When I first got the press materials for Gavin Crawford: “Friend” “Like” #Me, I was nervous: comedy about the Selfie Generation usually takes the form of smug indignation about Kids These Days With Their Apps, hyuck hyuck hyuck. But Crawford’s Toronto Fringe Festival show takes it in a completely new direction, culminating in a rallying cry for those of us who aren’t ashamed to “get” technology.
What surprised me the most about his set (this is basically stand-up with occasional props) was how political it was. Plenty of people were laughing nervously, not entirely confident that he wasn’t skewering them — and that’s a testament to Crawford’s skill as a performer. Anyone who can unbalance an audience like that but still get rounds of applause at the end is doing something right.
The targets he chooses are hefty and diverse, and his use of personal anecdotes helps add an edge to what might otherwise be a funny-but-disposable project. Instead of becoming a list of stupid things people do on the internet, Crawford packs his material into a broader call for civility and respect, both on- and offline.
Okay, sure, you don’t always need to know that your neighbour’s college roommate is having a frittata for breakfast, but for every cat video, there’s a chance to connect, to watch, to share, to express — and on Crawford’s account, anyone who’d ignore these channels in favour of riffing on silly hashtags (#Overdone #SimmerDownGrandpa #ItStopsBeingFunnyWhenPeterMansbridgeGetsInOnIt) is missing the point entirely.
I didn’t find it as piss-your-pants hilarious as some of the people in the audience, but it’s still pretty damned funny, and Crawford has certainly tickled my brain in unexpected ways.
- Gavin Crawford: “Friend” “Like” #Me is playing until July 9th at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst St, enter through the parking lot.)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- Be advised that this venue is relatively small, and that early performances have been selling out. Advance purchase is recommended.
July 05 at 12:30 PM
July 06 at 06:45 PM
July 07 at 02:15 PM
July 08 at 04:00 PM
July 09 at 09:15 PM
Photograph of Gavin Crawford provided by the company.