Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival

Toronto Sketch Comedy: This Is That, Nov 12, Lower Ossington Theatre

Posted on by Mark in Reviews, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival | Leave a comment

1x1.trans Toronto Sketch Comedy: This Is That, Nov 12, Lower Ossington Theatre

The first time I heard about CBC’s satire This Is That, I wasn’t sure what to think. I had jumped into the middle of an interview with a man from the “Toronto Arts Alliance” who thought that all Canadian Arts institutions should be moved to “Canada’s artistic capital – Toronto”. As absurd as the proposition was, the man was so convinced in his Toronto-centric thinking. He felt so darned believable in his absurdity that I did a mental double take. Combine this with the fact that this is coming through the CBC and you can’t help but laugh at being momentarily duped.

Seeing the show performed live at the Lower Ossington Theatre as part of Toronto’s Sketch Comedy Festival was a great opportunity to get a peak at how the show is put together. All characters are played by Pat Kelly & Peter Oldring. They fluidly move from segment to segment and juggle the roles of interviewee and interviewer like a hot potato. Their ability to step into very different and yet still believable characters is almost uncanny.

There was a Molson Canadian ad rep who wanted to rename the Northern Lights to the “Molson Canadian Northern Lights” and a Victoria-based cat lover who was campaigning for a cat park. One of my favourites was the head of the Canadian mint who announced an upcoming move to a completely paperless economy because “knowing how much money you have by weight is fun” and that going to the ATM would be like winning at the slot machines every time.

Although the situations were preposterous, the satire was biting. You could almost imagine knowing a person just like that. This was amazingly fun. I only wish Kelly & Peter would have interacted with the crowd a bit either before or after the show.

1x1.trans Toronto Sketch Comedy: This Is That, Nov 12, Lower Ossington Theatre

Toronto Sketch Comedy: Two Kids One Hall, Nov 10, Lower Ossington Theatre

Posted on by Mark in Reviews, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival | 1 Comment

1x1.trans Toronto Sketch Comedy: Two Kids One Hall, Nov 10, Lower Ossington Theatre

Last Thursday Kids In The Hall veterans Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald played the Lower Ossington Theatre as part of Toronto’s Sketch Comedy Festival. They joked about how they’ve got their careers backwards. Most comedians start in sketch comedy, and with luck and talent move onto television or movies. Here we have two of Canada’s most accomplished TV-based comedians “regress” towards sketch comedy with their show Two Kids One Hall. Since the Kids grew up in Toronto, it felt like a big hilarious and occasionally racy homecoming.

Before I dive into the show itself, I’d like to point out that the Lower Ossington Theatre kicks ass. At least during the comedy festival, the theatre itself is licensed. This means that you can casually drink a beer while watching a show. Amazing! If I had only known this I wouldn’t have chugged my wine before getting into the theatre proper. Lesson learned for next year: get sauced slowly at sketch festival.

“I’m not saying that you should rape a centaur, but you could…” Scott Thompson on the ethics involved in forced intercourse with woodland creatures

It’s amazing to see comedians that have already arrived. At this stage in their respective careers, both Scott & Kevin could continue to rest on the laurels of Kids and whatever random things they’ve accomplished since Kids, but they don’t. Their history of success gives them fuel to take risks others wouldn’t. This made for one hell of a funny show, with individual stand-up bits by both, as well as duo sketches that tied everything together with a bow of hilarious-ness. My cheeks still hurt from all the laughing.

1x1.trans Toronto Sketch Comedy: Two Kids One Hall, Nov 10, Lower Ossington Theatre

Comedy Review: Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, 2010

Posted on by Wade in Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival | Leave a comment

1x1.trans Comedy Review: Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, 2010

I ended up seeing shows on four of the six nights of the festival, which is much more than I had anticipated. I will attribute my pretty good attendance at the festival to the venues. The Lower Ossington Theatre was a great place to see shows with comfortable seats and great sightlines, and the Comedy Bar provides a good beer selection, and a comfortable spot to hang out before, during and after each show. Also, both venues are really close to my house.

Here are some reviews of the sketch groups that I caught in alphabetical order.
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Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival PREVIEW: UPSET TRIANGLE

Posted on by Wade in Everything, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival | 1 Comment

1x1.trans Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival PREVIEW: UPSET TRIANGLE

One of the great things about the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is that you get a chance to see what Americans think is funny. Upset Triangle are four guys from Jersey City who are making the trip north this week to make us laugh. As with most people in the entertainment industry, especially those from the New York area, the Upset Triangle team have their fingers in many entertainment pies. They have been seen on G4TV, Comedy Central, TBS.com, New York Television Festival, Atom.com, Comcast On Demand, Channel 101, and Channel Frederator. Check ‘em out.

Q. What can audiences expect from an Upset Triangle show?
A. Chaos and Confusion. A simple way to explain our show is we’re the American Mighty Boosh, replace the songs with special effects and animation. Our live show is a mix of alternative and traditional sketch that mixes videos and cartoons. Similar in format to Mr. Show but with a surreal imagination. We’ve done plenty of research on Toronto. We’re all experts now on the city.

Q. How do you guys write, create material and ultimately finalize the sketches and material that you put out?
A. We write a script, then act it out and improvise, then rewrite. We act it out again and take out the parts that aren’t necessary or add more jokes. We do it live and based off that we rewrite and change parts. The sketches can change dramatically over time but if they work, then nothing needs to change. Our sketches are heavy on how we feel when we are performing. We love to go off script and explore where the sketch can go.

Q. You guys have really embraced the web in getting your content out to the world. Have you found web videos to be a successful endeavor for your group?
A. It turns your work into a viable commodity that you can potentially pitch to online media companies or tv executives. It’s crucial to have your work on the internet especially if you’re doing sketch comedy.

Q. For one of your other projects, Redeeming Rainbow, you have Kristen Schaal cast as one of the potential characters. Is she a friend of yours? What is the deal with her?
A. I’m friends with Kristen and Kurt who voiced Rainbow. They have a great variety show in nyc called Hot Tub and a great web series called Penelope Princess of Pets that Pat, Rob, and myself all worked on. I first worked with Kristen on my tv pilot, The Calderons, where she acted along side an animatronic handicapped robot in a wheelchair. There is no one else like Kristen, she’s a great person.

Q. Jersey Shore vs. The Sopranos. Discuss.
A. First off, We’re all insulted by this question. Second: Jersey is way more corrupt than it is tacky. Sopranos all the way. Wonderfully acted, written, and shot. Has Steve Buscemi. The Jersey Shore should be retitled “Staten Islanders” because more than half the cast aren’t Jersey natives.

Catch Upset Triangle Here:
Thursday, Nov.4, 9pm – Lower Ossington Theatre
Friday, Nov.5, 8pm – Comedy Bar