Fringe review: Good News, Toronto!

Sketches about millennials and real estate, the Eglinton LRT and Doug Ford stand out in uneven news parody show

GOOD NEWS, TORONTO! by the company (Good News Toronto/Digital Toronto Fringe). Streaming on Fringe On-Demand until August 15. Rating: NNN

Most sketch comedy shows are a mixed bag, and this Toronto-centric news parody show is no exception.

The nine-member group has been performing their monthly show for several years, which might explain the smugness in some of their rhythms, as if they’re in on a joke the rest of us don’t know. An outside eye could have tightened up some segments and punched up the jokes. (More consistent sound quality could also help.)

The 40-minute video gets off to an awkward start with an extended, endless intro featuring all their titles and beats. Many of the commercial parodies work well, especially a series of Jazz Festival spots featuring mostly made-up names that are so silly they could be real. A bit about how millennials might get into the Toronto real estate market is satire at its most savage. And a parody of Duolingo teaching people how to talk normally after the pandemic is brilliant.

I also liked Quentin Matheson’s intentionally indecipherable web commercial about how ordinary folks can get into the “stocks market.” It comes complete with a “Skip ads” arrow. And the animation on Jeremy Friedmann’s segment on the problems with meat is very clever.

A couple of performers stand out. Blair Macmillan has a quirky fearlessness that animates her segments, especially in a catchy song about the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. And anchor/co-producer Korri Birch delivers a Doug Ford Watch rant that is pointed and sharp.

These make up for the less inspired sketches, including a take on park encampments that, given the events of the last couple of weeks, seems in particularly bad taste right now.


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