The Second City presented the Cream of Comedy showcase featuring up and coming Toronto comedians
I had the pleasure of attending the 19th annual Cream of Comedy showcase last night at Toronto’s Second City. This night is a little different from other Second City shows, not in terms of the fantastic talent’s ability to make you laugh, but because it’s an annual juried competition that recognizes and encourages up and coming comedic talent in our city. There is a cash prize of $5,000 for the winner. Last night was hosted by Jeff McEnery featured five acts: four comics and an improv group. I’m happy to say that nothing about the night felt amateurish. Everyone on stage was confident, there was no fumbling or second guessing which I was rather impressed by.
For me, the show started off strong. The first comic was Sam Burns, a young man from Barrie who definitely has a future in comedy. He’s just the right amount of awkward with a great self deprecating sense of humour. His jokes were relatable, funny and his beat-boxing was completely unexpected and hilarious. He set the bar for the show.
Caitlin Langelier, the only female comic of the evening was next. Within the first couple of minutes I had a feeling she was going to be my favourite. Her jokes covered what it’s like being a lesbian, the wonderful Toronto job economy (she works at No Frills), growing up with a dad who was a vet and brought his work home and a whole bit about A&W burgers that you just had to be there for. The thing that set Langelier apart was by the end of her set I felt like I was getting to know her. Her performance was very personal, natural and truly funny. Did I mention she won? Very well deserved.
Moist Theatre is an improv group of four and while they were entertaining, they weren’t spectacular. But, I guess you never know how improv is going to turn out. After the intermission we saw Brendan Pinto and Jeremy Woodcock who gave us a few laughs. My show partner and I both felt that the first half of the evening was stronger than the second. But the nice thing about a venue like Second City or comedy clubs in general is that you can eat, drink and talk to your companions — discreetly — during the show which makes it a nice way to spend the evening.
Here’s a little background. The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund was founded by Lindsay Leese in 1995, at a time when Toronto comics had very little support and the comedy scene was not as robust as it is today. Leese stated in her speech that it was the first comedy award of its kind in Canada and helped pave the way for the comics we love watching today. She also announced that the award will be presented a little differently going forward: as of 2015 there will be two recipients of the Tims Sims award to keep the industry growing. One from the Second City pool of finalists, like this year, and the second from the graduating class of Humber College’s comedy program.
Overall, it was a great night and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store. The proceeds from ticket sales for this gala evening help support the Tim Sims Fund so I hope you consider coming out to see it next year. It’s a great cause and you’re guaranteed to laugh.
- Cream of Comedy was held on October 27, 2014 at 8pm at Second City (51 Mercer St, Toronto)
- For information about next year’s event visit TimSims.com
Photo (L-R) of Sam Burns, Caitlin Langelier, Jeremy Woodcock, Brendan Pinto with Moist Theatre in the second row provided by the company.