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Sketch Comedy Smackdown

Toronto tournament selects the best of the best of the city's numerous performing groups.

At Toronto’s Comedy Bar, from June 15-19, a competition known as Sketch-Comageddon held its third annual search for Toronto’s best sketch comedy group. Seeing one of the June 16 sessions, and the very end on June 19 when a winner was crowned, there was a great deal of quality writing and performing on display.

The top prize went to The Raisin Gang, which can’t be vouched for, unfortunately not having caught any of their sets, but certainly a few groups seemed equally worthy – namely, Cheap Smokes, Not on A School Night, PunchDRYSDALE and Approximately Three Peters.

Cheap Smokes, seen on both nights, had a stronger set with more material on June 19 – especially a sketch about failing at karaoke and another featuring the ready made character of a mischievous boy dubbed Paparazzi. But one of the strongest sets came from PunchDRYSDALE, the duo of Norm Sousa and Cole Osborne, who had strong material and were skilled at controlling the rhythm and pauses in the performance.

In a “police” sketch, Sousa plays a grizzled sergeant having homoerotic fantasies about a subordinate. In a “lottery” sketch, Sousa announces a seemingly unending sequences of numbers, leaving Osborne close to winning a jackpot right up until the very end. Another piece found the duo parodying the porn movie cliché of the pizza delivery guy – with a seemingly unending pause before each time the doorbell rang.

The June 16 round of the tournament gave each group just enough time for one sketch each, and Not on A School Night’s piece scored big, winning them the audience choice award that did send them to the next round. That piece featured one roommate narrating all the goings-on between the others in a movie preview announcer voice, and the group members made the sketch about more than just the novel gimmick. Approximately 3 Peters, also seen June 16, had fun with the idea of two blind men swordfighting.

Sketch-Comageddon, along with the Bad Dog Theater’s offerings (see companion review), show there is definitely a deep well of comedy talent happening in Toronto, with venues and organization to match, beyond just Second City.




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