THE FRINGE: TORONTO?S THEATRE FESTIVAL featuring local, national and international companies at 30 venues. Runs to July 15. $10 or less, $2 surcharge on advance tickets, discount passes. Advance tickets sold up to three hours prior to showtime online, by phone or at the Fringe Club (292 Brunswick). At least half of all tickets go on sale at the venue one hour before showtime. No latecomers. See Fringe listings, this page. 416-966-1062, www.fringetoronto.com. Check out NOW?s fringe reviews at www.nowtoronto.com/fringe.
What's the Fringe without funny people? A stinking hot, depressing place full of lineups, stale beer and broken dreams, that's what. Besides the Rumoli Bros., Paul Bates and the Mardi Bra women, here are 10 shows guaranteed to leave you howling.
1 LATE NIGHT AT THE FRINGE WITH MONKEY TOAST David Shore interviews some Fringe guests, and then he and his team of first-rate comics improvise scenes based on those interviews. Tickets are free, so get there fast.
2 SHOW STOPPING NUMBER! The folks at Bad Dog Theatre take the Bloor-Danforth train to create an on-the-spot musical based on one audience suggestion. Terrific if you hate musicals, and even funnier if you love them.
3 HEART JOB Rebecca Addelman , Inessa Frantowski and Holly Prazoff are the Charlie's Angels of the city's alt comedy scene. They're joined by indie rockers Laura Barrett , Maylee Todd and Dana Snell for a one-of-a-kind show of music and mirth.
4 DAD WHO? EVELYN REESE'S FOCUS ON THE FAMILY Susan Fischer 's obnoxious but oddly lovable alter ego Evelyn Reese returns to the Fringe to embarrass us a bit more with intimate details about her politically incorrect life.
5 MISS APRIL DAY'S SCHOOL FOR BURGEONING YOUNG STRIPPERS Stand-up comic and sometime NOW stage writer June Morrow reveals another side to her personality in this semi-autobiographical look at taking it all off - with style.
6 THE LONER SHOW Not content with their monthly forum of monologue comedy at the Rivoli, Brian Barlow , Michael Balazo , Chris Locke , Kathleen Phillips and a half-dozen other too-cool-for-school comics deliver laughs that you won't find at stand-up clubs.
7 PHONEY A NOW Magazine "best new discovery" a few years ago, Shelley Marshall has honed her unique style at the city's open mics and is ready to unleash her strong personality upon the Fringe. Hold on tight.
8 SOMETHING UNEXPECTED Paul Constable left a big gap in the Second City mainstage cast when he left a few shows ago, so it's good to see him back in the writer/director chair helming Jude Coffey and SC alum Sandy Jobin-Bevans in this romance set in rural Ontario.
9 THIS IS CANCER Not the funniest title, naturally, but Rebecca Northan and Bruce Horak 's clown-influenced show about surviving the Big C has scored in previous versions with its wickedly dark laughs. Worth another look, especially after it was retooled at Albert Theatre Project's playRites fest.
10 SCRATCH Edmonton's Rapid Fire Theatre company is supposedly one of the country's best improvisers, but when I caught them last Fringe they had an off day (they even blogged about my unlucky appearance). Here's to another chance, guys.