Five new Toronto comics ready for break­out year

Catch these ris­ing stars per­form­ing cut­ting-edge com­edy while you still can

Bayview Post - - Arts -

Toronto con­tin­ues to turn out some in­cred­i­ble comics. Each year, there are new laughs to be found, and with two elec­tions in one cal­en­dar year, we need all the com­edy we can get. Here’s my list of the next big things in com­edy.

There have COURT­NEY GIL­MOUR: al­ways been comics with dis­abil­i­ties on the Toronto scene, from the blind Gord Payn­ter to deaf D.J. De­mers. But there has never been any­one quite like Court­ney Gil­mour. Born with­out hands and her right leg stop­ping above the knee, she was the first wo­man to win the Just For Laughs Home­grown Comics con­test last sum­mer and was a fi­nal­ist in Sir­ius XM’s Top Comic com­pe­ti­tion. Her lat­est project is rais­ing funds to buy her­self her “dream leg,” a cut­ting-edge piece of pros­thetic tech from Ger­many. You can see her all around town and at the many ben­e­fits comics are putting to­gether to help her raise the money for her new leg.

This thir­tysome­thing J.J. LIBER­MAN: comic has found a new flavour of gay-tough, ma­cho, broin­spired per­sona that chal­lenges our pre­con­cep­tions and makes queasy sport of some of the ex­plicit de­scrip­tions of sex. He’s got the mak­ings of a great cringe comic, and if he gets you on his wave­length, you’ll be laugh­ing hys­ter­i­cally, as I was when I saw his set. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to see the va­ri­ety of peo­ple storm out of a gay comic’s show, which proves how com­plex his com­edy can be. Liber­man per­forms reg­u­larly at Yuk Yuk’s and the Dirty North at Com­edy Bar. DAN­ISH AN­WAR: up in the Soviet Union, An­war’s eth­nic di­ver­sity has taken him in some ex­cit­ing di­rec­tions. His act, which in­cludes a lot of political ma­te­rial that would be at home on Sa­man­tha Bee or Steven Col­bert, is un­com­pro­mis­ing and com­mit­ted. But it’s as a pro­ducer that he re­ally shines. His revo­lu­tion­ary for­mat,

is the most ex­cit­ing new way to present com­edy since the CBC’s

Salomon trained JESS SALOMON: as a lawyer and moved to The Hague to pros­e­cute war crim­i­nals at the world court. Her next move? Standup com­edy, of course. She’s a half Jewish, half Peru­vian les­bian mar­ried to a Pales­tinian comic — a poster child for real di­ver­sity. Salomon is only mod­er­ately ag­gres­sive, which makes her act ap­peal­ing to all. You can see her at her monthly show at the Com­edy Bar, which she co-hosts with DeAnne Smith (who would have been on this list a few years ago).

She may not SARA HEN­NESSEY: be a new comic here in Toronto, but Hen­nessey’s lat­est role might be the one that takes this tal­ented comic to the next level. It’s called

on CBC Dig­i­tal. Hen­nessey (and co-star Stephanie Ka­liner) play hosts of a ’70s cable ac­cess show in­her­ited in a di­vorce set­tle­ment. Think meets

CBC has had some suc­cess with women’s com­edy lately with

and Could this show go net­work and fi­nally make Hen­nessey a star? Post City Mag­a­zines’ hu­mour colum­nist, Mark Bres­lin, is the founder of Yuk Yuk’s com­edy clubs and the au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing Con­trol Freaked.

L-R: Stephanie Ka­liner and Sara Hen­nessey in ‘Ter­rific Women’

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