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The Theatre Centre announces the 2023 Comedy is Art festival.

September 6, 2023
Double Trouble: Solo Shows from Aliya Kanani & Al Val
Music, Then Comedy curated by Kirsten Rasmussen
Ms. Titaverse, a new musical comedy by the Tita Collective, 
The Minority Report Sketch & Stand-Up Comedy: Different POVs From POCs 
& Kaiju Comedy Presents: Intertribal

The Theatre Centre has announced its annual Comedy is Art festival lineup, with five nights of can’t miss comedy and good vibes running from October 24 to 28. Curated by liza paul – comedian, storyteller, and Theatre Centre Associate Artistic Director – the festival features some of the best comedians in the game from across Toronto and beyond. This wildly talented bunch of unique comedic voices will deliver a week of non-stop jokes: there’s stand-up, there’s music, there’s improv, there’s sketch – there’s every flavour imaginable, all on one stage for one week only. Join us as we declare: Comedy is Art! 

Tickets are now on sale with details available at Tickets to the festival’s nightly shows are Pick-Your-Price from $15, $30, $45, $60, and can be purchased online or by calling The Theatre Centre box office at 416-538-0988.

Comedy is art

“I am so excited to welcome these artists (and the audiences who either already love them or are about to) to our stage,” said liza paul. “It remains one of the great privileges of my career to be able to invite such a broad range of talent to perform in this festival and to offer our community a solid week of really smart, unbelievably funny comedy in an accessible space, and at accessible prices. No two nights are the same and the talent must be seen to be believed. Also – just come. Life is tough. Our bar is beautiful and the jokes will make your face hurt from laughing. See you at the theatre!”

The Theatre Centre recognizes comedy as a distinct art form and its annual festival offers artists the space, time, resources, platform and funding that comedy deserves. 

Comedy is Art. Program

Al val and aliya kanani

Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 8 PM


In a Comedy is Art first, the festival’s opening night features back-to-back solo shows by acclaimed artists Aliya Kanani and Al Val. Two totally different styles make for one hilarious night.

With her mischievous personality and playful delivery, Aliya will keep the laughs coming while she takes you on her journey of self-reflection. What could be better than comedy and life hacks all rolled in one? Add a tiny little existential crisis somewhere in the middle and we’ve got ourselves a show!

After selling out her shows at festivals around the world, Aliya has recently completed a cross-Canada tour with her award-winning show “Where You From, From?”, winning Best of Fest at Ottawa Fringe and Patron’s Pick in Toronto Fringe. She has toured the world showcasing at some of the most prestigious comedy festivals, including the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Just for Laughs, NBC Breakout Festival and the renowned Edinburgh Fringe. You may also recognize the Canadian academy award nominated actress from the Best Motion Picture film, Scarborough. Of all her accomplishments, including doing standup in French, Aliya still brags that her greatest achievement was the time she made a man throw up from laughing to hard.

Catch Aliya at the Theatre Centre for a night of laughs, and if that’s not enough  you’ll even leave with a few new tricks up your sleeve. 

Rising Canadian comedy starlet Al Val departs from her usual standard of fast-talking, body-flailing standup comedy to a more intimate and diverse performance. Watch with glee as she intersperses her anecdotal comedy act with high-flying improvised rock guitar jams – Val’s talent for improvisation, both in comedy and music, on full display!

Music then comedy

Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 8 PM


From acclaimed comedian, writer & director Kirsten Rasmussen (The Snoopy Show), Music, Then Comedy is a night of improvised comedy inspired by live music performed by Lane Webber and featuring a stacked lineup of improvisers: Tyra Banda (Second City), Brandon Hackett (CTV’s Shelved), Monica Garrido Huerta (​​Radio Aluna Theatre), Leigh Cameron (My Little Pony), Ben Sosa Wright (Just for Laughs), and Rasmussen herself. 

Tita collective

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 8


The Spice Girls of Comedy, the Tita Collective, are back with a brand new musical comedy! Ms. Titaverse is about a beauty pageant, but funnier, angrier and with much more chicken adobo.

Tita Collective is an all-Filipina collective composed of award-winning playwrights, comedians, musicians, dancers, theatre makers and actors: Ann Paula Bautista (Grow), Belinda Corpuz (Ursa: A Folk Musical), Ellie Posadas (Scarborough), Alia Rasul (Moro Girl), and Maricris Rivera (Short Dances). They explore different mediums to tell the stories about the Filipin* diaspora. Through theatre, comedy, music, and movement, the Titas aspire to tell stories that: thoughtfully honour and celebrate their roots and history, explore their identities as Filipinas, represent the narratives of the Philippine diaspora in an inclusive and respectful way, and nurtures and unites community through joy and laughter. 

minority report

Friday, October 27, 2023, 8 PM


Born of a need for diverse voices and perspectives in the comedy industry, THE MINORITY REPORT began as a virtual quarantine-relief comedy show. When the time came to evolve into live shows, the cast continued to produce inclusive commentary on today’s changing cultural landscape. Catch this one-of-a-kind show LIVE at Comedy is Art featuring Jean Paul, Cedric Newman, Jay Martin, Crystal Ferrier, and Keesha Brownie. This funny, fast-paced, and timely sketch comedy show provides different POVs from different POCs (People of Comedy). 

The MINORITY REPORT is a show that won’t speak for ONE; it’s a show that will speak to ALL.


Saturday, October 28, 2023, 8 PM


Gather for a night of laughs with comics from all walks of life. Taking inspiration from ​Pow Wows -(a celebration deeply ingrained within Indigenous culture) and intertribal dances (where everyone is welcomed to the dance ground), INTERTRIBAL is a celebration of the multicultural country that is Canada. With comics hailing from Russia, India, Guyana, Nova Scotia and Manitoulin Island, the show features Kevin Shawanda, Clif Knight, Rush Kazi, Denise B. McLeod, and Danish Anwar

For Media Requests related to Comedy is Art.: Katie Saunoris, KSPR, [email protected]

Media Gallery – Comedy is Art 2023

Please note: Comedy is Art Festival programs feature mature content and alcohol will be sold (age recommendation 18+)

Our Café/Bar

The Theatre Centre Café/Bar has recently reopened, re-activating the beloved community hub. With the reopening The Theatre Centre also welcomed Baker-in-Residence Akash Swar, who has been designing a delicious rotating menu of scones, treats, and sandwiches.

The Theatre Centre Café/Bar festival hours:

Tuesday – Friday 8:30 a.m. until late

Saturday – 9 a.m. until late

Thank you

Comedy is Art is generously supported by Kingfisher Foundation.

Thank you to the Theatre Centre’s Major Programming Supporters: Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, The Government of Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Toronto Arts Foundation, BMO Financial, Metcalf Foundation, The Slaight Family Foundation, Kingfisher Foundation, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation.

The Theatre Centre

The Theatre Centre is a nationally recognized live-arts incubator and community hub. Our mission is to offer a home for creative, cultural and social interactions to invent the future.

We make work that spans disciplines and genres; work that pushes the boundaries of what is considered “art”. Our programming and our role as a community space are inextricably linked. Art is not made in a silo: it is connected to the world around it.