Posts Tagged ‘The Loner Show’

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…

Dragons of Comedy

February 3rd, 2009 Steve No comments

Tonight, at Rear View Mirror, a gaggle of very funny ladies (and a few token guys) will be celebrating two years of monthly comedy showcases.

In the local comedy scene, two years is a landmark that definitely deserves to be celebrated; like a marriage, most monthly and weekly shows hit snags at the two, five, and seven year marks. It’s even worse for a solo produced show; the workload that comes along with consistently booking quality acts, and promoting those acts, can be crippling, if not willingly shared.

Dawn Whitwell & Deborah Robinson, hosts of Dragons of Comedy.

Dawn Whitwell & Deborah Robinson, hosts of Dragons of Comedy.

It helps that Dragons of Comedy’s founders, Deborah Robinson and Dawn Whitwell, are genuinely likable, even-tempered, and friendly ladies.

Whitwell is an experienced stand-up, having performed at just about every venue in Toronto, from the tiniest holes in the wall, to large venues like Massey Hall for benefit fundraisers. An openly gay comic, she’s been practicing her craft for over a decade, long enough that she’s become a informal mentor to other female comics, like Mae Martin, a regular performer on the Dragons’ shows.

Robinson is a prolific producer, having collaborated on several long running shows, like the wildly popular “Wet and Sticky” late night blue revue with Darryl Dinn, and on “Brown Hair and Glasses” with “Bingo: The Show” founder Megan Fraser. Of late, Robinson, who’s a frequent guest on the Laugh Sabbath series (her husband Brian Barlow hosts “The Loner Show“), has also starred in a popular series of short comedy clips online, “Deborah Robinson’s Comic Strips“, produced in association with The Wrong Box filmmakers.

(More on tonight’s bill, including a “Deborah Robinson’s Comic Strips” video, after the jump.) Read more…