Top 5 comedy shows
Comedy is often the best when the world’s going down the crapper. So no wonder these five shows – just a sample of the range and variety of acts in the city – impressed me so much.
1 ASHLEY WITH A “Y” Factory Studio, July 7
The Second City alum’s solo Fringe musical with accompanist Scott White took improv to a whole other level, using audience suggestions to recall stories from her life, resulting in songs that touched on universal truths. Someone please produce this as a regular show in 2019!
2 THE BEST IS YET TO COME UNDONE Second city, april 9
Covering big topics (#MeToo, systemic racism) and silly ones (what would a lonely traffic light sound like?), director Carly Heffernan and her beautifully balanced cast – Stacey McGunnigle, Chris Wilson, Allana Reoch, Brandon
Hackett, Nadine Djoury and Sharjil Rasool – delivered sketch perfection.
3 RAPP BATTLEZ 100TH SHOW the Great hall, March 9
Miguel and Freddie Rivas’s monthly comedy smackdown marked its major milestone with a special show at Toronto’s Sketch Comedy Festival featuring what felt like a cast of thousands. It was loud, aggressive, sometimes incoherent, often brilliant and usually extremely inappropriate. In other words: a great show.
4 JAMES ACASTER the GarriSon, SepteMber 22
Who knew that a tall, pale Brit who looks like he’s related to Ron Weasley’s
ginger brood could make a tough JFL42 crowd laugh about Mr. Bean, boneheaded soccer fans and the one song that, when first heard, unites everyone?
5 A SkETCH COMEDY ExTRAvAgANZA ELEgANZA buddieS in bad tiMeS, noveMber 3
I’ve seen lots of queer sketch before, but this solid troupe – Tricia Black, Tom Hearn, King Chiu, Monica Garrido, Marshall Lorenzo, Jillian Welsh and Selena Vyle (Nicky Nasrallah’s drag persona), all directed by Kirsten Rasmussen – is fresh, has a definite point of view and is fearlessly frank and funny. Shantay, they all stay.
Ashley Botting proved improv comedy can be high art in the Fringe’s Ashley With A “Y.”