ROCK YOU TORONTO! with the GTOs, GLYPH, Andy Boorman and host Boyd Banks at Clinton's (693 Bloor West), Monday (February 10) at 9 pm. $5. 416-535-9541. Rating: NNNNN
Even after six years, all-female sketch troupe the GTOs can still burn up a comedy stage. Just don't expect them to inhale."Each one of us has given up cigarettes since we started the troupe," admits member Jeanie Calleja. "Oh yeah, and we no longer eat junk food."
That's not to imply that they've sanitized their shtick. Even with the departure of one member (Gabby Hahn) and the loss to marriage and New York City of another (Mary Crosbie), the GTOs have kept their material in-your-face, fearless and controversial.
Classic GTOs sketches include a series about loser boy-band backup dancers, a scene where women casually slip the fact that they've been raped that day into their conversations and a bit about a randy granny.
When I first saw them -- then there were five -- a few years ago, I thought: good energy, OK writing skills and they're obviously unafraid to be or seem as crude as all-guy acts.
"It's never been a question of "Well, guys can do it -- why can't we?'" says Calleja. "It's always been just "How can we get away with it?' Period."
Passed over for a SketchCom spot in the short-lived CBC sketch comedy series yet nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award in 2001, the troupe has persevered, even though sketch is no longer the flavour of the moment.
"When we were starting out, there was a lot of awesome stuff happening in sketch," says Calleja days before a rare reunion gig (Crosbie's flying in from Manhattan) at Clinton's Monday.
"Sketch is on a downswing now, but it'll swing back up. And we don't really care either way."
"Yeah," chimes in Adrienne Weiss. "We care about nothing," a statement that elicits cynical, nervous laughter from the other GTOs.
"Seriously, this is what I do for fun," says member Julie Bot. "I have other friends who aren't performers, and I go to their houses, see them and their babies and eat dinner. But when I feel like partying, I'll call Adrienne and Jeanie."
"It's a lifestyle, the GTOs lifestyle," laughs Weiss.
For the upcoming show, called Rock You, Toronto!, the quartet's staring at only a few days of rehearsal. Then they head out to Vancouver's Sketch Fest along with the only other invited local troupe, Glyph, who are also on the Clinton's bill.
"Wars happen in less time than we have to rehearse," laughs Bot.
Still, the GTOs -- the name's an homage to Pamela des Barres's iconoclastic 60s rock band -- don't spend much time worrying about the troupe's future these days.
"You can have a live career, but to make any kind of living off it you have to get on TV," admits Calleja. "We used to wonder whether we should pursue that. We tried for a while, then went on to do other things individually.
"The fact is, though, nothing fulfils me the same way creatively."email@example.com