This Week in Comedy: Laughable, Brian Scolaro feat. Ron Sparks, Fundraiser for Mike MacDonald, Hannibal Buress, and the 2012 South Asian Comedy Showcase
It's hot outside, which means girls have taken to the patios (or so the profiles on Plenty of Fish would have me believe). But guys, the real fun is inside, where comedy takes centre stage. What? Yes, there are girls there...follow me as I walk you through This Week In Comedy...
MON JUNE 18 / LAUGHABLE AND UNLOVABLE / UNLOVABLE / 1415-B DUNDAS W / 9PM / PWYC
Nick Flanagan and Steph Tolev have put together another solid line-up featuring a personal favourite of mine, Rob Pue. Why a favourite? It's hard to explain. I like the breadth of his comedy. One minute he's making fun of the deaf, the next doing an impression of Peter Mansbridge, and then he's onto religion. He does all of this with a casual yet rant-backboned delivery that's captivating. I love comedians that aren't afraid to speak their mind. This free spirit hasn't gone unnoticed with Comedy Now, MTV, Just For Laughs, and a win at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition all serving as notches on his bedpost.
WED JUNE 20 - SUN JUNE 24 / BRIAN SCOLARO feat. RON SPARKS / ABSOLUTE COMEDY / 2335 YONGE / 8PM / $6-15
Brian's an out of towner that's definitely worth seeing. His TV credits are extensive to say the least, and include Dexter, Mad Men, and Grey's Anatomy (don't hold the last one against him). On stage, I love the way he weaves voice work into well-written material. I've seen some comedians stumble haphazardly into voice work, using contrived premises that simply serve as an excuse to get into character. Brian, on the other hand, has spent the time it takes to create good material that becomes great when he adds a soundtrack.
THURS JUNE 21 / FUNDRAISER FOR MIKE MACDONALD / YUK YUK'S / 224 RICHMOND W / 8PM
Yuk Yuk's is holding a special fundraiser for Mike MacDonald with a line-up of heavy hitters including Winston Spear, Kenny Robinson, and Tracey MacDonald. Mike is a Canadian stand-up legend, having performed on David Letterman and Arsenio Hall. Recently, he's been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, and comedians across Canada have set up a drive to raise money for his family and help him search for a liver donor with the blood type O Negative. Click here to donate.
FRI JUNE 22 / HANNIBAL BURESS / THE HORSESHOE TAVERN / 370 QUEEN W / 9PM / $19
At 29, Hannibal Buress has put together an enviable CV, making appearances on Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, and writing for SNL and 30 Rock. Hannibal's my kind of guy because he speaks the truth on stage. Typically, a joke consists of a premise/subject that the comedian then alters the meaning of in the punchline. For example, "I've been gaining weight recently, and by recently I mean the last five years." Instead, many of Hannibal's jokes are simply him stating the truth sans embellishment. And as simple as it may seem to the casual onlooker, it takes years and years of practice to get laughs by speaking your mind on stage.
FRI JUNE 22 / 2012 SOUTH ASIAN COMEDY SHOWCASE / ISABEL BADER THEATER / 93 CHARLES W / 8PM / $25
You mean there are brown comedians other than Russell Peters? Yup! The show features the best Toronto (well, Brampton) has to offer, including Paul Varghese, Suneet Luthra, Ali Hassan, Aastha Lal, and your headliner, Ben Mathai. Ben's an accomplished stand-up, having won the Just For Laugh's Homegrown Competition in 2001. Ali Hassan's the other comic to watch on this night. I've seen him do everything from a cooking show on Pizza Pizza TV to acting opposite Seann William Scott (you know him as Stifler) and Eugene Levy in the movie Goon.
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 - and how not to be - a comedian in Toronto.