Every year in the middle of October various comedy clubs and collectives in Toronto put on a show featuring a lineup of their best and brightest. The main aim of these shows is to impress the people tasked with creating the lines-ups for the Winnipeg Comedy festival and the Halifax comedy festival both held in late April.
Showcase week has also become a sort of a report card for Just for Laughs with their scouts often dropping by. Although the world’s largest comedy festival holds their own show showcases in mid April.
Showcase week is a great way to see a-lot of talent at once bringing their A-game. It is very high steaks with comics being judged by one set on one night. With a scene so big and varied in Canada it is inevitable that a few comics get overlooked. The following is a list of comics who would make a great addition to any festival.
Montreal based Turner and Lyng have been touring their Rad dads solo show Nationally for 2 years A humorous look at contemporary parenthood from two unlikely role models. They would bring a relatability to young families attending a festival who would be grateful for the honest laughs together.The Rad dads would surely justify the hiring of a baby sitter. As host or a solo act Turner and Lyng have undeniable chemistry and are certainly not your Father’s comedy duo.
Vancouver based Ryan Williams has been putting in work since being named a finalist in the prestigious Top Comic competition in 2018. Williams would bring a new school young Jim Carey vibe to the festival that is fresh but familiar. His unique stage presence has energy to spare and would reach the back rows of any venue he would play.
This Scottish transplant to the Toronto scene has made the list because simply put he is one heck of a host. Often called upon to host shows by famed Toronto producer Ian Atlas. Mostyn hosts his own show called “Best Of” monthly on a Saturday night at Comedy bar. A talented comic and a talented host are not always concurrent talents. Mostyn would bring blunt short moments of hilarity that cleanse the pallet between comics and he hardly ever says “ lets keep this comedy train a rollin”
This Caribbean Canadian showman has been a mainstay in the Toronto stand up scene yet largely overlooked by the major festivals. Quinn C Martin has a sort of way of getting an audience to crack that comes from knowing (like really knowing) the craft. With a vast amount of material that runs the gambit from Blue to squeaky clean. He could read any room a festival would place him on and probably get an applause break in the process.
Comedian and content creator extraordinaire Amish Patel has done very well on the Canadian fringe circuit with his motivational speaker parody “win at life mega expo” as well as many emerging festivals such as the Kitchener comedy festival. He is as driven as he is charming with a candour about his Indian heritage that any and all walks of life can relate to. Amish has proven his festival viability hopefully the majors take notice this season
Just concluded a run at the JFL42 comedy festival and has been signed to Comedy Records for a number of years Reynoldson is at the right place in his career for him to be able to knock out a 7 min festival set as well as a headline set with ease. Reynoldson was featured on the 2018 edition on The Winnipeg comedy festival. A Zany fly creature who is somehow smooth and angry at the same time. His distinctive style would make an eclectic addition to any festival lineup.
Tamara Shevon is one of a select group of female comics to emerge and thrive out of Toronto’s notoriously tough club The Corner.Shevon approaches every crowd with a unshakable cool you cannot teach. This coupled with a eloquence and clarity of thought that serves as ammunition for Shevon’s razor sharp wit that is way beyond her years. Your festival deserves the Tamara Shevon treatment.
Kate Davis is a very skilled comic who was the first to release her Album on Allison Dore’s Howl and Roar records. Davis lights up a stage and is so consistently hilarious she has the touring schedule to match. Davis has a confidence and candidness about all aspects of life that would make even the largest festival venue seem intimate.
Keith Pedro was named to the Just for Laughs homegrown list in 2017 and has certainly grown every year since. Constantly writing and touring the Yuk Yuks comedy clubs across Canada the headline favourite is a comic of the people. His charm is undeniable and Pedro always makes every moment on stage count with a focus that gives an audience their money’s worth. Pedro is doing material that is full of funny first social commentary about his reality as a proud Filipino father. Pedro would bring big laughs and bigger questions to a festival audience and remind them we are all just trying to figure this life out together.
Sarah Ashby is your post alt comedy dream girl. Sarah Ashby has been bringing her endearing and cunning brand of humour all over Canada for several years now. A great joke writer that cleverly brings pop culture references tightly into frame of references. There are few better comics who represent the contemporary Toronto scene at this level of polished performance while keeping honesty intact. Sarah Ashby works incredibly hard at being a good comic and it’s only a matter of time before network executives bookers space aliens and everyone else are caught up in her charming force field.