Stand Up Comedy

Streamed as part of Toronto Fringe Next Stage Theatre Festival

Toronto Fringe website

Joe Szekeres

Note: I don’t have a great deal of background in the art of stand-up comedy so I’m going to comment on the digital theatrical presentation.

To borrow loosely from ‘The King & I’, tis ‘A Puzzlement’ this stand-up comedy.


Well, a theatre review comments on the interconnectedness of many elements (performances, design work, pacing etc.) that make a live presentation either sink or swim.

Stand up comedy is a different theatrical mode of presentation. We may learn a bit about the artist from the host OR if the artist who is of well-known celebrity status from other comedy venues, then we may know more about that person. The comedian/artist may have props; rarely is there a set design.

That’s it.

It’s all up to the comedian/artist to keep the pace going as he/she/they share their view, their ‘truth’, their understanding of human culture.

‘Stand Up Comedy’ as part of Toronto Fringe’s Next Stage Festival, showcases approximately ten minutes of some of the routines of the following artists: Nick Reynoldson, Todd Graham, Adrienne Fish, Efthimios Nasiopoulos, Dena Jackson, and Monty Scott with host Faisal Butt. As host, Faisal Butt introduces some of the accomplishments of these artists, and I like that because it is important for me, as an audience member, to know where else these comics have played. It also appeared to me that these comics/artists were not going to allow the woke culture in which we now live destroy or change their art, and for that I applaud each of them.

Each of these comic artists did make me smile at least once in their routines for some of their astute and perceptive look at human nature. Even though I am trying not to spoil future audience interest, I want to focus on one moment – Todd Graham (who resembled television’s CHEERS Cliff Clavin) did make me chortle with his fake ‘porn star’ mustache along with his comment about his wife and from working at home during the pandemic.

Now, here’s where it becomes a puzzlement for me.

I guess I’m old, but why does there have to be so much dropping of profanity to make people laugh today? Alright, yes, everyone (including me) has uttered the four-letter words at times in our lives. I’m not going to deny that.

And I get it; we’ve been through a great deal over the last two years of the pandemic, and we do need to laugh so kudos to this team of artists who makes it their mission to do so.

I grew weary of hearing so many ‘f bombs’ dropped and so much foul language that reminded me of a high school boys’ locker room where they are being themselves. They’re kids, they’re teenagers. That’s part of their vernacular.

I’m trying not to make it a part of mine even though I falter periodically.

In her routine, Dena Jackson stated at one point, “I’m at the end of my rope.”

I was too, Dena, in hearing so much foul language.

Final Note: By all means, tune in if you are a stand-up comedy fan. Beware of the swearing.

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