Mark Breslin’s guide to Toronto’s six best comedy shows this season


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T. J. Miller’s HBO comedy special was a hit; catch him live at the Sony Centre

Looking for some big chuckles this fall? — check out these shows.

Chris Rock, Air Canada Centre, Nov. 11 
Granted, the venue is cavernous and not the best place to see a comic, but there will be big screens and Rock’s even bigger personality to fill the room. Since touring here last, Rock’s gone through a bitter divorce, and his home country has been racked with racial incidents. Can’t wait to hear what he’ll say on both personal and political issues.

Carol Burnett, Sony Centre, Oct. 30
If you’re a fan, you’re going to love this show, which isn’t a performance as much as a career retrospective. The audience is promised lots of opportunities to pose questions to the comedy diva, as she reminiscences and shows clips from her brilliant sketch show. 

Sugar Sammy, Massey Hall, Oct. 26
JFL 42 may be over, but Just For Laughs brings two notable shows to the city this autumn. The JFL comedy tour stars Sugar Sammy and is at Massey Hall on Oct. 26. Sammy (or do I call him Sugar?), is a huge star in his native Quebec who aggravated the language police last year by running ads satirizing Quebec’s French language policies. He’s a also a worthy entry in the South Asian comedy clique that includes Russell Peters, Shawn Majumder, Aziz Ansari and Mindy Kaling. 

JFL Alternative Comedy Tour, Sony Centre, Nov 4. 
This night of standup features one of Hollywood’s hottest funny guys T. J. Miller, one of the stars of Silicon Valley and the voice of “Meh” in The Emoji Movie. His one-man concert on HBO is a big hit. I thought he was great on the Pete Holmes series Crashing.

Joe White, Comedy Bar, Oct. 22
This show, billed as Ethiopian & Still Not Hungry at the Comedy Bar intrigues me. Dubbed Australia’s answer to Trevor Noah, White has won a passel of awards all over the world and is described as being “on the tamer side of edgy.”

Jason Rouse and Terry Clement, Yuk Yuks
Rouse (Oct. 4–8) has been shocking audiences from Hollywood to Estonia with his skate punk esthetic. Pierced, tattooed, filthy, yet strangely lovable, Rouse pushes the crowd to its limits and beyond, but nobody walks out. Clement is quieter, an unearthly blend of Burroughs and Poe, but his twisted songs may remind you more of an early Jonathan Richman. Clement is calling this his Halloween show, so expect something spooky (Oct. 25-28).

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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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