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Posts Tagged ‘Knock Knock! (Who’s There?) Comedy!’

Laugh Sabbath Presents… Talent Show!

February 8th, 2009 Steve No comments

Sundays are usually, for me, the hardest night of the week to choose what to see. With theatre, I can always see a show another time – a matinee, later in the run, etc. Movies are even more flexible; while I’m a huge proponent of seeing a good film on the silver screen, it’s sometimes not until DVD that I get around to seeing films that I already expect I’ll enjoy. Music is a little tougher, though I can always console myself over a missed show that the band will usually play again soon if they’re local. But as comedy shows are typically unique, it’s see it or miss it, which leads to tough choices.

Comedian James Hartnett, normally more conservativley dressed and coiffed, hosts tonight's Talent Show at the Rivoli.

Comedian James Hartnett, normally more conservatively dressed and coiffed, hosts tonight's Talent Show at the Rivoli (photo by Joseph Fuda).

And Sundays are just packed, comedy wise, with no less than four quality weekly evening shows; improv shows Ghost Jail Theatre and Monkey Toast (which is bi-monthly, but still), sketch show Sunday Night Live, and variety series Laugh Sabbath (Thank God Bad Dog Theatre takes Sunday nights off).

I’ve previously mentioned Ghost Jail Theatre as being among Toronto’s premiere improv comedy shows in my Impromptu Splendor profile, and I’ve mentioned Comedy Bar’s flagship sketch show several times on this site, so Laugh Sabbath gets the pick as my first Sunday comedy profile.

Laugh Sabbath is a loose collective of Torontonian comics, mainly sketch and stand-up, who banded together several years ago to produce weekly Sunday shows at comedy institution The Rivoli. Patterned initially after the popular “Comedy And a…” series, which was a joint effort by sketch trio The Distractions (Levi Macdougall, Paul Schuck, and Tim Polley), sketch troupe Knock Knock(Who’s)There Comedy! and musician Bob Wiseman, the Laugh Sabbath series has gradually evolved into several distinct monthly shows. These monthly formats feature many of the collective’s members as hosts and guests, and also feature, as guests, some of the best comedy acts from around Toronto.

Those shows include “The Loner Show“, an “all solo no stand-up” character comic showcase hosted by Brian Barlow; “Let’s Get Hot!“, a loose talk show parody hosted by Chris Locke and featuring Aaron Eves on accordion; “The Hour of Power” a showcase series featuring longer sets from just a few choice guests, hosted by Sara Hennessey and Nick Flanagan; and tonight’s “Talent Show“, a variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, video, and more, currently hosted by James Hartnett.

(More on tonight’s “Talent Show” after the break). Read more…

Bingo: The Show

January 19th, 2009 Steve No comments

St. Agatha’s church burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. Its pastor, Reverend Winters, perished in the fire, and the church’s parish found themselves without a home or spiritual leader. In order to raise funds to rebuild the church, the reverend’s widow, Dot Winters, continues to host a regular bingo night, having moved the proceedings to the back room of Clinton’s Tavern. But alcohol and bingo mixed together brings out the worst in some of the regular bingo players and depressed parishioners…

None of this is, of course, real, right down to the powdered wig on Dot (AKA Megan Fraser). The only real thing about “Bingo: The Show” is, in fact, the bingo – and the prizes (yes, there’s prizes – I’m now the dubiously proud owner of a Ricky Martin concert DVD from the last show). But the scenario is perfect for performers, particularly improv actors and buffon clowns, to work in character and create hilarious spontaneous scenes; scenes that can happen anytime in between Dot calling out the letters and numbers from her table top ball dispenser.

From left to right - Jim Taylor, Megan Phillips, Mandy Sellers, Megan Fraser, Inessa Frantowski, Katie Crown, Chantale Renee, Kristen McGregor, & Mike Kiss, in character for Bingo: the Show's Christmas edition.

(More about the dispossessed denizens of St. Agatha’s church after the jump). Read more…