The top comedy shows in Toronto December 2013
Truth be told, comedy isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the holidays, but don't sleep on this awesome line-up that's about to descend upon us! Follow me as I walk you through This Week In Comedy...
SUN DEC 1 / LAUGHS FOR LIVES / SOUTHSIDE MUAY THAI / 2065 MIDLAND AVE #2 / 7PM / $15 ADV $20 DOOR
Ok, so this isn't exactly in Toronto, Toronto, but it's a show whose proceeds are going straight to those affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines. As your producer, Big Norm, so eloquently put it, "The people known for their caregiving are now in need of your care." Trixx, Nick Reynoldson, Keith Pedro, Chris Robinson...I could go on. This will definitely be one of the best shows of the month.
THURS DEC 5 / BRIAN REGAN / QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE / 190 PRINCES' BLVD / 730PM / $62
I'm featuring this show on the off chance that there are still tickets left when this post is published. Quite simply, Brian Regan is one of the funniest clean-working comedians that I've ever seen. One of the things that I can't help but be amazed by is the way he seamlessly weaves in and out of his alter-ego. Take a look at the above clip and you'll see how subtly, but powerfully, he uses his character to act out his famous UPS bit.
SAT DEC 7 / SUPERSTARS OF COMEDY / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 930PM / $10 ADV $12 DOOR
Never heard of K. Trev? When Louis CK did JFL42 last year, he asked K. Trev, who was opening for him in the sold-out Sony Centre, to perform his Christmas mass joke. That's right: Louis CK remembered one of K. Trev's jokes, and asked him to do it in front of 3,000 of his most loyal fans. So yeah, K. Trev's a monster. I'd recommend also paying close attention to Ryan Horwood. The first time I saw him live, he had me laughing so hard that I couldn't even hear his follow-up punchlines!
SAT DEC 7 / MONKEY TOAST / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 8PM & 10PM / $10
The show that's one part talk show, one part improv, is back again with a doozie of a guest. Andrew Coyne, currently writing for the National Post, has had his works published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time freakin' Magazine. So yeah, you're pretty much guaranteed to witness a spellbinding chat between Andrew and your host, Ron Tite. Who's Ron? Well, not too long ago, he was named one of the Top 10 Creative Canadians by Marketing Magazine.
To give you an idea of the format of the show, Ron will interview his guests for 7-8 minutes, and then an improv troupe consisting of some of Canada's best players will act out a scene from the conversation. It's truly something magical to see live.
DEC 9 / BEN MINER'S 15 YEAR STAND-UP ANNIVERSARY / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 8PM / $5
The first time I caught Ben's act, it was in the basement of the Crown and Tiger at Bathurst and College. He won my heart over that night by skewering the audience member in the front row who was wearing those ridiculous-looking, funky-coloured striped socks (no offense to anyone who wears those outlandish stockings). Anyhoo, to commemorate his 15th year anniversary of doing stand-up, he's put together an absolutely stacked show, consisting of headliners like Dom Pare, Chris Locke, Alex Pavone, Casey Corbin...I could go on!
What's more, all of the proceeds from the evening will go towards The Jo-Anna Downey Fund. Jo's been a staple of the Toronto comedy scene for over 15 years, and has recently been stricken with ALS, which has left her unable to perform.
TUES DEC 10 / CHRIS LOCKE'S THE WORLD IS EMBARRASSING / 61 OSSINGTON / THE OSSINGTON / 9PM / $10
Whenever comics take a stab at producing their own show, there's a good chance Chris Locke is the one they call to headline - that's saying something. There are some comedians that, no matter what they do, you can't help but laugh, and Chris Locke's that guy. He's honed a child-like, transparent delivery over the past 10+ years that allows him to deliver material that most comedians would never be able to get a laugh from. Chris has reached the point that every new comedian dreams of: he's found his voice. On these nights, he's going to be recording his comedy album, so you know he's gonna bring the ruckus!
SAT DEC 14 / GOOD COP BAD COP / THE LOT / 100 OSSINGTON AVE / 730PM / $15 ADV $20 DOOR
Good Cop (Nitish Sakhuja) and Bad Cop (Josh Infald) sees two of the hardest working up-and-coming stand-ups in Toronto joining forces. Sakhuja has been gaining steam of late, steadily performing on more and more paid shows in and around the city. Infald is one of Toronto's most beloved comics, and has been tearing it up virtually from day one. Your MC, Mike Rita, probably hosts more shows than any comic at the request of his peers. Given that all parties involved are working their asses off to make this a big night, this might be the sleeper show of the month.
SUN DEC 16 / HADI & SAMAD 3RD ENCOUNTER / TORONTO CENTRE FOR THE ARTS / 5040 YONGE / 7PM / $41-91
Ok, I'll be honest: I don't speak Farsi, and therefore cannot comment on the comedic content of this show. However, Hadi Khorsandi, an Iranian poet and satirist, known for his open opposition to religious fundamentalism, is one half of the act. Damn that takes balls. Any writer can throw stones at Islam from North America, but a guy that does it while in Iran!? Jesus! His other half, Parviz Sayyad, is a veteran of Iranian cinema and has been mentioned in the International Film Guide and Film Comment Magazine.
SAT DEC 21 / MOSHE KASHER / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 8PM & 1030PM / $20
In 2009, iTunes named Moshe Best New Comic. The aspiring comedian in me loves him because he seems so comfortable during moments of complete silence. Case in point, check out the clip above. It takes many years and countless sets to stay calm and collected in the face of crickets, and Moshe is completely relaxed (or, perhaps, seems completely relaxed) as he sets up punchline after punchline. In a lot of ways, crowd work is a lost art, perhaps because everyone is trying to create a perfect five, seven, ten, and fifteen so they can make it big. It's refreshing to see someone throw caution to the wind and just have fun up there!
FRI DEC 27 / GERRY DEE / TORONTO CENTRE FOR THE ARTS / 5040 YONGE / 730PM / $56-66
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.
TUES DEC 31 / YUK'S NEW YEAR'S COMEDY EXTRAVAGANZA / MASSEY HALL / 730PM / $39-70
This is the show that all Yuk's comedians fight to get on. Your line-up includes Jessica Kirson, Mike MacDonald, John Hastings, Graham Kay, Dave Merheje, Darcy Michael, Alex Pavone, and Christina Walkinshaw. Now that's what I call a New Year's Eve show! It'll be interesting to see Mike MacDonald, who recently underwent a highly publicized bout with Hepatitis-C and a subsequent liver transplant, take the stage. What more can I say? You have a show of national and international headliners, one after another. Still not convinced? Check out who introduces Graham Kay in the clip above.
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 down's, really) in my quest to become a killer comic in Toronto.