Comedy Toronto

This Week in Comedy: ALTdot Comedy Lounge, Indie Comedy Hour, Phil Hanley, and Myq Kaplan

So they didn't make the playoffs. The way I look at it, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...follow me as I walk you through acts that are intentionally funny in This Week In Comedy.

MON APR 16 / ALTdot COMEDY LOUNGE / RIVOLI / 332 QUEEN W / 9PM / $5

ALTdot delivers another stellar line-up of comedians. Mark Forward has been on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Graham Kay (featured) has shared the stage with Dave freakin' Chappelle, and Jeff Leeson is a casual crowd work genius. Don't sleep on Matt O'Brien, though. His Comedy Now Special aired recently and he's been quietly opening for acts like Gilbert Gottfried in the past few months. All in all, this is easily the best show in town.

WED APR 18 / INDIE COMEDY HOUR / NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL / 460 COLLEGE W / 8PM / FREE

It's been an interesting ride for Helder Brum these past eight years. After diving head first into stand-up comedy, he got swept up for seven years in the whirlpool of construction. He is, after all, Portugese (his digression, not mine). I recently caught his set at the magnificently produced One Hour Fun Hour, and was thoroughly impressed by the way he casually slayed the audience. It's one thing for a comedian to get laughs by embellishing punchlines, but completely another to let the audience decide what's funny and what's not. And, like all of the comedians that I hold in high regard, he mixed his material with killer crowd work that seemed effortless.

WED APR 18 - SUN APR 22 / PHIL HANLEY / YUK YUK'S / 224 RICHMOND W / 8PM / $11-20

Just for Laughs, Jay Leno, and Ferguson. Yeah, more than a few people have taken a liking to Phil Hanley. Let's understand why. Great opening punchline that gets a laugh in the first 10 seconds? Check. Follow-up tags that also hit? Check. All jokes coming together on the last word to maximize their effectiveness? Check. So far, he's doing very well. Up until this point, however, it's all very textbook. What separates him from everyone else? Crowd work. He weaves the audience into his act, often unexpectedly, and that's what keeps my attention.

FRI APR 20 / MYQ KAPLAN / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 10PM / $15

For a nerd, Myq's compiled quite the resume in the past few years. Conan, Letterman, Ferguson...you get the idea. What makes the performance interesting is his genuine delivery. He is a nerd. He is neurotic. He is constantly analyzing what's happening around him and giving into the urge to comment, even when he is what's happening. I like it. It's a fresh way to break down the fourth wall and keeps you on your toes as an audience member.

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 a comic.


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