Issue #002—2016.04.08—Louie, VICE, & Weekly Sketch Shows (Twice)
It’s been a breakout week of announcements for comedy projects across all screens. On TV/Netflix, much like the massive Panama papers leak, Splitsider dropped a frenzy of announcements including new specials from Kevin Hart, Pete Davidson, Big Jay Oakerson, and Jeff Ross roasting an assortment of nouns. Here in Canada, CBC’s online comedy domain Punchline just ordered 10 episodes of “My 90-Year-Old Roommate” based off Youtuber’s Explaining Things to My Grandfather (like givin’ the DL on cock blocking, w/ 2.2M views). Meanwhile, on the purely DIY front (if we could all be so lucky), Louis C.K., high off the emotional lows of Horace and Pete, says he “can’t feel Louie anymore”. So what hope does that leave us?
How about Viceland, VICE’s new 24-hour cable channel, latest release of FlopHouse Ep. 1 (6.6/10 on IMDB). After it’s promising trailer from documentary director Lance Bangs of Jackass fame, each episode features a house/venue known their standup and raucous party vibe. Considering they’ve already shot in LA, San Fran, Denver, New Orleans, we’re thinking it’s about time to revive Andew Barr’s Live at the Living Room (the stand up show in, yup, his living room). Or, if you find comedy party houses just aren’t your scene, you could always join the latest frat.
Also, be on the look out for Toronto’s newest weekly sketch show, Fridurday Sketch Live at the East end’s Social Capital Theatre. Much like the Comedy Bar’s resident troupe The Sketchersons, who’ve churned out 12 years of contemporary comedy writers through their weekly show Sunday Night Live, Fridurday Sketch Live features topical sketches and rotating guest hosts. That’s now double the weekly sketch action!
It’s also been a time of ‘give and take’ in the comedy scene. Our longtime friend and notorious bad actor / jazz bebop artist / cool judge, Chris Locke and his Canadian Screen Award winning wife / hilarious character comic Kathleen Phillips-Locke just had a baby. Alternatively, and with a heavy heart, the comedy community lost one of the kindest improvisers / director / actor/ ”long-suffering leafs fan” in the scene, Frank McNulty. Cheers to a truly passionate man.
Now let’s get to the latest/greatest things in comedy.
Must-see shows in Toronto
04.15 — Rapp Battlez —Comedy bar
Hand selected as part of JFL42 for it’s hype-inducing ‘ooooooh!’ ‘8-mile’ energy, Rapp Battlez has been a top show since it launched in 2012. Hosted by the Rivas brothers, Miguel AKA Big Migga and Freddie AKA Dext Vocab (plus a usual appearance by the middle brother Tommy), Rapp Battlez features lyrical throw downs from characters ranging from Mom After Work vs. Boss After Work to “Siegfried & Roy VS 2 Lionz”. The show has become a creative flash point for Toronto’s best writers, comedians and performers to converge (comedic triples threats like Alex Tindal are regulars). ‘Shots fired’ over at Rapp Battelz on Youtube, or witness the mayhem live. The Facebook Event.
04.09 – Theatresports (Every Saturday) – Bad Dog Theatre
For over 30 years, Theatresports has been a killer format. Bad Dog Theatre’s variation pits 2 teams of 3 improvisors against each other in scenes based on audience suggestions, much like Whose Line Is It Anyways (which coincidentally have both featured Colin Mochrie). These are solid date nights in a comfortable soft-seat theatre. Tinder worthy, fo’ sho’.
04.11- ALTdot Comedy Lounge – (Every Monday) – The Rivoli
Considering this show has been going on for 20 years, it’s not quite ‘new’ news, but the fact remains that it’s still pumping out killer line-ups (like this Monday’s Marito Lopez, James Hartnett K Trevor Wilson, Nigel Grinstead, Carol Zoccoli, and more). Nevermind the fact it’s a $5 comedy show paired with really good food (actually, as it’s they also own Queen Mother), it’s a show worth checking out.
Other upcoming shows:
5 Things making us laugh right now
1- FX’s “Baskets”
Executive produced by Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K., Portlandia‘s Jonathan Krisel, and written by Toronto’s own Graham Wagner (now in LA, but was a regular at Catch23 back in the day alongside SC’s Mainstager Becky Johnson in Iron Cobra), Baskets is all the comedic grit and existential darkness of Eastbound and Down with the slapstick of a Chaplin film. Experience first-hand the emotional car-crash as a literal sad clown relentlessly falls down on his luck, and laugh at the drawn out moments that patiently allow the audience to find it’s comedy (like when, in the pilot, a cowboy tells Baskets to cut the ‘fancy shit’ before offering him some coffee). Plus, the performance of Louie Anderson as Basket’s mother is contemporary genius. I mean, goddamn, these guys’ even kill it online: IamChipBaskets.NET, including testimonials, and behind the scenes footage. However, the true appeal of the show is Baskets inspiring optimism and integrity as he faces the harsh, hilarious, realities of the world, stating (as he’s once again knocked down a peg), “don’t worry, it’s only permanent.” | Bonus news: Graham and Jon are writing a feature together.
2- Tony Ho
Tony Ho is best described as if Quentin Tarantino directed SNL. We’re long time fans, which is why we’ve written previously about their dark genius, and reviewed their short film “Time.” They’re doing pretty well, having recently toured down LA, and directed Brave Shore’s Toronto summer anthem Never Come Down. Recommended viewing: start w/ Japan, descend into Western, then Wanda, and Dissection to prep yourself for the mindfuck of Time.
3 – Interesting Red Ball:
Brought to you by the Director duo behind Sundance’s crazy Swiss Army Man movie featuring a farting Harry Potter corpse currently pioneering a movement of “indifferent cinema” (likely due to the intense scat/jerk-off humour that walked a bunch of the premiere audience), and the same guys responsible for the insane Lil’ Jon Video Turn Down for What currently at 450M views, Interesting Red Ball is one of the first shorts by the aptly name creators Daniels (Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan). It’s a short film satirizing bullshit-sensationalist short films in the most immature ways imaginable. “We were embarrassed that we thought it was actually funny, and were even more ashamed that the idea came from our brains in the first place”. You be the judge. On VIMEO, and check out their other shorts here.
Back in the days when Nathan Fielder was creating and collaborating on indie shorts before his breakout on Nathan for You, he directed the short along with Laugh Sabbath members James Hartnett (JFL42, and part time Future Assassin), plus Kathleen Phillips, Aaron Eves, and Aaron Polley.
Sure, Pete Holmes’ Batman series are incredibly successful (not hard to guess considering this short alone has 32M views), but the fact Pete is genuinely funny across the board, we don’t feel too bad bringing ‘mainstream heat’. Break out the Ritalin, your 11y/o self is about to freak out.
Delusional DJ’s music pick
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org