toronto comedy events

This Week In Comedy: Stand Up in Character, Laugh Sabbath, Laugh Riot, East End Comedy Revue

I got a little carried away with my love for Laugh Sabbath this week, but why stop when my heart tells me it must go on?

WED FEB 6 / CHUCKLE CO. PRESENTS: STAND UP IN CHARACTER / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 930PM / $5

Joel Buxton hosts a night of stand-up comedy that sees some of Toronto's favourites telling jokes in character. I can't wait to see Kathleen Phillips as Ernest Hemingway and Chris Locke as Attila the Hun! Most of all, I can't wait to see Buxton. I recently saw him host Rush Zilla's Laughter Luau, and he killed. Given the quality material that he'll have to riff off on this evening, I'm expecting a repeat performance.

THURS FEB 7 / LAUGH SABBATH / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR / 9PM / $5

If you go to Laugh Sabbath's website, you'll notice a link that says, "Regulars." Modestly formatted, their line-up is broken down into two categories: Regulars and Los Angeles folk. That humble delineation, if you'd allow me to get up on my soapbox, highlights what's so freakin' wonderful about the Laugh Sabbath community. They're world-class comedians without all of the fanfare and third-person bios, fancy posters, or elaborate YouTube video explosion-ridden introductions. OK, fine, I love them all. There, I said it. In a world that seems to revere the most opinionated among us (Stanhope, Burr, Rock, etc.), they're a breath of fresh air. Now, that's not to say that the crew isn't trying to make a point when they're on stage, they're just a bit more subtle about it. Case in point, check out James Hartnett, who seems like he's making fun of the typical stand-up act during his stand-up act. It's genius.Note: take it easy keyboard warriors, I love Stanhope, Burr, Rock, etc.

SAT FEB 9 / LAUGH RIOT! A POLITICAL COMEDY SHOWCASE / COMEDY BAR / 945 BLOOR W / 730PM / $12

I have to admit, whenever Mayor Ford is the butt of the joke, I tend to roll my eyes. I get it: he's fat and you don't like his ideas for the TTC, RT, hell, KFC. Danish Anwar, your producer, sets out to prove that there are more than a few comedians that can add to, rather than muddy, the political discourse. Expect the best. Anwar has been a consistent, hard-working producer from the very beginning, and he knows how to mix up the roster to keep things consistently interesting, something many comedians who think they can do headlining sets have failed to recognize.

SAT FEB 9 / EAST END COMEDY REVUE / DOMINION ON QUEEN / 500 QUEEN E / doors at 8PM / $20

Dave Hemstad, your headliner, has done Comedy Now, Just for Laughs, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and a role on CBC's Debaters. That pretty much sums up what a comedian can hope to do in Canada. So, he did gigs in England and Singapore, while finding time to share the stage with Russell Peters, John Pinette, Jeremy Hotz and...Louis CK? Double wowzers. His act is tight, measured, precise, but that doesn't mean he's not able to think on his feet when necessary. Jump to 4:08 of the above clip and you'll see what I mean.

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.


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