Thursday night, something very special happened for Canadian comedians as a community. K Trevor Wilson, the self-proclaimed ‘Man-Mountain of Comedy’, delivered a pitch-perfect set on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The Letterkenny star has been hammering away in the entertainment business for a long time and has not only become a masterful storyteller but an undeniable force. It’s no secret: good things are in store for K Trevor Wilson. It’s something we’re proud of. It’s something we rally around to support.
The Canadian comedy community as a whole is faced with obstacles when it comes to furthering their career. The ceiling of opportunity is significantly lower than entertainment meccas like New York City or Los Angeles while travel and living costs are significantly higher. But there’s a positive flipside to these potential drawbacks.
Canada produces amazing stand-up comedians.
The talent in this country is undeniable and many comedians continue to fight for recognition of stand-up comedy as an art form on a national level. Most notably, Sandra Battaglini. With televised productions such as Letterkenny and The Beaverton, the CBC Comedy movement, and the impending return of Corner Gas as an animated series―the future’s looking bright for stand-up comedians looking to make their mark in Canada and beyond.
Thanks to immense talents like K Trevor Wilson, the will and desire to work hard and hone the craft of comedy has become infectious for Canadian comedians everywhere.
HERE ARE 9 CANADIAN COMEDIANS TO LOOK FOR IN 2017:
You couldn’t turn around in 2016 without seeing Sophie’s name somewhere. She was a serious contender for the title of SiriusXM Top Comic, she shined at the Just for Laughs Homegrown competition, and was featured on reputable L.A. stand-up shows such as The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail and Hot Tub with Kurt & Kristen. You don’t see Canadian comedians featured on American live-productions too often so it’s great to see Sophie blazing the way. Most comedians would sell their soul to be as talented as Sophie at the tender age of 22. Well, let’s be real, most comedians would sell their soul for less. I’m pretty sure I sold my soul for a fish taco in 2009.
Tweet Sophie HERE
The winner of SiriusXM’s Top Comic 2016 and deservedly so. It’s always been a personal opinion that the best winners have the toughest competition. Heavy hitters like Che Durena, Sophie Buddle and Mayce Galoni (to name a few) gave Chris a solid run for his money―but Chris is a master of keeping his cool when bringing the fire. Watching Chris is like witnessing a seasoned hitman sneak in and take out everyone at the party without blinking an eye. To top his greatest hits list of last year, Chris and his girlfriend welcome beautiful baby Carter into the world. My wife and I had Henry around the same time and I couldn’t help but think fondly, “I can’t wait for the day when Chris’s kid beats my kid in a competition.”
Tweet Chris HERE
Another big competition winner but this time I was there to witness it all go down. At the 6th annual Brantford Comedy Festival we did something a little different this year. The gala event was the Rising Stars finale, but this time, the winner got to walk away with $10,000. It’s very rare to watch a comedian win a competition after performing first but Mike Rita proved that if you’re going to “take the bullet”, you need to BE the bullet. His dynamic performance earned him a big win but it’s the same dynamic performance he puts into every opportunity he has to grace the stage.
Tweet Mike HERE
Since we’re on the subject of The Brantford Comedy Festival it would be a damned shame to look over relatively new comedian Nick Nemeroff. He’s the greenest comedian on the list but well on his way to being one of the strongest. Performing in a style leaning more Hedbergian than anything else, Nick takes the one-liner format and fuses it with off-beat punchlines, masterful pace and an original voice. He was one of Rita’s biggest competition during the finale which is saying a lot for someone so fresh in the industry.
Tweet Nick HERE
When you’re a standup comedian and you watch someone you know advance in their career you have three choices: 1) Be jealous, 2) Pretend you don’t care, or 3) You’re happy for them. Number one is easy. Number two is defensive and insecure. Number three is the right response. Comedy isn’t a team sport but there is this sense in Canada that we’re all in this together. I had the pleasure of watching Aisha smash a Tuesday night set at Emerson in Hamilton about two years ago and remember leaning to the bar owner saying, “It’s great we got her now. In a few years, I doubt she’ll have time for mics like this.” It’s because her talent is obvious. She’s a creature of confidence and watching her as a correspondent on The Beaverton confirms that she’s an unstoppable force in Canadian comedy.
Tweet Aisha HERE
Chantel identifies herself as non-binary, meaning she doesn’t personally identify as masculine or feminine, she is outside of the gender binary. Chantel is not only one of my favourite comedians to sit and watch but a fearless ambassador for her community. Recently, Chantel has been performing public fundraisers to assist in raising enough money to pay for a double mastectomy. Read more in this article from Metro News HERE. Canadian comedians should be proud to have such a strong representative of the LGBTQ community in our community.
Tweet Chantel HERE
I first met Mayce when he was a teenager, leaving the cutthroat world of restaurant magic to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. The first time I watched him perform, I actually accused him of getting his dad to write his jokes because I thought in my head, “No way some teenage kid is this good at writing comedy.” I was dead wrong. Mayce’s intellect far surpasses my ability to compute a teenage kid performing at third-degree black belt level. Hamilton is proud of Mayce as he’s been invited to every major comedy festival from Montreal to Seattle and if there’s any hint to his momentum slowing down―I have yet to see it.
Tweet Mayce HERE
On December 16th, Nick released his latest album Wiped Privilege on Comedy Dynamics. I’m lucky enough to have his album ‘I’m Here All Weak’ on vinyl and it sits on my record shelf between The National and Perfume Genius. Nick is his own thing. He doesn’t cater towards what’s popular or what would sell. He performs what’s funny to him and you’re either on board or you’re not. I like his approach from an artistic standpoint because as long as I’ve known him, I’ve never seen any evidence of a personal conflict that would make him question who is. His punk background definitely shows in his approach―grassroots and from the ground up. I truly believe Canadian comedians have a lot to learn from Nick’s “just do it” attitude.
Tweet Nick HERE
I’ve intentionally chose to end the list with comedian Dom Paré. The best set I’ve seen last year was not at a comedy club, and it was not in a theatre, it was in a funeral home. Dom wasn’t the only comedian speaking at Josh Haddon’s funeral last February. Among him were comedians Michael Harrison and Ian Sirota. All had heartwarming, hilarious eulogies, honouring the life of comedian and motivational speaker Josh Haddon.
Josh approached his battle with cancer with an unparalleled tenacity for life. He wrote a book, The Funny Thing About Cancer, and did all he could to make his mark on the world with what little time he had left. Josh was the first person to give me the opportunity to headline a comedy club. He believed in me and we had some very raw conversations of what it meant for me to keep living and for him to keep dying.
No one can tackle death, pain, and life more than Dom. Dom by all definitions is a sceptic but he has such an intensified heart that the way he infuses honesty and humour into everything he does is almost other-worldly. His eulogy for Josh wasn’t a “set” as first described at the beginning of this entry. It was an honest, raw examination of what it meant to be alive. But then again, so are most of his sets.
On a personal note, I wish Josh was still here so I could add his name to the list.
Tweet Dom HERE
Thank you for reading and please continue to support Canadian Comedians.
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