A solid comedy quiz show presented by Adam Growe at the Randolph Theatre in Toronto
If The Adam Growe Quiz Show (which played the Randolph last night) were organized by anyone else, it would be dreadful. You can only stuff so many things into a playbill before it collapses under its own weight, and the night’s programme includes music, stand-up, trivia, stand-up, variety, stand-up, and cash prizes, interspersed with more stand-up. It sounds exhausting, and I wasn’t expecting much as I wandered in.
How silly of me. It was incredible.
Growe has mastered the alchemy needed to make these diverse elements work on a single bill. Using his well-researched and entertaining trivia as a foundation, he uses other performers and guests to leaven–rather than pad or fill–the rest of the show. Some parts succeeded better than others, but the bang-bang-bang pace of the evening prevented anything from dragging on to unforgiveable lengths: sit tight, even the cringeworthy stuff would be over soon.
And it’s a damn good thing that Growe exists at the centre of this show. Everything about Growe’s stand-up persona is just so: clever without being a prick; relatable without losing his own personality; edgy without being cutting. He sparkled the most during the improv segments, which were head-and-shoulders above the worst-case “Hey, [Name Of City]! How about [Local Sports Team]? You know, my girlfriend doesn’t like it when I watch [sport]…” spitballing, but the real showcase of his talent was the warmth he subtly poured into the room. Any comic who can get the audience to spontaneously shout back anything but abuse is doing something right; and a comic who can effortlessly roll with these punches is truly outstanding.
Can you win cash? Well, yes. Not much: at $30 a ticket, you’ll just about cover your costs, and only about a dozen people get to play. But that’s not the point. And to be perfectly frank, three hours of watching Growe read trivia questions would be pretty dull. Jeopardy’s 22 minutes long for a reason.
Instead, Growe has produced something more akin to a laid-back, after-dark variety show, enhanced considerably by alcohol service, a groovy house band, and spontaneous audience participation. It’s a great three hours.
- The Adam Growe Quiz Show played at the Randolph Theatre on Saturday the 8th of June, 2013.
- Tickets were $29.99, plus handling and taxes.
Image of Adam Growe by David Leyes.