Catch Toronto SketchFest On Ossington This March

to sketch festThe Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is back this March and major events are happening on Ossington. The festival runs March 6th-16th, and one of the main venues is the Lower Ossington Theatre.

This year’s festival will get a lot of attention for The Kids in The Hall reunion at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, but the bulk of the festival is local up-and-coming talented sketch troupes. And that is what you will see on Ossington.

Lower Ossington Theatre hosts two shows nightly, at 8P and 10P, and most shows feature at least two comedy troupes. With award-winning, local comedy acts like National Theatre of the World and She Said What, and ticket prices at $15 per show or 4 shows for $50, you are guaranteed some good laughs for the money. Other Sketchfest venues include Comedy Bar, the Randolph Theatre and Queen Elizabeth Theare

Toronto Sketch Fest is back this March

The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is back March 7th, and one of the three venues hosting comedy is the Lower Ossington Theatre.

The Sketchfest promotes live, scripted comedy in Toronto, and includes performers from Toronto and beyond.

This year’s festival includes headliners Eugene Mirman and Michael Ian Black, from Brooklyn and Chicago, respectively, both with a lot of TV exposure (Bob’s Burgers, The State…). Bruce McCulloch of Kids in the Hall represents Canadian comedy as a headliner as well.

Also included are many many young and less well known Toronto comedians who you should check out this March.

For the last sketchfest, November 2011, we profiled a lot of the sketch troupes performing, and some of them are back. Some of the shows at LOT offer audiences the opportunity to see three different comedy troupes, and others are showcases by just one. Of note is the premiere of Uncalled For’s new show on March 9th, “Ready, Set, Götterdämmerung!”

Tickets are available for individual shows or a festival pass online here.




Toronto Sketchfest Encore Show this Weekend

Have a laugh this weekend as The Lower Ossington Theatre offers “Toronto Sketch Fest: The Best of the Fest Encore Show.” Chosen as the highlights from last fall’s Sketchfest, Falcon Powder and Peter ‘n Chris will put on full-length shows on Ossington. 

You can see Now Magazine‘s Audience Choice Winners Peter ‘n Chris at LOT on Friday at 8PM. Their show, Peter ‘n Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Hotel is a “ridiculous mash-up of genres including horror, adventure and mystery”

At 9:30 on Friday, Falcon Powder presents a full-length version of “Cowboys,” featuring some of the sketches that made them the Second City Best of The Fest winners in 2011, and some new material.

2011 Look Back: Festivals

Ossington is a destination for people from across Toronto and beyond, partly for the mix of eclectic festivals that draws us and others to the strip. 2011 was no exception, so we’re looking back at the festivals this year on Ossington.

The year in festivals kicked off in January with a dance festival called Connect TO at Lower Ossington Theatre, which is a prime festival location.

The music festival season began with the Canadian Music Festival in March. Musicians and bands performed at local venues including The Painted Lady, The Garrison and The Dakota Tavern.  Juno Fest also hit Toronto, and Ossington, in March, with Canadian musicians featured at The Garrison and The Dakota Tavern.

The music came back with the return of NXNE in June, and we saw some amazing shows right here in Ossington Village. This July, the Painted Lady created a new festival to coincide with the Toronto Jazz and Fringe Festivals. Maybe next year, we’ll see more venues join the fun.

The Contact Photography Festival covered art galleries for the entire month of May, and didn’t miss Ossington, with exhibits at The Painted Lady, Angell Gallery, Brockton General and Levack Block.

Jane’s Walks, which take place all over the globe on a May weekend, were also led in our neighborhood. Maybe next year you’ll see an Ossington Village Jane’s Walk instead of “the Hipster’s Guide to Ossington!”

Summerworks returned in August, bringing music and theatre to Lower Ossington Theatre and other local venues. The hugely popular Havana Cultura returned for it’s second year in August, with Cuban music, art and food on offer at almost every spot on the street. Who can forget the cigar roller surrounded by scantily clad women? Another returning event was Queen West Music Fest, which celebrated it’s third year this summer in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Some was sipped, and some was likely chugged, but either way, Toronto Beer Week also returned to Ossington in 2011, with tastings and pairings at local restaurants and bars. Ossington also saw the return of TO Sketch Fest, with lots of comedic troupes taking to the stage at LOT this past November.

Toronto Sketchfest Troupe Profile: Carl’s Backyard

The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival starts today and we have one more troupe profile in our series, for Carl’s Backyard. You have two chances to see these Chicagoans while they are here, on Nov. 11 at 9PM, and Nov. 12 at 7PM, both at Comedy Bar.

 How did you get involved with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival?

We’ve been performing in various venues around Chicago for the past year, and really wanted to get some experience on the road – we did some research and the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival seemed like a great place to start. Everyone we know that’s been to Toronto describes it as a nicer, cleaner Chicago, so we’ll probably just end up leasing an apartment when the trip is over.

 What other troupe’s show at this year’s Festival do you most want to see?

Obviously we are extremely excited for ‘Two Kids, One Hall’, but we’re also looking forward to seeing fellow Chicago sketch-guys “Kerpatty“!

Why should we come to see your show?

It’s pure sketch, straight-up, no gimmicks. Does that sound arrogant? Oh, I forgot to mention, we’re also arrogant. (Only joking – my actual answer would be: “Come see our show because we are EXTREMELY not-arrogant!”)

What is your favourite place on Ossington? If you haven’t been to Ossington, where do you most want to go?

We’ve never been there and literally know nothing about it, but to avoid being rude we did a Google Maps (TM) search for “Ossington Street, Toronto”. Then Google corrected it to “Ossington Avenue, Toronto”, and we street-viewed the randomly-generated “A” location to get an idea of that classic “Ossington Flavor” (TM). It seemed to be a residential area, but I have to say we are now very excited about visiting the boarded-up and possibly condemned storefront at 648 Ossington Avenue.

 Before you see their show, here’s a sneak peek:



Toronto Sketchfest Troupe Profile: Charles

Toronto Sketchfest starts tomorrow, November 8 and if you are still deciding which shows to see, check out our troupe profiles to learn more about some of the performers. Another troupe you may want to check out hails from Seattle: Charles consists of two members, both aptly named Charles. You can catch them on November 11 at 10PM at Lower Ossington Theatre or the following night at 9PM at Comedy Bar. Chuck and Charlie answered our questions here:

How did you get involved with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival?

Although this is our first year performing in the Toronto Sketch Festival, we have previously performed in Toronto as part of the 2010 Fringe Festival. That was a qualified success, but an unqualified great experience. When it was over, we knew that we wanted to make some major improvements to our show, and we also knew that we wanted to return. Toronto is a great comedy town, and we’re excited to see old friends and show off new material. We also just really enjoy the hassle of bringing six foot rubber snakes through customs.

What other troupe’s show at this year’s Festival do you most want to see?

Seeing Uncalled For‘s Hypnogogic Logic the last time we were in Toronto was a major inspiration for where we wanted our comedy to go. We had a similarly enlightening experience when we saw Peter N’ Chris at Seattle SketchFest this year. We’re obviously pumped to see those groups again, but we’re also hoping that a new Canadian sketch group will expand our ideas of what can be done on stage. The Really Good Show sounds promising.

Why should we come to see your show?

We were called “fresh-faced” by NOW Magazine. Of course that was more than a year ago, so we might be “old hat” at this point. Assuming you are the writer from NOW Magazine who wrote that, you should probably come see for yourself if it needs to be updated. In the unlikely event that you are not that writer, perhaps a description of our comedy as “hyperliterate, design-savvy…hip and dilettante in the best possible way” by will persuade you to come out. And just in case you’re wary of the dots in that quote or the dot com in its source, the last thing we will say is that we are performing with Uncalled For, so you should probably buy your tickets in advance.

What is your favourite place on Ossington? If you haven’t been to Ossington, where do you most want to go?

It’s hard to say. From looking at Google Maps, there are a number of martini glass icons that look like they represent swanky lounges. We’ve always wanted to be permitted into one of those.


Toronto Sketchfest Troupe Profile: British Teeth

When you hear the phrase “British Teeth,” you probably don’t picture what you’re going to get at this year’s Toronto Sketch Fest! Filip Jeremic and Allana Reoch are the duo behind Toronto’s British Teeth, and they kindly answered our questions for this profile. You can see them perform this week at The Comedy Bar, November 9 at 7PM.


How did you get involved with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival?

We’ve been hustlin’ our sketches around Toronto for about a year, and we decided it was time to get festive wit’ y’all.
What other troupes’ show at this year’s Festival do you most want to see?
Picnicface. Haircut, because we both think Pat is hot, and Allie is our homegurl. The Imponderables. Vest of Friends – we love their veeeeeeeests! Fratwurst. Jape.
Why should we come to see your show?
Because WE’LL be there! And so will our friends – they’re hot and SINGLE. (We do comedy for the sex)
What is your favourite place on Ossington? If you haven’t been to Ossington, where do you most want to go?
That Portuguese bakery across from the furniture store and beside the Lower Ossington Theatre. You know the one. Prosciutto sandwiches for 3 dollars, yo!

Toronto Sketchfest Troupe Profile: Good Game

If you have not yet seen Good Game perform around the city, you have a chance at the Toronto Sketch Festival. You can catch them on November 8th at 8PM at Lower Ossington Theatre. These guys are Sketchfest veterans, and you can expect them to inject a little music into their comedy stylings. They kindly answered our questions and they definitely like hanging out in our neighborhood.

How did you get involved with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival?

Toronto Sketch Fest is the one place where we can expose our material to a new audience, and bring people out to our shows that go on the rest of the year. It’s always a great opportunity for us to meet other comedians, and expand our audience. This is our second year being featured in the festival, and we couldn’t be any more excited! We all got haircuts!
What other troupe’s show at this year’s Festival do you most want to see?
We would love to get the chance to see Two Kids One Hall. We are all huge fans of Kids in the Hall, but then again, it’s hard to find a sketch comedy troupe that isn’t. We’re also hoping on seeing some of the new and upcoming troupes that are featured on the roster this year.
Why should we come to see your show?
We’re all really excited for the material we put together for this year’s sketch fest revue. We always aim to mix as many different types of humour into our shows as we can, and this set has a good mix of physical comedy, musical comedy, straight-dialogue humour, and theatrical sketch. As always, it wouldn’t be a Good Game show without a little touch of absurdity, but there’s really something for everyone in this show. This year we’re putting an emphasis on variety, and feel like this might be our best sketch fest set yet (that kinda rhymes).
What is your favourite place on Ossington? If you haven’t been to Ossington, where do you most want to go?
Too many to choose just one… Pizzeria Libretto and Dakota Tavern are some favourites… you can often see us at The Lakeview having a few drinks or some coffee before checking out a show or event at Sketch Fest. Ossington Village is one of our favourite places to hang out during Sketch Fest events, since it’s walking distance from both the Lower Ossington Theatre and Comedy Bar.

Toronto Sketchfest Troupe Profile: The Queer Comedy Collective

The Queer Comedy Collective is performing at this year’s Sketch Comedy Festival at the Lower Ossington Theatre on November 9 at 10PM. They are the next troupe we profile in our series.

How did you get involved with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival? 

Andrya, a member of our troupe, was out somewhere doing something entertaining in front of an audience or some such thing, and someone from the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival gave her his card. “It’s hard to find Queer sketch comedy troupes,” he wept. So we invited Sketch Fest to our pre-Pride show at Bread ‘n Circus in June, after which, we filled out all necessary paperwork.

What other troupe’s show at this year’s Festival do you most want to see?

Cory, Punch in the Box and Picnicface

Why should we come to see your show?

Scott from Xtra called it ‘cheerfully deranged.’ It’s bratty but good-natured. Sarcastic and stinging but you’d still want to be its friend. It’s not the bully of sketch troupes. Oh yah, and we’re the only Queer sketch troupe in Canada.

What is your favourite place on Ossington? If you haven’t been to Ossington, where do you most want to go?

Want to eat at Pizza Libretto and Campagnolo. Or, just want to walk up and down Ossington and be mistaken for cool people.

Susan from the Queer Comedy Collective sent me over lots of videos, so check one out here:

Toronto Sketchfest Troupe Profile: The Really Good Show

Not all of the performers at this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival are in groups. Our latest profile is of Kevin Matviw, a one-man act who goes by the name The Really Good Show. You can catch his performance at Comedy Bar on November 8 at 7PM.

Kevin’s responses to our questions follow:

How did you get involved with the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival?

I’m currently working on a full hour solo sketch comedy show and I wanted to raise awareness for this project by performing with the festival. I’ve been in the festival in previous years writing and performing with The Sketchersons and as one half of the now non-existent sketch duo Death Ray Cabaret.

What other troupe’s show at this year’s Festival do you most want to see?

I’d like to see A Classy Affair, The Templeton Philharmonic and British Teeth. Conveniently enough, British Teeth and The Really Good Show are performing on the same bill!

Why should we come to see your show?

You should come and see my show because I will be performing sketch alone, which is a feat in itself. I will be doing songs, playing multiple characters and it is all material I have been honing in front of audiences for the past year so it’s gonna be funny. If you don’t come, I don’t know what I’ll do to myself and you’ll have to live with that.

What is your favourite place on Ossington? If you haven’t been to Ossington, where do you most want to go?

My favorite place is the Lower Ossington Theatre, which is a venue for the festival. It’s huge! I’ve always wanted to perform there. The bigger your troupe/act, the better chances you will be booked there when they create the sketch fest lineup. This year, I’m performing at Comedy Bar in the broom closet behind the water heater.