This Week In Comedy: I Love Jokes Festival, TO Sketchfest, Let's Get Hot, Eugene Mirman
The Mayans believed that time worked in a cyclical, rather than linear, fashion. With Eugene Mirman coming to town at the same time that Toronto's self-produced and alt-scene take center stage, I can't help thinking that they might have been onto something. Follow me as I walk you through This Week In Comedy.
SAT MAR 2 - SAT MAR 9 / I ♥ JOKES FEST / A BUNCH OF PLACES / ALL ACCESS FOR $50 (INDIVIDUAL TIX AVAILABLE)
Yuk's and Absolute Comedy be forewarned: independent, motivated, and hungry producers are here to eat your lunch if you're not extremely careful. Evan Desmarais' local juggernaut, I ♥ Jokes, is one such example. Evan and his co-producer Rob Maillous now find themselves unveiling their own comedy festival, with acts like Joe Derosa, Kurt Braunohler, Eugene freakin' Mirman and Eddie freakin' Peppitone. Double Wowzers.
You can buy tickets individually, or get access to every show for $50, which is an uber steal given the headlining acts and other shows like Strip Comedy and the I ♥ Jokes awards show which round out the bill. Bravo, IHJ, bravo.
THURS MAR 7 - SUN MAR 17 / TO SKETCHFEST / A BUNCH OF PLACES / 4 SHOWS FOR $50
The Toronto sketch scene doesn't get the attention and fanfare that it deserves, and I'll admit: some of the blame lays with me. I don't see sketch comedy as much as I should, particularly because I was first introduced to sketch by high school acts trying to convince me that I shouldn't smoke, litter, or drink. If you feel the same, take a moment to reflect on the other side of the coin, namely, SNL.
Growing up, I would have traded all of my favourite '90s comics for the chance to watch my favourite SNL sketches. So cast off the emotional connotations from elementary school, grow up, and join me as I check out the spectacular talent in this year's Sketchest.
WED MAR 6 / LET'S GET HOT / YUK YUK'S / 224 RICHMOND W / 8PM / $11.50
THIS. A million times, THIS. Chris Locke and Aaron Eves bring the ruckus with a night of alternative comedy. What's alt comedy, you ask? I dunno. Maybe the distinction was of more significance back in the day, when a comfortable space was needed to let comedians veer off the beaten path. Nowadays, I see alternative comics get just as many applause breaks as any imported headliner. If you don't laugh at the Burger John's commercial above, we can't be friends.
SAT MAR 9 / EUGENE MIRMAN / THE RANDOLPH ACADEMY / 736 BATHURST / 8PM / $25
Eugene went to Hampshire College, which allowed him to create and complete a major of his own invention: Comedy. Living up to his training, he was featured alongside the likes of Patton Oswalt and Maria Bamford on the Comedians of Comedy tour. What I adore about Mirman is that you can tell that he does what he wants to do, on his own terms.
He does stand-up in rock clubs because that's what he likes. He writes articles and books because he enjoys satirizing. We would all be reminded that it's not only possible but preferable to pursue that which we love rather than what we have to learn to bear doing. I firmly believe that it's because Eugene's been a lamp unto his own feet that he's become so loved by his loyal followers.
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, walks you through the up's and down's (they're mostly downs, really) in my quest to become a killer comic in Toronto.