This Week In Comedy: Bob Newhart, Ron White, Brian Regan, Gerry Dee, and Sheng Wang
Bob Newhart's in town. Who's he? How dare you. Just some guy whose albums ranked above Elvis and The Sound Of Music in 1960. Follow me as I burn offerings to a god on This Week In Comedy...
WED APR 11 - SUN APR 15 / SHENG WANG / YUK YUK'S / 224 RICHMOND W / 8PM / $6-15
At just 30 years old, Sheng's accomplished a lot. He's been featured in Comedy Central Presents and NBC's Stand Up For Diversity. In keeping with his degree from Berkeley, Sheng's delivery is measured and precise, not a word out of place. Comedy enthusiasts will instantly notice all of the classical elements of comedy, from tension-building premises to surprising punchlines with definitive click moments. He's also an interesting character on stage, sometimes low-key, other times fierce, constantly keeping the crowd on their toes.
THURS APR 12 / RON WHITE / MASSEY HALL / 178 VICTORIA / 7PM / $48-78
Ron's garnered two Grammy nods and his discography has gone ten times Platinum... wowzers. Even if you're not a fan of his southern material and demeanor, you can't knock that kind of hustle. He rose to prominence during The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which featured acts like Jeff Foxworthy. Toronto comedy buffs that enjoy Canadian acts might find his brand of humor alien, but they wouldn't be charging upwards of $78 a ticket if he didn't have a following.
FRI APR 13 / BRIAN REGAN / QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE / 190 PRINCES' BLVD / 730PM / $62
I've realized what, 'stand-up comedy act' really means. From the outside looking in, it's easy to think that comedians are just being themselves on stage. While we all start out that way, it doesn't last. Once we get a feel for what works, our acts change accordingly. Case in point, Brian Regan is masterful at seamlessly weaving in and out of his alter-ego. Take a look at the above clip and you'll see how subtly, yet powerfully, he uses his character to enhance the delivery of his famous UPS bit.
FRI APR 13 / BOB NEWHART / ROY THOMPSON HALL / 60 SIMCOE / 8PM / $80
'I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy' are the thoughts running through my head as I write this. I mean, it's BOB NEWHART. In 1960, he produced two comedy records that ranked number one and two on the Billboard POP MUSIC CHARTS, beating out some dude named Elvis and The Sound Of Music. I implore you: take a listen to the above clip from The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, Driving Instructor. In the meantime, I'm going to burn offerings in preparation for his arrival.
SAT APR 14 / GERRY DEE / George Weston Recital Hall at Toronto Centre for the Arts / 5040 YONGE / 7PM / $51
There's a difference between comedians that only have strong material and comedians that are genuinely funny no matter what scenario you put them in. Watch Gerry Dee long enough, and you'll realize that he's a sincerely hilarious individual. In 2008, he was recognized with a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Male Stand-Up. His show on CBC, Mr. D, garnered 1.23M viewers in its first episode. But what I find most impressive is that he held his own in an interview with Charles Barkley, even to the point of cutting him off on a few occasions, which is no simple feat.
About the Author: This is Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third-person. My blog, Diary of a Stand-up Comedian, teaches you how to be a comic.