Published Sep 03, 2018How about that Canadian summer, eh? The hottest summer in history! We're doomed! And fall's coming. Will it be unusually hot too? Yes it will. Oh well!
Canada's only exclusive stand-up and sketch comedy label, Comedy Records, has teamed up with Exclaim! to launch the Comedy Records Showcase, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Wenona Lodge (1069 Bloor St. W) in Toronto. Show times are at 9 p.m. sharp!
Our September 6 edition shines a light on the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, which either was or is home to our featured performances by Nick Reynoldson, Dena Jackson, Hannah Lawrence, and our host Monty Scott.
A veteran of our showcases, Nick Reynoldson is a very smart and funny standup comedian who often spends time in his act discussing his upbringing in Scarborough and what it was like to be raised by his interracial parents and their parrot. The co-host of the popular Talking Raptors podcast, Nick is currently in the running to win Sirius XM's Top Comic contest, which would crown him the best comic in Canada, and earn him a cash prize and slots at Just for Laughs festivals around the world.
"I got into comedy as a fan in high school," Reynoldson recalls. "My friend was making all these burned CDs and he gave me one with a bunch of Def Comedy Jam sets on it. I fell in love. As a comedian I started in college by bombing all over the city.
"I've loved and played basketball since I was a kid; since I can remember, we've always had a basketball net in my driveway. Obviously the Raptors becoming a team made me absolutely fall in love with the game. As for playing it, well, if you know me, you'd know that God has given me freak-like abilities: speed, strength and height. I am often referred to as Scarborough Kobe by no one."
Dena Jackson lives in Toronto and recalls loving comedy and performing when she was a little girl, growing up in Scarborough.
"I began competing in speech arts competitions when I was 12 — nerd alert — and often performed at legions for retired WWII veterans who would judge my speeches," she explains. "Let's just say I was a real hit with the seniors. I got into standup comedy in my 20s because I felt like it was one area of performing I had never tried, and after trying it once I was hooked.
"Scarborough gets a lot of flack for being a bit rough'n'tumble but I loved growing up there. Anything you needed, you could find at a discounted price and some of the funniest people I've ever met are from there. Scarberians have a specific sense of humour, and for me it's the Scarborough comedians that make me laugh from the belly."
Hannah Lawrence was born in Ottawa and currently lives in Scarborough, to which she has returned for a rest after performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
"I got really into comedy about two years ago when I started the Humber College Comedic Writing and Performance program," Lawrence says. "I'd always been a fan of Saturday Night Live and authors like David Sedaris, but Humber forced me to try comedy myself. Had it not been for the program I don't think I ever would have tried standup and thank God I did."
Lawrence mentions that her father was a standup and TV writer and she has always been enamoured by his stories of roadwork, which they can now share with each other.
"I think my parents would describe my standup as very dark and dirty, but I like to talk about stuff that is true to me," Lawrence explains. "The best feeling is when someone comes up to you after a show and says, 'The same thing happened to me!' It's great that people, especially women, can relate to my jokes. I don't know how important it is but I think it's cool that an entire room of people can laugh about how funny boobs are."
As for Scarborough, when asked to cite something uniquely funny about the 'burb, Lawrence recalls a very specific stretch of land.
"The only strip club we had (R.I.P. Caddy's) was attached to a bowling alley and there was always this guy selling mangoes out front," Lawrence says. "Everyone has to make their money somehow and it was always a fun way to spend an afternoon, visiting all three places."
Monty Scott hails from Scarborough but calls Toronto home and is due to release a standup album on Comedy Records soon.
"One of the funniest things about Scarborough is really more about everywhere else," Scott says. "Scarborough gets a bad rap, and with a straight face, people and the press seem to believe it's completely unrelated to racism and immigration. Having the most diverse international ethnic population in the world has got nothing to do with it.
"That being said, my favourite thing about Scarborough's immigrant communities: they're so large, many people never need to learn English or otherwise engage in Canadian society. I really think, some of them, if asked, with no help given, would not be able to name what country they're in. Cold Vietnam? North Sri Lanka? This Earth is a big blue ball; if you ask me where I am on it, my answer will always be China."
Come see these people make Scarborough proud on Thursday September 6 at the Wenona Lodge.
A ten-dollar ticket includes one pint of Steamwhistle. You can buy tickets in advance here.