Sketch comedy has little leeway when it comes to success or failure. The absolute worst description for a comedy cabaret is boring. The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival‘s Weird Science cabaret at The Comedy Bar fell into that trap.
With the theme weird science, I was surprised to find that most of the sketches were as far from the theme as possible. Case in point, the opening sketch titled the ‘Science of Dating’ played as an instructional video about how to date; not a bad scene, but not much of a connection to science. Where the threads could be so thin, I thought most of the scenes were forgettable, relying on tired jokes, old tropes, and lacking direction or purpose.
Another, more specific issue with this particular cabaret is that each scene suffered from multiple endings. If it had been the occasional scene, I would have brushed it off, but multiple times I felt the end had come and gone while everything else kept going. I think this was exacerbated by the sense of rushing that permeated the show. The host seemed keen to move things along and I can’t help but wonder if, mixed with multiple endings, the cabaret’s timing just felt really off.
It was a night I wish I hadn’t been alone because I longed to get another perspective. At least Weird Science had a few gems. My personal favorite was Highbrau’s hilarious reflection on people and transportation. Another popular scene that was particularly clever involved saving a Facebook post in the style of the show ER.
Weird Science perfectly encapsulates the worst about sketch comedy. At its best, comedy is a conversation starter. At its worst, it falls flat. That’s a scientific fact.
- Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival runs until March 15th at The Theatre Centre, The Randolph Theatre, and The Comedy Bar
- Festival schedule and showtimes can be found here
- Ticket prices range from $10 -$62
- Tickets can be at the venue box office two hours before showtime, in person at The Theatre Centre advanced ticket box office, by phone at 647-505-1050, or purchased online here
Photo courtesy of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival website