A Host-with-the-most Jo-Anna Downey celebrates a decade of helming the Wednesday-night open mic at Spirits Bar & Grill , which itself is marking its lucky 13 birthday. Downey hasn't confirmed the lineup, but her anniversary shows are always standing-room-only affairs. Even if your favourite local comic isn't on the bill, expect to see him or her there for one kick-ass party. August 23. 416-967-0001.
Wet and wild
The Wet Spots call themselves "Canada's favourite musical pervs," and they're not far off. The fabulously outfitted duo send up society's hang-ups about sex. Think the Sunday Night Sex Show With Sue meets The Drowsy Chaperone. What's cool is that they can actually sing. Before their three-and-a-half-month international tour, they're launching their new disc, called Hello Kinky , at Revival, and will perform along with a bunch of guests from T.O.'s burgeoning drag and burlesque scene. Prepare to get Wet June 29! www.wetspotsmusic.com.
Second City 's punning show titles have always been clever, but their latest, Bird Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest , kinda verges on bad taste. Count on societal fears over bird flu, SARS and a cocky new PM to be on the comedy menu. The sketch troupe ( Lauren Ash , Matt Baram , Anand Rajaram and Naomi Snieckus are joined by newbies James Annan and Scott Montgomery ) is under the able direction of Chris Earle , an SC alum and award-winning playwright whose last SC-directed show was the terrific Psychedelicatessen. Opens June 8. 416-343-0011.
Kiss my Sass
Just as the sexy comedy series on which it was based had to end, spunky improv-based show Sass And The City bows for the last time (barring any reunion specials) some time in July. Sarah Buski , who played the Carrie Bradshaw-esque central character, is heading to law school in Kingston. Sigh. Buski's going to have a laugh-filled final summer. She's also a co-producer of the Toronto Festival Of Clowns , which takes over the Distillery District July 14 and 15. Note: if you think there's a clown in you, there will be a "clownification station" to help you discover him or her. Finally, Rica Eckersley and Jan Caruana , two other Sass improvisers, will be sending up Fringe shows in the Me Likey Fun Hour 3: The Revenge Of The Me Likey Fun Hour -- This Time It's Personal on August 31. Among other things, the two send up the one-woman show, the Canadian kitchen-sink drama and low-budget musicals. www.baddogtheatre.com (for Sass and Me Likey), and www.torontoclown. com (for the Clown Fest).
Speaking of the Fringe, it's now become the place to premiere comedy-related shows. Everyones hoping to be the new Drowsy Chaperone or Top Gun: The Musical. Some of this years comic contenders include Plan "LIVE" From Outer Space , a stage version of the campy Ed Wood classic, starring Aurora Browne , Brandon Firla , Lisa Brooke and others, and Swiss Family Guy Robinson , Brian Froud 's solo retelling of the Swiss Family Robinson using the voices from TV's The Family Guy. Meanwhile, David Shore 's hilarious interview-then-improv show, Monkey Toast , takes over the nightly Late Night @ The Fringe spot with improvisers including Lisa Merchant , Jack Mosshammer , Janet Van De Graaff and Bruce Hunter . Get Fringing July 5 to 15. www.fringetoronto. com.
The underground comedy scene is bigger than ever, and leading the way is alternative sketch troupe the Distractions . Combined with the troupe Knock Knock. Who's There? Comedy! and musician Bob Wiseman , they've put on the monthly Comedy And A (fill in the blank here)... show at the Rivoli (June 11), and starting July 2 they're teaming up with the folks from Righteous Wednesdays at the Oasis to mount weekly Sunday-night shows at the Riv. Expect sketches, monologues, music and films that are a little off the beaten (laugh) track. These guys are postmodern, deadpan and original. www.distractionsthe.com.