Summer's supposed to be the down time for comedy clubs. Who wants to be in a dark room when you can be outside on a patio? These eight acts should change your attitude.
True, Maggie Cassella's We're Funny That Way queer comedy fest didn't happen this spring. But Cassella and frequent stage pal Lea DeLaria pair up for a night of sapphic song and lesbo laughs in So Over The Rainbow. The two promise to resurrect the variety show with sketch, stand-up, music and guests. Count on Cassella to let loose in a way she can't on her TV show, Because I Said So. And expect DeLaria, fresh from her Broadway run in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to plug some songs from her upcoming album, Double Standards. June 5 to 7 at Buddies in Bad Times (12 Alexander). 416-975-8555.
After last year's amazing festival, Jamboree, a gathering of the top improv artists in North America, returns this summer. The acts haven't been finalized yet, but expect lots of local artists like Slap Happy, Mosshammer and Morency and the Impatients to share the stage with the cleverest comics from Chicago, New York and other funny cities. It's also moved from last year's tough-to-play Tranzac to the more amenable Poor Alex (296 Brunswick). August 12 to 17. 416-923-7464.
Skippy's Rangers, one of the best sketch acts of the 90s, is reuniting this summer. The hilarious quartet of Lisa Lambert, Bob Martin, Paul O'Sullivan and Jonathan Crombie have gone on to other things, notably the Fringe-turned-Mirvish-hit The Drowsy Chaperone. They bring their always theatrical sketch to the Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way) June 5 to 7. 416-343-0011.
Too busy to make that 8 o'clock comedy show? Relax. The Poor Alex is presenting a summer of late-night sketch comedy that begins after prime time ends. Lost Weekend kicks off nightly Thursday to Saturday at 11 pm and features some of the best names in the biz, like Lisa Brooke, Enis Esmer, Jamie Lamb, Craig Lauzon, Mae Martin and Natasha Boomer. Sketch comedy's unsung hero, Matt Watts, directs. Begins June 26. 416-923-7464.
After a series of sold-out gigs at Yuk Yuk's Downtown, Oot & Aboot - the queer trio of Richard Ryder, Ted Morris and Susan Stewart - bring it all home, and homo, in their Pride show. Individually, the stand-ups are a riot. But as an act - let's just say three's definitely company. Mix 99.9's Carla Collins hosts. June 22 at Yuk Yuk's Downtown (224 Richmond West). 416-967-6425.
Anyone with low blood pressure should check out stand-up Ron James's hyperkinetic act. The guy just can't stand still. He's the closest thing this country has to an all-round comedian - someone who can play any town from Whitehorse to St. John's. Let's hope he does his Tim Hortons bit. June 6 to 7 at the Winter Garden (189 Yonge). 416-870-8000.
The new Theatresports space on the Danforth is gonna be one hotbed of activity this summer. Newly named Bad Dog Theatre, the space (138 Danforth) houses Theatresports's regular improv shows on Friday and Saturday nights. They also begin rotating shows every Thursday, including Neil Muscott's Comedy Debate, theatre-related improv called The Verge, the Slap Happy Hour and Tonto's Nephews. 416-863-9630.
The Burnt Marshmallows (Christel Bartelse and Christina Sicoli) are one of the freshest new sketch acts to appear in some time. Drawing on their clown backgrounds, the two have great onstage chemistry - Bartelse small, coy and mischievous, Sicoli taller and seemingly in control. They bring their new show, Stuck, directed by Mump and Smoot's Michael Kennard, to the Toronto Fringe Festival July 3 to 13.