Laugh your ass off during the hot months at these awesome mainstream and alternative acts
By George, Jason Alexander’s in it Just For Laughs July 25.
After last year’s inaugural Toronto edition, Just For Laughs returns to pack out Yonge-Dundas Square and its surrounding streets with comedy acts of all kinds. Hosting the galas this year is a terrific lineup of talent, including SCTV alum Martin Short (July 24), Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander (July 25) and the replacement for Conan O’Brien’s Late Night host spot, SNL’s Jimmy Fallon (July 26). 416-979-3824, www.hahaha.com.
Craig Ferguson hits prime time, June 14.
Speaking of late-night talk show hosts, The Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson returns to town after demolishing the crowds at last year’s JFL. The former Drew Carey Show star and Scottish expat gets to prove that he’s hands down one of the best stand-ups working today. He made headlines recently after winning over the toughest crowd around: the White House Correspondents’ Association, with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sitting a few feet away. June 14 at Massey Hall. 416-872-4255, www.masseyhall.com.
The Rumoli Bros. (Brandon and Kurt Firla), along with composer Waylen Miki, are quietly building an impressive list of issue-based satiric musicals. A couple of years ago they made us choke with laughter over SARSical, and last Fringe they got huge laughs spoofing Al Gore’s enviro-themed documentary with An Inconvenient Musical. The songs are fun and the performances – especially Doug Morency as Gore – will produce lots of laughter emissions. The best thing? $1 from every ticket gets donated to the David Suzuki Foundation. June 17 to 29 at the Factory Studio. 416-504-4473.
Maybe it’s because of the Summer Olympics, but a lot of comics are fighting for laugh supremacy this summer. Sketch comedy tourney Sketch Com-Ageddon (June 19 to 21) pits 20 troupes against each other (Comedy Bar, www.torontosketchfest.com), while The Bad Dog Improv Summit (June 25 to 28) sees teams from Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto face off to see who’s the funniest on-the-spot team (Bad Dog Theatre, 416-491-3115).
David Shore’s Monkey Toast concept is one of the most consistently smart and funny shows in town. After many incarnations – and a couple of venues – it celebrates its fifth year with a big show June 29 at the Gladstone Hotel, with guest interviews and players tba. www.monkeytoast.com.
Sandra Bernhard mouths off June 22.
Is Sandra Bernhard a comic? Musician? Actor? Or just a really good talk show guest? Whatever, the indefinable woman with the big mouth and huge gay following returns to T.O. after a long absence. The tireless Maggie Cassella hosts. June 22 at Massey Hall. 416-870-8000.
Kathy Griffin gets A-list laughs Aug 8.
Kathy Griffin, the brash, gossipy star of My Life On The D-List, is on every comedy lover’s A-List. She makes a rare local appearance August 8 at Massey Hall. 416-872-4255.
Lots of character
One of the funniest performers in the so-called alternative comedy scene, Kathleen Phillips finally mounts a one-person show full of her off-kilter characters. Give her a moustache, a prop or two and a situation and she can turn it into comedy that’ll have you doubled over. She’s co-starring in the Comedy Network’s new sitcom called House Party; catch her in this one-off show so you can say you knew her when. June 19 at the Diesel Playhouse. 416-971-5656.