Get to Know a Few of the Funniest Comedians in Canada; SiriusXM’s 2017 Top Comic Finalists!


This week, Toronto- is even funnier than usual.  It’s time for #JFL42, one of best comedy festivals in North America. International stand up superstars have sold out Toronto’s theaters, some of the best comedians in the world are taking over Toronto’s comedy clubs, and one of the biggest events of the week puts the spotlight on Canada’s own. SiriusXM’s Top Comic finale takes place Thursday, September 28th at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

The annual competition is the culmination of a long search throughout all of Canada for the best young talent the country has to offer. Hundreds of comics from across Canada registered for the competition and those hundreds were whittled down to just eight finalists to compete in this year’s 8th annual competition. Those eight comics are competing for $25,000 and guaranteed spots at the three Canadian JFL festivals in 2018. Last years winner, Chris Robinson, has already performed twice in the festival and has one more show to go- be sure and check him out.

The finale is hosted once again by SiriusXM’s Ben Miner, and Todd Barry will be headlining the eventIt’s going to be a night not to be missed, but even if you can’t be there, get to know these eight up and coming comics. Canada has produced some of the funniest people who have ever lived historically, and both the city of Toronto and the country as a whole seem to be in a golden age of sorts, producing some incredibly talented performers.

Watch clips and get more information at topcomic.siriusxm.com and get tickets at jfl42.com.

Kyle Bottom, Vancouver B.C.

What’s your go-to place in Toronto for any reason?

Every time I visit Toronto, I absolutely have to go to the Crown and Dragon for chicken wings. They have a huge variety of wings, all of which are delicious. The staff are great, and I definitely feel at home when I’m there. Win or lose, after the Top Comic finals, I’ll be going to the Crown for some Foghorn Leghorn, Dragon’s Breath, and Honeycomb Heaven.

What comedian or comedians are your favorites- the people you saw and said- that’s what I want to do?

I saw Eddie Murphy: Delirious when I was 12. That was basically it for me. It was R rated so my older sister would rent it for us every couple weeks, until I was old enough to rent it for myself. Obviously as I grew up, so did my comedic influences, but it all started with Eddie Murphy.

Who is your favorite comic who isn’t famous?

Nigel Grinstead. Toronto’s fuzzy browed bad boy. I love the snark Nigel brings to the stage. The first time I saw him do comedy I was an instant fan, and 2 years after that first meeting, I watched him crush the Homegrown competition at JFL. He should be on your radar if he isn’t already.

If you could have one person’s comedy career, who would it be?

Michael Richards. Just kidding. I think the world of people like Joe Mande. He’s an amazing comic and a talented TV writer. His Netflix special is hilarious. He’s got an enviable career, and he’s still so young.

Last show you binge-watched, or favorite TV show?

Masterchef – Season 8. I’m a huge Gordon Ramsey fan. He’s “the most amazing” person in food television. I put “the most amazing” in quotes because he says those exact words all the time.

Graham Chittenden, Brantford, ON

What’s the best comedy movie to quote?

Blues Brothers. If you order three orange whips and somebody gets it, you know you’re among friends.

Best celebrity sighting you’ve ever had?

Once on the North Shore in Hawaii, Dennis Quaid gave me and my girlfriend a serious cut-eye look while he sat under one of those gazebo shade tents, smoking a dart. It was when he was filming Soul Surfer. I still haven’t seen that movie, but maybe it would give me some insight into his anger that day.

Where do you write?

I bought a camping trailer and put it in my backyard. I can just go out there with my laptop and set my laptop on the table and take a quick nap. But one day, I’ll get bored of napping and actually write something.

What’s your comedy goal? Is it arena tours? Television? Theater? Touring clubs? A giant special? Getting on a late night television show?

I used to want Letterman’s job, but now I think Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is almost as perfect a job as I could have – driving fascinating cars, stopping for coffee and donuts, talking and laughing with interesting people, it’s damn near perfect. If it were my show, we’d stop to pet some dogs, but that’s the only the difference.

What was the worst hell gig you’ve ever done?

I paved my way with bad gigs. I once did five shows at factory in a single day, in the lunch room where people were treated to a turkey dinner and a comedy show. They were on shifts, so I did shows at noon, 5pm, 6pm, and a midnight show for the night shift, which turned out to be six guys eating turkey and wondering why there was a guy telling jokes to them at midnight. I bet it made them feel better about their jobs that night. Also, for some added drama, I had food poisoning that day.

Gavin Matts, New Westminster, BC

How long have you been performing comedy and where was the first club you went on stage?

I’m in my fourth year of stand up. My first set was at an open mic in the basement of Goldie’s Pizza on March 1st, 2014. My first club set was at The Comedy Mix in September 2014, those are the 2 scariest sets I’ve ever done and I wish I could forget about them.

What club do you consider your home club? Where you’ve done most of your growth and work most often. Why do you love that club?

The Comedy Mix is definitely my home club in Vancouver. When I started, I would go every weekend to at least 2 shows so I could watch headliners. I’m there all the time now and I’ve been going there for so long that I just feel a different level of comfort than I do on other stages, which really helps me write new material and tighten up old stuff. It’s literally my favorite place, I love walking down the stairs and seeing all the staff, plus the crowds are the best in the city so that’s a huge bonus.

Favorite music groups right now (they don’t have to be current- anyone you love)?

Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals is the best thing happening right now

Best celebrity sighting you’ve ever had?

I saw Owen Wilson biking in Vancouver and I yelled “Hey, Owen Wilson!” He was visibly upset that I had outed him because he was wearing this big straw hat, but I knew it was him because I know how he rides a bike from seeing Midnight in Paris like 10 times.

What comedian or comedians are your favorites- the people you saw and said- that’s what I want to do?

The first comic I ever saw live was Chelsea Peretti, she opened for Aziz Ansari in 2012, she crushed so hard and I had no idea who she was – I was like “oh, I want to do that”. I’m also a huge Hannibal Buress fan, both Hannibal and Chelsea have ideal careers in my opinion.

Who is your favorite comic who isn’t famous?

My favorite comics who aren’t famous are Andy Haynes, Dino Archie, Sophie Buddle, and Chris James. Another comic I really like in Vancouver is my friend Ashkon Mohammadi, he’s super funny and puts in a crazy amount of work.

What’s your comedy goal? Is it arena tours? Television? Theater? Touring clubs? A giant special? Getting on a late night television show?

I really just want to tour theatres opening for someone cool and then headline clubs. That’s the dream, but being on a sitcom would definitely be a bonus and a good end goal for all that.

What’s the best thing you ever ate?

Ramen in Japan.

 

Kathleen McGee, Edmonton, AB 

How long have you been performing comedy and where was the first club you went on stage? 

I’ve been doing comedy for 13 years as of February 1st, 2018. My first time on stage was at a strip mall bar in Mill Woods, Alberta called Live Wire for 4 people and 8 comics. My first club set was at Yuk Yuk’s Edmonton.

What’s your go to place to go in Toronto for any reason.  Dive bar, pizza place, burger, quiet place, anything. 

I love The Dakota Tavern. When I lived in Toronto, I was there every Sunday night I could. I got my heart broken there once, eaten many Blue Grass Brunches and danced my ass off there many times. It’s the greatest bar.

Where do you write?  

In the shower and on Twitter. Twitter is a joke book that gives feedback.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?

Waiting For Guffman, I could watch that movie on a loop and never get tired of it.

What is the best bar night in Toronto for comedy? 

I haven’t lived in Toronto for 6 years. I honestly don’t know anymore, but if you’re ever in Vancouver check out Stand and Deliver at Seven Dining Lounge on Wednesdays. It’s a sign up – go up that runs late with lots of new comics and tons of pros dropping in. It’s one of the best comedy gyms out there. You get to see comics work their jokes out.

Who is your favorite comic who isn’t famous? 

Sean Lecomber, based out of Edmonton and totally underrated in this country. He’s so dark and so funny. One of the best joke writers alive.

Sterling Scott, Edmonton, AB

What was the worst hell gig you’ve ever done?

One of my worst hell gigs happened in some small town in northern Alberta. I had to drive across a frozen lake to make it to the town. When I got to the venue, they never advertised for the show, half the room was filled with slot machines which the 12 people in attendance were playing on, and the stage was on the other side of a 30 foot dance floor. The venue had no stage lights, no mic stand, and they gave me the mic from a karaoke machine that was hooked up to a small speaker laying on the floor.  As I started to perform, some of the people started to listen and peek from behind their slot machines. One person said “hey, you’re funny. I will call some people over” I said great and continued on with the show. Five minutes later, four people walked in looked at me and said “screw you, we’re playing pool!” and started playing pool right next to the stage. I looked at the bar manager and he motioned to keep going. Two of the people that came in then dragged a lunch table onto the middle of the dance floor and had a arm wrestling competition. The guy from earlier yells out to me “sorry that’s my mom and dad. I invited them!” This all happened with only 15 min into my act so I had to complete another 45 minutes of “comedy” with all this magic happening around me.

Best celebrity sighting you’ve ever had?

I was at the Drake concert and because of a friend, I managed to sneak back stage. While backstage I met some people who are part of Drake’s entourage that went to school with me and or lived in my old neighbourhood.  As we were catching up and laughing, all of sudden from behind me comes Drake! I turn and he smiles at me, gives me a hand shake then pulls me and all his crew into a prayer circle and all I’m thinking is “Holy shit! I’m in a Drake prayer circle!” Then when he finished the prayer, we all cheered and walked him right out onto the stage for his sold out show with over 20,000 people.

What’s your favorite comedy festival?

My favorite festival is the Just for Laughs festival. Its the Olympics of comedy festivals where your career can literally change overnight.

What is the best bar for comedy?

The hottest comedy club, in my opinion, would be Absolute Comedy club in Ottawa.

What was the worst you’ve ever bombed?

I got booed off the stage at the Apollo theatre and had the sound man come dance me off stage.

Michelle Shaughnessy, Edmonton, AB

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Rocky! It’s the best love story of all time.

What’s the best comedy movie to quote?

Wayne’s World. I’m a hardcore fan and look like Wayne Campbell when I wear a hat.

What did you eat for breakfast today?

Vegan Fudge- I made it

Who is your favorite comic who isn’t famous?

Me- Because your fanbase has gotta start somewhere!

Last TV show you binge-watched or just your favorite television show?

Right now, I’m re-binging on .

Kelly Taylor, Edmonton, AB

How long have you been performing comedy and where was the first club you went on stage?

I have been doing comedy almost 15 years. The first time I did a show, it was not at a club. Since I am from a small town, I had no idea how to start doing stand up comedy. I never knew you start at open mics or amateur night. I told my mom I wanted to be a comedian, then one day she said the bank wants a comedian for the Christmas party, and even though I had never done stand up I knew that wasn’t my target audience, but no one else is offering me gigs so I took the offer of a 100 bucks for a one hour show. No idea that you start out doing 3-5 minutes. It actually went pretty good. I am sure the material was terrible.

What club do you consider your home club?

I used to consider The Comic Strip in Edmonton my home club as Bronson’s were my mangers in early years so I was there all the time. I still love that club, but I also feel like Rumor’s is a type of home club as I have done every year for the last 11, and it’s like a family there.

What comedian or comedians are your favorites- the people you saw and said- that’s what I want to do?

I listened to Norm Macdonald talk about being in the back seat of a car on the radio when I was in grade 6 I think, and thought that is the funniest thing I have ever heard and thought I wanna do that. It was an everyday thing, and I think that’s how I now write everyday things. To this day that is still my favorite bit.

Who is your favorite comic who isn’t famous?

Sean Lecomber. He is so good on and off the stage.

What did you eat for breakfast today?

Oatmeal, 90% time oatmeal. I am a prairie guy and that’s how I was raised.

What’s your comedy goal?

Ahh, that has changed so many times over the years. SNL (went to meeting with Brillstein and Grey back in the day and they asked what I want to do and I said SNL, they said “oh, you do lots of characters?, Nope, well that’s what SNL is,” never thought of that. Then it was just to do Letterman, that’s passed, so not sure. Fame is not one of them, I have been around famous people and the non-stop people in your face doesn’t seem fun. My goal is to keep enjoying it while still being creative. You can have a great show, but if it’s the same old there is no rush in it, and I hate myself. It’s the shows were I have a few bullet points and talk about them and see where they go are the nights I love.

What was the worst hell gig you’ve ever done?

A high school grad at 2 am. Got on stage, kids pulled the cord out of the mic and started throwing change at me. Told the lady before I went on, that stopping the music and doing stand up is a bad idea, and she said “oh, it will be a nice way to break up the night.”

What’s your favorite comedy festival?

Favorite Festival, Just for Laughs

Ana-Marija Stojic, Edmonton, AB

What’s the best comedy movie to quote?

“Airplane,” hands down! It’s so iconic.

Where do you write?

Everywhere I can. My most common haunts are the couch in my living room, an empty seat on the subway and anywhere they sell coffee.

What comedian or comedians are your favorites- the people you saw and said- that’s what I want to do?

Emo Philips, Jon Dore, Mindy Kaling,

Last TV show you bingewatched or just your favorite television show?

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” was the last show I bingewatched. I cry every time Ru says “Now, sashay away”.

What’s the best thing you ever ate?

Homemade cheese

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