Listen up folks, it’s about to get real up in here. This weekend you need to go see some sketch comedy. Don’t go to a club, don’t go see a movie. Get down with the sketch.
For the uninitiated, sketch comedy consists of short comedic scenes performed by a troupe of actors. Basically it’s like Saturday Night Live, minus the whole 15-year downward spiral thing.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “But Ryan, I hate laughter, and also I don’t like having a good time ever. Why would I want to go see one of these shows?” I’ll give you a few reasons…
Dan Aykroyd. Mike Myers. Gilda Radner. Three fifths of the Kids in the Hall. What do they all have in common? Fear of bees. What else? They all cut their teeth on Toronto’s sketch comedy scene. All of those performers, and many other notables, are alumni of Toronto’s illustrious comedy theatre, The Second City. To this day, The Second City produces side-splittingly, pants-soilingly hilarious revues. But they’re not the only game in town. There’s also a brickload (that’s right, a brickload) of home-brew talent just waiting for you to pay to laugh at them – and they can all be found at the Bloor Street shrine known as Comedy Bar.
Despite its deceptive name, Comedy Bar is in fact a bar where you can watch comedy. Located on Bloor just West of Ossington, you walk in and you’re all like, “Hey, this pub is pretty nice – plenty of tables, great beer on tap, good eats…” But then you realize that they’ve got stand-up, improv, or sketch comedy every night of the week, and you just about lose your mind with excitement. It really is Toronto’s home base for laughs. Here’s the kicker: They have two theatre spaces – the main space and the cabaret – and both are completely separate from the bar. That means no noise to distract from performances, and no performances to distract from drinking! Hooray!
Now. About that brickload of talent. There’s no way to name them all, but here are just a few of the troupes you can see there…
Every Sunday at 9pm, The Sketchersons perform “Sunday Night Live.” Modeled after SNL, there’s a celebrity host, new material every week, musical guests, and a news segment lampooning current events. (Those crazy current events… what will they get up to next?!)
Another troupe you can often see in the main space is Canadian Comedy Award-nominated Jape. Their brand of comedy is “high reference, low brow,” so you feel smart because you get the joke, and also the joke is about genitals!
British Teeth is the duo of Filip Jeremic and Allana Reoch. These two are classically trained actors that can pull off unbelievable accents and impersonations. Their chemistry and comedic timing is something to behold. And behold it you can at 8pm on the second Monday of every month.
Remember when I said that Second City wasn’t the only game in town? Well neither is Comedy Bar! On Friday, June 14th, NXNE joins forces with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival to bring you The Best of the Fest Encore. Starting at 8pm at Measure (296 Brunswick Ave.), it features Deadpan Powerpoint, She Said What, The Rocket Scientists, and more. If you want a crash course in sketch, this is the place to get it.
There’s just so much comedic talent in this city. If you have a favourite troupe that I missed, be sure to post it below!