New comedy festival brings the laughs with a diverse lineup in Toronto
This October, The Theatre Centre launched a new festival, COMEDY IS ART, in support of comedy in Canada. Comedy is not currently recognized as its own art form in Canada, which has limited the amount of government funding available for comedians. In its inaugural year, the festival ran from October 1 to 5, and featured 8 shows with over 40 artists. I was fortunate enough to spend an evening watching Good Morning, Tonight!, a stand-up comedy show produced and hosted by spirited comedians Karis Anderson and Aidan O’Loughlin.
Good Morning, Tonight! was formatted like a morning talk show, except that it took place at 7PM. The hosts were charming and welcoming and made me feel right at home. They were relaxed, witty and easily made each other laugh on stage.
The show featured a lineup of 5 guest comedians, who were brought out one at time to chat and joke with the hosts, and then performed stand-up. The show’s lineup was refreshingly diverse, featuring a healthy representation of women and LGBTQ comedians.
For myself, standout comedians of the evening included Taylor Rivers, Amy Bugg and Aliya Kanani. Rivers’ reflections on his elderly grandparents and whether their antiquated political views sparked joy were hilarious. His commentary on open-casket funerals being a little too I-Told-You-So-esque was painfully funny, as was his story of trying to hide his decorating preferences throughout his closeted childhood.
Bugg’s deadpan delivery and blunt honesty were delightful. Her pro-butter campaign and croissant-confession were deeply relatable and real treats. Kanani’s musings on race were wickedly funny, and she revealed herself to be the feminist hero hip-hop needs. My friend and guest for the evening, Julia, loved comedian Tim Blair’s set, and his analysis on the similarities between pirates and rappers (hint: both groups love cruising around for booty, endlessly).
On the whole, Good Morning, Tonight! was a very fun evening. My friend and I were introduced to a stellar lineup of Canadian comedians and we both had tons of laughs.
I was surprised to learn that comedy is not currently recognized as its own art form in Canada, and am grateful for The Theatre Centre’s campaign to raise awareness and bring forth change. COMEDY IS ART is a festival I’m more than glad to support, and here’s to hoping the festival has many more laughs to give.
- COMEDY IS ART runs until October 5, 2019 at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West)
- Showtimes are available online
- Ticket prices range in price from $10 – $25
- Tickets are available online, or in person at the box office
Photo provided by the company