Seriously, folks. What’s the deal with stand-up comedy these days? The classic, Seinfeldian form isn’t the dominant comic force it once was. Now, Toronto’s alt-comedy scene offers an entirely different sort of humour, where meta-monologues and surrealist musicals are more common than punch lines. Here, the city’s best places to get your laugh on.
The legendary backroom spawned The Kids in the Hall, and it continues to incubate the next generation with nights like the Sketch Comedy Lounge, Laugh Sabbath and the Hour of Power.
Big laughs: Quirky comedienne Katie Crown most Sunday nights. 334 Queen St. W., 416-596-1908.
Bad Dog Theatre
Toronto’s improv institution, literally ? they have an improv school on the premises ? Bad Dog is the most reliably funny place east of Yonge Street.
Big laughs: Surreal soap opera Hot Teachers in Love (Fridays in Feb. and March). 138 Danforth Ave., 416-491-3115.
Located in the hipsterfied Bloor-Ossington hood, the anti-Yuk-Yuk’s hosts some of the brightest hopefuls in Toronto’s alt-comedy scene with multiple nightly shows.
Big laughs: Outrageous improv competition Catch 23, Friday nights. 945 Bloor St. W., 647-898-5324.
The backroom at Clinton’s is home to an ever-changing roster of comedy (and other) nights, including occasional visits from improv experts, Post Secret.
Big laughs: Ghost Jail Theatre acts out unseen scripts on Sundays. 693 Bloor St. W., 416-535-9541.
The best place uptown for as-seen-on-TV standup stylings of folks like Ron Sparks and Paul Morrissey. Reservations required.
Big laughs: The decidedly NSFW Dark Show on Tuesdays. 2335 Yonge St., 416-486-7700.
Image courtesy of Jeff Werner.