SUNDAY NIGHT LIVE written and performed by Shannon Beckner, Rachel Cantelon, Dan Galea, Craig Brown, Grant Cumming, Bob Kerr, Inessa Frantowski, Gary Rideout, Tal Zimerman and Pat Thornton. Sundays at the Poor Alex Cabaret (296 Brunswick). $5. 416-923-1644. Rating: NNN
Look out, Lorne Michaels. A bunch of young, hungry and talented comedy artists are putting on a weekly sketch night modelled after your own show. Sunday Night Live runs about 90 minutes and features a house band and a celebrity guest host. OK, there's no musical guest - yet - but that only means the comics have to cough up even more original material each week. And, hey, no cue cards!
That's amazing, especially when you consider their tiny budget. Or that Second City takes months to put together a full show.
Highlights of last week's show included a talk show parody about baked pies, a silly but fun sketch about a woman with a samurai vagina and a surreal and surprising bit about a man married to a bear. Inessa Frantowski added a poignant note as a woman living out her grade eight fantasy (meeting Tom Cruise in Risky Business air guitar attire).
The all-white ensemble, dubbed the Sketchersons , is consistently tight, but Craig Brown , Pat Thornton , Shannon Beckner , Gary Rideout and Dan Galea stand out.
Judging from the eager audience, SNL North's a hit. Admission gets you into the post-show party as well.
Not everything works, but $5 to see even a few solid sketches sounds like a good deal to me.