The Flirty Boys and Carson Pinch Will Die (2017 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival Double Bill)

Photo of The Flirty Boys provided by Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival.The Flirty Boys and Carson Pinch Will Die take to the stage at the Toronto Sketchfest!

My second night at Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival was spent catching the double bill of The Flirty Boys and Carson Pinch Will Die at The Theatre Centre. The comedy on offer tonight was just as intriguing as what I saw the night before and I would highly recommend checking out the rest of the festival this weekend with friends or dates!

The evening began with last year’s Audience Choice award winner The Flirty Boys, albeit missing two of their four members due to other commitments. While as an East Asian woman it was a bit sad to see the previously all-women troupe get replaced by two white male guest stars, I cannot say that they did not bring their A-game. In fact, the only moments that slightly marred the generally polished show were when the original members were surprised by how committed their guest stars were to their roles.

The set itself mostly consisted of sketches that lampooned millennial culture with spot-on impressions, and I was happy to note that most of them had a feminist bent. I felt an indescribable feeling of satisfaction come over me as I watched two women impersonate catcalling construction workers. In the words of my companion, “Sometimes I couldn’t even laugh because some of the material just felt too real.”

Don’t get me wrong, there were also a few silly sketches as well. Maybe it’s because I’m a 90s kid, but one of my favourite sketches of the night was an interpretive dance to the Spice Girls song “Mama” that ended with a perfectly sharp retort. Actually, the ability to find the perfect witticism to end a sketch was one of The Flirty Girls’ greatest skills.

Although I enjoyed myself overall, I was left with some questions at the end of a show that included a visit from the “Period Wizard” and an International Women’s Day video that focused on female genitalia. As a cisgender person who wants to be a good ally, I ask: Is there a way to acknowledge the gendered issues surrounding female genitalia and health without being complicit in endorsing the association between genitalia and womanhood?

The second show, Carson Pinch Will Die, pretty much hit all of my sketch comedy sweet spots: odd humour with great storytelling and a surprising amount of good acting from Pinch “and Friends.” Also, as promised by the title, Carson Pinch did die on stage, multiple times.

When I described the show as odd, I was not exaggerating. Preventing a neighbourhood watch from becoming a cult, accidentally walking into in a Warrior-esque battle-to-the-death, and being serenaded by “DJ Funeral” are some of the wacky situations that befall the schmucky everyman character, endearingly played by Pinch throughout most of the sketches.

While certain sketches worked better than others, I thought this was one of the strongest shows I’ve seen in a long time due to Pinch’s preternatural facilities for earnestness, making him the perfect straight man companion to the more farcical characters played by his Friends .

I was also quite impressed by Pinch’s writing. Even as the scenarios become more and more absurd, the sketches rarely felt bloated or tiresome because Pinch never lost the focus of his jokes and every escalation was done with precision.

Carson Pinch Will Die was a great end to the night and I haven’t mentioned the balloon-filled spectacle that was the ended the actual show.

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Photo of The Flirty Boys provided by the festival.

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