Comedy is Art

A declaration and a festival.

Artist applications for the 2024 festival are open until Sunday, June 2, 2024 at 11:59pm
*The 2023 Comedy is Art festival tickets are on sale now! 

Comedy is Art features some of the best comedians in Toronto and sends a clear message: comedy should be taken seriously!

Launched at The Theatre Centre in 2019, the inaugural festival responded to barriers within the comedy community, including the overall desire to professionalise the sector. While Canada is responsible for exporting some of the world’s greatest comedic talents, comedy isn’t recognized as an art form by public arts funders. Though comedians are invited to apply as theatre artists, they’re immediately at a disadvantage, shoe-horning themselves into definitions and structures that don’t fit.

Excited by the advocacy work being done by our friend Sandra Battaligni, and the Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians, The Theatre Centre wants to help change that. 

Comedy is one of the most undervalued art forms there is. Musicians get to rehearse in private to perfect their craft; the same is true for dancers, actors, acrobats – all these performing artists have the luxury of getting things just right in the rehearsal hall.

For comedians, the only way to know if a joke is working is to put it out in front of people and see if it makes them laugh. That degree of vulnerability, that lack of anything else to hide behind – that’s what makes comedy one of the bravest things out there.

Returning to the stage (and coming to your screens for the first time) in 2021, the revamped festival combines live comedy with the digital realm, offering a week-long program of hilarious comedians you can catch in person or streamed to your home.

We programmed artists who will make you laugh, make you think, make you laugh, make you feel, make you laugh some more – and that’s exactly what you can expect.

Comedy is Art is generously supported by:

Kingfisher Foundation

Photos by Kaytee Dalton, Krissia Valiente & Anonymous

2023 line-up

Aliya Kanani, Al Val, Kirsten Rasmussen, Lane Webber,  Tyra Banda, Brandon Hackett, Monica Garrido Huerta, Leigh Cameron, Ben Sosa Wright, Ann Paula Bautista, Belinda Corpuz, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul, Maricris Rivera, Jean Paul, Cedric Newman, Jay Martin, Crystal Ferrier, Keesha Brownie, Kevin Shawanda, Clif Knight, Rush Kazi, Denise B. McLeod, Danish Anwar. All on one stage for one week only! Read More

2022 line-up

TallBoyz; Brandon Ash-Mohammed; Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll; Tracy Hamilton; Danny Martinello; Allie Pearse; Ahjanis Charley; Coko Galore; Brandon Hackett; Hisham Kelati; Sashka DC; Nkasi Ogbonnah; Paloma Nuñez; Kirsten Rasmussen; Sharjil Rasool; Guled Abdi; Giovanni Spina; Maricris Rivera; Jenny Raven; Chelsea Russell; Kathryn Kohut; Araya Mengesha; Samantha Mandaamin; Lena Recollet; Krysta Williams; Ozhawa Anung Kwe; Kevin Shawanda. Read More

2021 line-up

Brandon Ash-Mohammed; Joey Harlem; Anasimone George; Ben Sosa Wright; Ajahnis Charley; Martha Chaves; Harpreet Sehmbi; Jean Paul; Marie Sotto; Ryan Maglunob; Isabel Zaw-Tun; Zabrina Douglas; Nour Hadidi; Natalie Norman; Tamara Shevon; Keesha Brownie; Al Douglas; Kenny Robinson; Coko & Daphney Jo; liza paul; Monty Scott; Dena Jackson; Todd Graham; Adrienne Fish; Nick Reynoldson; Arthur Simeon. Read More

2019 line-up

TallBoyz; Congratulations! (Courtney Gilmour); Drop the Mic: Joke or Choke (Crystal Ferrier); Amigas Cheetahs (Ben Sosa Wright + Brandon Ash Mohammed); Yas Kween (Nelu Handa); Good Morning, Tonight (Aidan O’Loughlin + Karis Anderson); Deez Laughs (Derryck Birch); SHADE (Anasimone George).