Who says comedy slows down in the summer? A good place to catch some of the best local and international funny folks is the Fringe Fest . You can't go wrong with acts like Chris Gibbs , Bruce Hunter , Evelyn Reese , Renée Percy and Jen Radomsky , those wild and wacky alt comics from The Loner Show ( Brian Barlow , Michael Balazo , Katie Crown , Kathleen Phillips , Chris Locke and Levi MacDougall ) and those zany improvisers at Bad Dog Theatre (see below), who are putting on a week of Fringe funder performances of their all-improvised Show Stopping Number during the fest. There are also spoofs galore, including the Rumoli Brothers ' song-filled enviro satire called An Inconvenient Musical (expect lots of laughter emissions). The fun begins July 4. http://www.fringetoronto.com
Think only massive music acts - and of course sports events - sell out the Air Canada Centre? You obviously don't know comic Russell Peters . Brampton's own stand-up sensation, now based in L.A. and coming soon to a sitcom near you, has made history by completely packing out the stadium. The promoters have since added a second show. And to think we knew him way back when he was playing tiny comedy rooms. With his ethnically diverse crowds - this guy can dissect any racial stereotype you throw at him - Peters is the future of comedy. June 18 and 19 at the ACC. www.russellpeters.com.
The only time Torontonians take that Toronto-Montreal rivalry seriously is for a week in July. That's when our more laid-back Quebec neighbour hosts perhaps the most important comedy festival in the world, Just For Laughs . All the big headliners and industry types appear there, and for up-and-comers, a good-buzz set could translate into a trip to L.A. and a network deal. Now Hogtown's getting its own mini-version of the fest, just after Montreal's. Big names include Howie Mandel , George Lopez , Russell Peters (if you didn't get into his shows above), John Pinette and Richard Lewis , who'll all be doing gala nights at Massey Hall. And expect lots of free events around the Yonge-Dundas Square area. Remains to be seen, however, whether the suits from La-La Land will make the trek after Montreal. July 26 to 28. 416-872-4255, www.hahaha.com.
Who says comics are hard-hearted? Kids in the Hall's Bruce McCulloch hosts a star-studded night of laughs and music to raise funds for actor/playwright/former Kids In The Hall writer Diane Flacks and her partner, Janis Purdy , whose child, Jonathan Purdy-Flacks , was born last November with health complications and requires more surgeries. (Check out www.purdy-flacks.com to learn about the family's journey.) Titled The Jon-a-thon: An Ordinary Miracle , the night should be a special one. Confirmed acts include Women Fully Clothed , Dawn Whitwell , Linda Kash (possibly with hubby Paul O'Sullivan ), Michelle Landsberg , Richard Greenblatt and some surprise musical guests. July 16 at the Tarragon.
Everyone knows about Second City's famous grads, but those from Theatresports are equally impressive, and there's some crossover: Mike Myers, Pat McKenna, Lisa Merchant, Sandra Shamas, Linda Kash. This summer the comedy institution, now known as the Bad Dog Theatre (they changed their name in 2003), celebrates its 25th birthday with months of laughs. Besides Show Stopping Number at the Fringe, don't miss the company's Theatresports All-Star Games , happening every Saturday in July, and Theatresports alum (and cancer survivor) Rob Hawke presenting his solo show - the controversially titled Fuck You, Cancer - at the theatre June 26 to 30. www.baddogtheatre.com.
Get your Pride Week off to a rollicking start by laughing with some of the best queer (and queer-friendly) comics in the city. Dawn Whitwell and Deborah Robinson are hosting a Pride-related Dragons Of Comedy night, with hilarious homos David Tomlinson , Andrew Johnston and (still to be confirmed) Elvira Kurt . Straight acts include Lisa Merchant and Kathleen Phillips . June 18 at Supermarket.
Why isn't comic Tim Steeves better known? His angry stand-up act is like no one else's, and he just keeps getting better. Whenever you bust a nut watching This Hour Has 22 Minutes or The Mercer Report With Rick Mercer, chances are it's because of one of Steeves's zingers. Don't miss his rare headlining weekend at the Laugh Resort June 21 to 23. 416-364-5233, www.laughresort.com.