2023 Comedy is Art. Festival
Presented by The Theatre Centre
five nights of excellent comedy and good vibes curated by comedian and storyteller liza paul
Featuring some of the best comedians in the game, 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 – every flavour imaginable.
Join us as we declare: Comedy is Art!
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.
Work in Progress with Aliya Kanani: A night of comedy paired with some juicy life hacks!
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!
Riffs On Riffs with Al Val: An Evening of Comedy and Music
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
From acclaimed comedian, writer & director Kirsten Rasmussen, Music, Then Comedy is a night of improvised comedy inspired by the live music sing/songwriter Lane Webber and featuring a stacked lineup of improvisers: Tyra Banda, Brandon Hackett, Monica Garrido Huerta, Leigh Cameron, Ben Sosa Wright, and Rasmussen herself.
MS. TITAVERSE: A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY BY the TITA COLLECTIVE
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.
THE MINORITY REPORT SKETCH & STAND-UP COMEDY: DIFFERENT POVs FROM POCs
Born out 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.
KAIJU COMEDY PRESENTS: INTERTRIBAL
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 across the world, this show features Kevin Shawanda, Clif Knight, Rush Kazi, Denise B. McLeod, Danish Anwar, Evangelia Alexopoulos and Kenny Robinson.
The Theatre Centre recognizes comedy as a distinct artform and its annual festival offers artists the space, time, resources, and platform that comedy deserves.
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.
Not only do we open this conversation annually through the Comedy is Art festival, we also dedicate at least one Residency spot to a comedian and support local comedians as much as we can. You can further support Comedy is Art by making a donation. Any amount, small or large, goes a long way in allowing us to continue our work!
About Comedy is Art Curator liza paul
liza paul is a writer, curator, artistic leader, director and producer who loves laughter, life, music, family, stories, all things bashment, impromptu dancehall-flavoured a cappella street jams, and pum-related non sequiturs. she has trained at the second city’s improv conservatory and was selected to join their 2017 bob curry fellowship program. she has worked extensively in theatre and radio with ciut 89.5 fm, soulpepper theatre company, anitafrika! dub theatre, bcurrent, and the watah theatre. liza writes for television (from ontario, with love (tvo); big brother canada (global)); directed sketch comedy show don valley girls for the 2022 riser festival. she is currently the associate artistic director at the theatre centre where she curates the comedy is art festival and is working to continue programming as many comedy shows by women of colour as possible.
Photos from past festivals:
Photo credit: liza paul (Aria Etienne), Tita Collective (by Roya Del Sol), Past Event photos by Kaytee Dalton
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.
Franco Boni Theatre
Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 8 PM — DOUBLE TROUBLE
Aliya Kanani and Al Val
Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 8 PM — MUSIC, THEN COMEDY
Kirsten Rasmussen, Lane Webber, Tyra Banda, Brandon Hackett, Monica Garrido Huerta, Leigh Cameron, Ben Sosa Wright
Thursday, October 26, 2023, 8 PM — TITAVERSE: A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY BY the TITA COLLECTIVE
Ann Paula Bautista, Belinda Corpuz, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul, and Maricris Rivera
Friday, October 27, 2023, 8 PM — THE MINORITY REPORT SKETCH & STAND-UP COMEDY: DIFFERENT POVs FROM POCs
Jean Paul, Cedric Newman, Jay Martin, Crystal Ferrier, and Keesha Brownie
Saturday, October 28, 2023, 8 PM— KAIJU COMEDY PRESENTS: INTERTRIBAL
Kevin Shawanda, Clif Knight, Rush Kazi, Denise B. McLeod, and Danish Anwar.
Please note: Comedy is Art Festival programs feature mature content and alcohol will be sold ( age recommendation 18+)