Good News, Toronto (playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival) is an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle. Running since 2013 as a live sketch show, the Fringe version is a pre-recorded comedy newsdump, featuring diverse correspondents gnawing away on all sorts of stories.
The cast do their best work when they’re at their most playful: as a sketch show for people who follow the news, there’s a lot to commend here. The show gets off to a good start with a promising This Hour-style headlines segment; I especially liked a treatment of the real estate market, and an all-hands-on-deck bit dealing with bone broth.
This format also lets a few performers shine in especially choice solo bits, like Ally Medeiros’ song about the perils of re-opening during a pandemic, Jeremy Friedman’s late-show segment dealing with methane, and Jasmine Irwin’s live-on-the-scene coverage from Toronto’s best McDonalds. MVPs: Linda Julia Paolucci (every contribution polished to a mirrored sheen), and Quentin Matheson (whose left-field YouTube parody lands especially well).
But I had a problem with this show: so much of the humour is rooted in awkwardness, with a particular taste for milking and milking and milking a gag. These moments reminded me of how much I still miss Fringe shows. A lot of these milk-the-cow-dry jokes could have crushed it in a sweltering room full of giggly strangers, but land differently when you’re sitting alone in your apartment.
That being said, there’s a reason this show has been running in comedy clubs and theatres since 2013: the transfer to video may be slightly squishy, but I wasn’t exaggerating when I told you how this piece made me nostalgic. Really, all that’s missing are some blackouts, some pander-to-the-audience 90s throwback music cues, and a 21-year-old BFA with a plastic watering can shilling for Fringe pins. There’s a Fringe show here; is that not what you’re looking for?
- Good News, Toronto is playing on-demand at the Virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival.
- Purchase a $5 Membership to access the On-Demand programming on the Fringe website, then Pay What You Can to each show as you go, with the suggested price of $13 per show.
- Memberships can be purchased here. View the virtual on-demand show listings here.
- Accessibility notes:
- On-Demand shows: videos are closed captioned, transcripts are available for all audio content, documents are screen-reader friendly, and all digital images are provided with alternative text descriptions. These access supplements have been generated by the company and reviewed by the Festival. They may vary slightly from company to company.
- Fringe Primetime presentations will feature Auto-Transcribed Captioning.
- Content warning: the festival considers this show unsuitable for audiences below the age of 18, and notes that it contains gunshots, sexual content, abrupt cues, flashing lights, and mature language.