This Week In Comedy: Russell Peters, Magnus Betner, Sketch Com-Ageddon, John Wing, Legends in the Making, Superstars of Comedy, NXNE Showcase
Somebody's show is gonna get a sold out real fast...Russell Peters is in town!
ALL WEEK / NXNE COMEDY SHOWCASE / THE LOT - RIVOLI - MONARCH TAVERN
You've no doubt heard that NXNE has descended upon Toronto, and comedians are getting their share of stage time. In particular, Comedy Records' roster is on full display (except for Tim Golden, which hurts my heart). There's way too much to list here. Featured above is Debra Digiovanni, who was recently featured in a Post article entitled, 'Must Women Act Undesirable to Be Funny?' It wasn't a very popular article, to say the least. Newsflash: almost every comedian I've ever seen makes fun of their shortcomings. Asking a PhD about comedy is like asking a comedian about physics: they'll give you an opinion, but it's probably going to be bullshit.
MON JUNE 11 / MAGNUS BETNER / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 930PM & 11PM / $15
Magnus' Wikipedia article cites that he's often viewed as dark and offensive. So, I decided to pull up one of his videos on YouTube. The description read, 'Talked about cancer, pedophiles and God. Well... The usual.' You can't say I didn't warn you. Opening the show for his fellow countryman will be Erik Bamberg, a local comedian who has been on an absolute tear lately.
TUES JUNE 12 - 16 / SKETCH COM-AGEDDON / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 8pm / $8
47 Sketch Troupes enter but only one will survive. That's the general idea of Sketch Com-Ageddon, which is going to have improv troupes square off tournament-style to see who gets to win a guaranteed spot at the Eighth Annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Who decides which sketch troupes move onto the next round? You do. It's like American Idol...I think. I don't watch American Idol. The sketch troupe featured in the above clip is Touch My Stereotype. Jump to 2:43 to see the new Zumba move taking the world by storm, 'The Snap Kick.'
WED JUNE 13 - SUN JUNE 17 / JOHN WING / YUK YUK'S / 224 RICHMOND W / 8PM / $11-20
I remember John from watching his specials on TV when I was a kid. In my mind, what made him stand out was his passive-aggressive delivery. He has a look that makes you think he's about to get swept up into a fit of rage. John's very accomplished, having six Leno appearances and nine Just For Laughs notches. I've watched his recent work at places like the Ice House in Pasadena and after all these years, he's still got it.
FRI JUNE 15 / LEGENDS IN THE MAKING / ST. LAWRENCE CENTRE FOR THE ARTS / 27 FRONT E / 8PM / $30
The legends in question consist of Dave Merheje and Arthur Simeon. I've discussed the genius of Dave Merheje at length before, so let's take some time to appreciate his counterpart. Arthur's smile and energy is infectious; you can't help but feel good when he's on stage. Eight months after seeing him headline at ALTdot Comedy Lounge at the Rivoli, I still remember his Young and the Restless bit (jump to 6:38 of the clip above). Any comedian can be funny, but it takes a great one to be memorable.
SAT JUNE 16 / RUSSELL PETERS / AIR CANADA CENTRE / 40 BAY / 8PM / $65-140
Russell Peters went from making $300 a show to collecting $500,000 in a week after China caught wind of his stand-up special which was made available on YouTube. What you might not know is that he started in 1989...so while he was an overnight success to the world, he painstakingly worked his way up to the top. You have to admire that kind of work ethic and dedication. If you're interested in going to see him, might I suggest buying tickets...now! He doesn't perform in Toronto often, which means that his loyal followers are dying for their fix!
SAT JUNE 16 / SUPERSTARS OF COMEDY / COMEDY BAR / 930PM / $10 ADV $12 DOOR
Headlining this edition of Superstars is Ron Josol, who's a staccato powerhouse on stage. I saw him take a short set at the Pickled Onion in Brampton last Wednesday, and he had the audience dying from bell to bell. He has so much material that I found myself laughing while listening to him as he continued into his next joke. Ron has done comedy in Dubai guys...Dubai. Oh, and I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again: when Pat Macdonald goes up for his set, whatever you do, do not heckle him. He will tear you to shreds. I saw him respond to a heckler using a female tennis reference at Groove Bar on the Danforth; now that's what I call improvisation.
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. Photo by FallingShaun in the blogTO Flickr pool.