unlike the Canadian Electorate last night, the Laugh Off judges gave the prize to the guy that deserved it.
To see what I mean, tune into Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off when it airs on The Comedy Network sometime in July (airdate to be confirmed). If you can’t wait that long check out this set of Mark’s from AltDot in March
WHAT?: Chris Locke performs a headlining set meaning you can expect about 45 minutes of “just a bunch of fucking jokes that I love.”
WHY?: Chris told me he was going to eat an entire cake at the end of his set. I’m not saying it’s true, I’m just saying that’s what he told me. So even if he doesn’t eat an entire cake, I feel like that’s a pretty good reason to go. Also, Double Double Land is above a bakery so it smells like fresh bread all the time.
WHEN & WHERE? Double Double Land (209 Augusta Ave., down the alley, first door on your right) Thursday, April 28 2011 at 9pm
WHAT ELSE?: Seriously not convinced yet? Well, this show is featuring Kathleen Phillips and hosted by Tim Gilbert. You probably feel bad about doubting me now, don’t you. You should.
WHAT?: PB & J perform their monthly sketchprov show which means improvised sketches which means they won’t be playing Props, Freeze or singing Hoe-Downs. Colin Mochrie will not be in attendance.
WHY?: Not only are Pat Thrornton, Bob Banks and Jason DeRosse amongst the best the in the business, the very capable Batman will host and Punch Drysdale will provide added jocularity.
WHEN & WHERE?: Thursday, April 21 at 9:30pm at Bread and Circus Theatre (299 Augusta Ave)
WHAT ELSE: Instead of a promo, this month they released a story they were telling while they thought the camera wasn’t on.