The concept of seeing Finding Funny, a one man comedy show by You & Me Entertainment at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival, had me terrified. Let’s be real: one man shows – when they are bad – are terrible; and comedy – when it is bad – is much worse (a terrible one man comedy show would basically be some kind of hell). Plus, I take myself too seriously and find it hard to admit that I like comedy.
Lucky for me, I was won over in the first few seconds by Daniel Stolfi’s delightfully awkward physical sensibilities. I think he tricked me, by being awkward and terrible and then before I realized it, I was really enjoying the show. So I have to admit, the show was tight, with tons of subtle nuances and great delivery.
Stolfi delivers a kind of self-reflexive narrative of the birth of his desire to be funny, switching from sincere self-reflection to a cast of absurd characters from the comedy open-mic of your nightmares.
Each tense moment is milked for maximum effect, masterfully toying with the audience’s discomfort in a way that ultimately creates a warm, friendly, and accessible show. In the end, I couldn’t help but think that he must just be a really nice guy and kind of glad that he’s doing his thing, out there in the world.
I had fun despite my inner teen-goth thing about hating anything that is intentionally trying to be funny. I think the moment he truly won me over was when the artiste clown act devolved into a fart symphony. I probably laughed at that way too loud, and totally revealed my penchant for potty humour (there’s nothing more classic than a fart). So, I say kudos to Daniel for making a goth like a show about stand-up comedy.
- Finding Funny plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave)
- Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
- Friday July 1st, 08:30 pm
- Sunday July 3rd, 05:15 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 10:15 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 06:15 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 01:45 pm
- Saturday July 9th, 03:30 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 04:30 pm
Photo of Daniel Stolfi by Katie Anderson-Scott