Comic Stripped: If you like to laugh, you can’t beat Toronto in 2015

Top comedic highlights of the year from the return of the Pajama Men to the standup of Jerry Seinfeld


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Amy Schumer was the most important comic of 2015.

As the year draws to a close, I’m tempted to think back to the moments that made me laugh the most. Most of them were onstage, and many of them were local, but all of them would have made you smile. So let me share them with you: my fave moments of 2015. 

Sean Emeny wins JFL Homegrown contest: Toronto by way of Vancouver transplant Sean Emeny took home the prize this year. Emeny’s zonked out one-liners and strange, uneasy delivery were a majestic example of the craft.

Jon Dore hosts the Humber School of Comedy Grad show: At Second City, Dore took the helm of the college’s Best Of show. Everyone knows his standup is without peer, but that night he acted in a series of sketches that proved he could headline a sitcom, a movie or anything else.

Schumermania: Amy Schumer’s ascent to most important comic of the year peaked with the release of her film Trainwreck, a collaboration with master director Judd Apatow.

Eli and Jamie at Toronto Buddhist Temple: If there was ever a doubt about the multiculturalism of this city, consider this: Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman presented their evening of YouTube sketches in Yiddish(!) with interstitial shtick at a Buddhist Temple on Bathurst Street. Luckily the sketches had subtitles, so the packed house could roar their approval.

Jerry Seinfeld at Elgin Theatre: It was a closed charity event, $1,000 a ticket, and Seinfeld pulled off a brilliant set that showed why he is the premier comedy craftsman in the world. 

Wyatt Senac at Comedy Bar:  Wyatt, from The Daily Show crew, is a performer with well-crafted jokes and an interesting view on society that he delivers in an eloquent, intelligent manner. 

The Pajama Men at Sketch fest: For the first time in almost 10 years, the hilarious duo Pajama Men were back in Toronto as part of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Within the hour, the men seamlessly blended sketch and improv into their world of surreal, smart storytelling and spot-on physical comedy.   

The torch is passed to Trevor Noah: And it’s clear that, although he’s no Jon Stewart, he IS Trevor Noah, and that The Daily Show is still in good hands. His set at JFL 42 was pretty strong, too.

Toronto comic Aaron Berg makes the Guinness Book of World Records: Berg, currently living in N.Y.C., pulled off a blistering 26 sets in one night, hitting comedy clubs all over Manhattan by cab, car, bus, subway, limo and skateboard! As you’d guess, there’s a documentary on its way.

Matt O’Brien turns the subway into a comedy club: Rising Toronto comic Matt O’Brien took to the subway with a camera and microphone and, to the bemusement of commuters, created a talk show right in front of them. It proved so popular he’s kept creating them, and you can see the series posted on the web.

And that’s it! There was so much more, but those were my highlights. What would be on your list?

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Post City Magazines’ humour columnist, Mark Breslin, is the founder of Yuk Yuk’s comedy clubs and the author of several books, including Control Freaked.

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