Issue #001—2016.03.16—We’ve changed
We’re tweaking things a little here at Comedy Uncovered. Since the beginning, we’ve tried to find and share the greatest goddamn content being created by the funniest and most original voices in the industry, whether at our monthly shows or through our regular features at comedyuncovered.com.
From now on, we’re going to focus on putting our best stuff into this newsletter and send it to you every couple of weeks. I’ll be sharing news from around Toronto’s comedy scene, our recommendations for the best live shows and events in the city, and the things that are making us laugh right now.
I’ve only one hard rule for content to make the cut: it has to be gold, Jerry, gold! No lobbying, no industry pressure, no “Can you do my friend a favor” bullshit. None of that. It just has to be undeniably funny to make the cut. Short films and vids, TV shows, comedy albums, web series, our fav’ comedians, tweets, articles, and live local shows here in Toronto—I want to bring you the straight goods.
Oh and as always, we hope to hear from you. Drop us a line and let us know what’s funny.
Around the scene
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb…
It’s been an intense two weeks in Toronto comedy. March kicked off with over 10 days of wigs, concerts, and reunions for the 11th annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Fest, the insanity continued with a sleepless week at the Canadian Screen Awards. If you missed it, here’s the TL;DR of #CdnScreen16, aka “the Candys”: Schitt’s Creek won nine awards, Martin Short’s career was honoured, and host Norm Macdonald delivered on his pre-monologue promise: “I’m not going to offend anybody.” The show Sunnyside, featuring our pals Pat Thornton and Kathleen Phillips won for Best Performance in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series, which Rogers/CityTV celebrated promptly by canceling.
As Norm jets back to LA, we’re reminded of other great Canadians recently poached by the US: Toronto cornerstone Steph Tolev and Matt ‘already-packing-his-bags’ O’Brien have opted for some California love, while Alex Pavone and Rob Mailloux join the likes of Nathan MacIntosh down in the Big Apple.
Some good news: word is Peter n’ Chris are developing a new show with Paul F. Tompkins for Bell. We’ll have the whole story in an upcoming Q and A.
Peter n’ Chris
Must-see comedy shows in Toronto
Evany Rosen (PicnicFace) and Kayla Lorette (recent CSA winner for the TIFF short She Stoops To Conquer) put on one of the best ‘show business shows’ in comedy, playing incredibly powerful/insensitive, big haired TV execs giving nonsensical notes to guest troupes and comedians as they improvise scenes from nonexistent movies. Glenn Sumi’s Now Toronto review gets it right: “Two of the funniest comics in the country send up the huge egos, bad taste and big hair of TV and film execs (not that they’ve ever met anyone like that).” See this show!
03.26—Comedy Uncovered—Comedy Bar
Simply the best shows we want to see (that’s why we started them). Not only is it comedy fandom at it’s purest, we’re planning quite possibly the best physical gag ever attempted (for real). Headlined by Dave Hemstad (Just for Laughs, Winnipeg Comedy Fest), hosted by James Hartnett (JFL42), featuring stand up by Sammy Farid, improv by award-winning duo Rob and Jan, plus some surprise guests, there’s a reason our monthly showcases at Comedy Bar sell out. Check out the Facebook event page here
03.26—The Sklar Brothers— The Royal Theatre
The critically acclaimed Sklar Brothers — legit identical twins, btw — mix sports and comedy in a warm and upbeat way. Their last run at Comedy Bar was sold out, and was named NOW Magazine’s Best of Toronto 2013 for it’s “beautifully paced routines – rhythms like jazz! – about unironic mullets, fairy tale sequels and hipster hotel service.” After two Netflix specials, they must be doing something right. Check out EmpireComedyLive.com for tickets (and upcoming shows).
04.07—Human Life is Worthless—Comedy Bar
One of the most jarring and ruthlessly hilarious shows on the scene, Issac Winter (aka Marty Topps) and Tim Gilbert continue to explore the absurd within the Laugh Sabbath collective. To get a sense of what these two can do, check out their recorded-in-a-day Tim Sings! The Hits!, which landed Gilbert on CBC’s Q after it went viral. The duo also made it on Steve Fisher’s Torontoist roundup of the Top Ten Comedy Shows of 2015, which we applaud (though with reservations: where the heck was Wyatt Cenac Weekend, who’ll go down as one of the most progressive and relevant comics of our generation, or Catch23, or Rapp Battlez!! or… but we digress).
5 Things Making Us Laugh Right Now
Part meta-comic, part troll, and entirely hilarious, Todd Graham is one of the most original comedians in Toronto. With a meandering pace that makes Steven Wright look like Katt Williams, Todd was featured in last fall’s JFL42 and continues to pick up steam in 2016. Fun fact: Todd created a true viral video, Apocalypse Pooh, back in the day when passing VHS tapes was all the rage. Check out this set for a little taste of the magic: Comedian Todd Graham Punches Heckler In Face Just Like On Worldstar
2—Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell—Adult Swim
Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
A live-action workplace comedy, the show follows Henry Zebrowski’s Gary as he attempts to capture souls on earth in order to climb the corporate ladder of the underworld. It’s unbelievably crude dick and shit jokes (too funny to snub) are offset by Gary’s endearingly aspirational attitude. Hot tip: don’t watch it while eating. #Realtalk. Watch it online here.
3—Canadian comics on ‘Late Night’
Canucks Jon Dore, Mark Forward, DJ Demers, and Phil Hanley (currently shooting a movie opposite Tim Heidecker!) all bring the funny on standups’ biggest stages. We’ve pulled them all together in one of our most popular pieces to date
4—Hot N’ Hungry—Steph Tolev
This is a big year for Steph (not just as a prized tuna catch, either). Not only did this album make #1 on iTunes, but she’s officially made the jump full-time to LA (which we hope doesn’t put a damper on her Ladystache projects with duo partner Allison Hogg). You can also catch Steph on SiriusXM’s Raw Dog Comedy channel where she appears on Emma Willman’s the Check Spot show. Follow her @StephTolev on Twitter.
Insane and genius, The Chickening is a video remix of the Stanley Kubrick classic The Shining, which should vault the Toronto-based team of Nick DenBoer (aka SmearBalls, a long-time animator for Conan O’Brien) and Davy Force (veteran animator and Tim and Eric collaborator) onto the top of the burgeoning live-action video mash-up scene. The Chickening follows Jack (as in, like… Jack Nicholson) in his new job as Senior Chief Night Manager at the world’s largest chicken-themed fast food restaurant and resort. The poultry-stuffed comedy adventure — “the craziest thing I’ve ever seen” according to my dad — has put DenBoer in the spotlight: his phone won’t stop ringing and over 30 festivals are now fawning to show the film. We had to break out a new ‘under the influence’ rating: 10/10 Minds blown.
I suffer from the insufferable belief that I have the best taste in music, which I will indulge with a completely off-topic music recommendation every issue. This week, I’m pushing Tom Misch, a 20 y/o producer from the UK. Dim the lights and vibe til midnight.
Or follow me on Soundcloud in the VibeDen (barf).
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And don’t forget to reach out if there is a great show coming up or you come across something truly funny: email@example.com