This Week In Comedy: Jason Rouse, Kosher Jokes for the Halaladays, Helder Brum, Passion Comedy Showcase, Lisa Lampanelli and Superstars of Comedy
I can't skate, ski, and seem to be the only one wearing a balaclava and toque. If you're as sensitive to the season as I am, follow me as I lead you to warmer pastures in This Week In Comedy.
SUN DEC 2 / JASON ROUSE / YUK YUK'S / 224 RICHMOND W / 8PM / $?
If Christians knew that Jason Rouse (HBO, MTV, Showtime, and BBC) was performing on a Sunday, they might protest. In a world full of people trying to be like other people, he stands out in a crowd. Yeah, yeah, I've heard that before. Oh yeah? If you want to start an interesting conversation with comedians, ask them who they think tried to copy Jason Rouse's style. He's dark...really dark. Like twitter handle @jasonrouse666 dark. Like rubber masks with zippers over the mouth and eyes dark. Now, you might not like his material, but you gotta love the absolute balls it takes to rip apart the ENTIRE PAYING AUDIENCE (see clip). Note: I would've listed the price, but Yuk's has decided to make their website harder to navigate through than finding a safe passage between Scylla and Charybdis.
SUN DEC 2 / KOSHER JOKES FOR THE HALALADAYS / THE LOT / 100 OSSINGTON / 8PM / $15
Muslims, Jews, and funny all in the same room? That's right. Your headliner, Eman El-Husseini, has been featured at Just For Laughs, Comedy Now, and even detained by Israeli authorities (no joke). Ali Hassan, one of the friendliest comics you'll ever meet, is fresh off a stint at Just For Laughs. You might have also seen him as the Comedy freakin' Panelist on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. Look out for Robert Keller, who made it to the finals of the Tim Sim's Fresh Meat Competition this year. During the round robin, he was able to seamlessly weave together both crowd work and material -- no small feat given the three-minute time constraint. He's next.
FRI DEC 7 / HELDER BRUM & FRIENDS / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 8PM / $5
It's been an interesting ride for Helder Brum these past eight years. After diving in headfirst to stand-up comedy, he got swept up in the world of construction. He is, after all, Português (his joke, not mine). The first time I saw him on stage, I was really impressed with the way he casually slayed the audience. It's one thing for a comedian to get laughs by embellishing punchlines, completely another to let the audience decide what's funny and what isn't. Though well-known comics like Kathleen Phillips and Pat Thornton are also featured, pay special attention to Darryl Orr. His, 'I look like a...' jokes are KILLER.
FRI DEC 7 / PASSION COMEDY SHOWCASE II / GROOVE BAR & GRILL / 1952 DANFORTH / 9PM / $15
Producers/Comedians Brett Young and Kirk Hicks initially started their Passion Comedy series at the bar where Tony Montana got shot (Passion Lounge, 1220 Danforth). Alas, that place recently closed up shop. This week, you'll find them at the Groove Bar & Grill, bringing with them their best line-up to date. Your headliner is K. Trevor Wilson, who's done everything from win the Just For Laughs Homegrown Competition to opening for Louis freakin' CK. Double Wowzers. Pay special attention to Brett Young. He knows just about everything there is to know about science fiction, and I love his act because he could care less if the audience knows what he's talking about. Now, usually an act like that might alienate an audience, but Brett's sincere love and enthusiasm compels the crowd to go with him, striving to understand what the heck he's so upset about. For example, I saw him get worked up over the recent Spider-Man flick. He said that it was so watered down that if someone got him the DVD for Christmas, he'd have to sprinkle Crystal-Lite on it first.
FRI DEC 7 / LISA LAMPANELLI / MASSEY HALL / 178 VICTORIA / 8PM / $64
To be honest, I've seen people make more jokes about Lisa Lampanelli than I've seen Lisa tell jokes herself. Like many of you, I was introduced to her through the Comedy Central Roast series. She's overweight, enjoys the opposite sex (and race), and was an easy target. That said, she knew how to handle herself and stuck it to her hecklers, which was why she was asked to return to roast seven other celebrities. Her act is, uh, not for the easily offended. But hey, it's better to be a meaningful specific than a wandering generality.
SAT DEC 8 / SUPERSTARS OF COMEDY / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 930PM / $10 ADV $12 DOOR
See Dave Merheje headline for $10? Are you kidding me? I'm there. But don't sleep on Josh Infald. I saw him CRUSH at the Tim Sim's Fresh Meat Competition and, by all accounts, it was a crime that he didn't make it to the finals. Granted, his material is dark, but that's exactly what made his performance impressive. You see, the crowd that night was dominated by 35-55 year old's supporting their kids. It's not everyday you see that crowd laughing at Oedipal jokes. Check him out -- he's next.
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.