Live Comedy in Toronto — Hoods Guru
Not all of the best comedy acts in Canada head straight to Montreal, with Toronto home to some of the best comedy spots. With hilarious acts that make you cringe, make you awkward, or maybe even make you anxious, but all of which will most definitely keep you laughing all night long. Whether you are looking for sketch, improv, or stand-up, the comedy community has something for everyone. Laughter is food for the soul, and your soul looks like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen — so eat up.
If you’re in the mood for comedy in Toronto, check out some of these great Toronto venues.
With live shows including improv, standup, and sketch comedy every night of the week, there’s lots of laughing going on around here. A mix of recognized performers and new talent, the Comedy Bar’s acts will have your stomach aching from laughing so much. Located on the basement level of a low-rise building near Dovercourt and Bloor, Comedy Bar plays host to a number of small rooms offering different shows, giving it a low key, intimate feeling between the comic and patrons. Note that the chairs are like those old fold-up ones your mom keeps in the basement that she only brings up when she has people over, so you may need a drink or two to get cozy. You’ll find a young crowd here with a laid back atmosphere. It’s no Second City stage, but a great place if you’re looking for a social gathering, clever date idea where you can have a couple of drinks withfriends and see some hilarious talent!
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Yuk Yuk’s provides live comedy six days of the week at two locations (Yonge St. and Richmond St.). If you’re into standupcomedy, this place is a great option with many talented comedians. If you’ve got a loud, obnoxious friend, perfect, drag them to the front and let the comic roast them back to reality. If you’re into amateur comedy, Yuk Yuk hosts amateur night but there’s a decent chance you’ll be flipping the coin on quality versus sub-par talent. Thankfully tickets are cheaper on these nights, so who cares? It tends to get crowded, but tickets are only $13 — $22 so if you’re in the neighbourhood, it’s worth the visit.
The Second City
If you’re looking for the best of the best, a guarantee laugh, and an entertaining night, Second City is the place to check out some of the cities most (in)famous comics. Known for their legendary comedians where the likes of Hollywood bigwigs John Candy, Mike Myers and Dan Aykroyd were discovered, these talented individuals provide a night of improv and sketch with hilarious and creative skits keeping you off your seat laughing every night of the week. Prices are reasonable ranging from $14 — $32 and you definitely get your money’s worth! I recommend getting some rail seats, even though they’re a little pricier they give you more leg room to relax. With the high ceiling and curtains, the venue really has a great look. If you’re visiting Toronto, hanging with family, or just need an idea for night out because it’s your turn to pick, Second City is the spot. Just make sure to pack an extra pair of underwear!
Bad Dog Theatre
This venue offers hilarious sketch and improv performances, sure to keep you laughing from start through finish! Once you walk up the stairs, head down the narrow hallway until you see the box shaped theatre at the back. It’s a fantastic venue (although a little small) with a really cozy feel to it — a pleasant relief from the often cramped and uncomfortable seating elsewhere, accompanied with a guaranteed good view of the show. Best known for their improv and always being different, the Bad Dog Theatre changes things up keeping things new and funny. With random stories created on the fly, hilarious comics make a killing bouncing jokes and skits off one another, keeping each night original and comical.
Fun fact of the day: You can burn up to 40 calories every 15 minutes from laughing. So laugh-ercise your night tonight with Hoods Guru.
Combining dinner and comedy, Absolute makes for an unforgettable experience (let’s hope it’s not because you choke on their tasty chicken wings) six days of the week with headliners from Canada and the United States. The hosts are always entertaining, really connecting with the audience to keep the laughter going between acts. They have dinner and drink packages, and with tables for each seat, there’s no need to worry about dribbling six different sauces on your jeans. If you’re craving a nice cold glass of water, get your fix before the show because you’ll be charged, making the choice between water and beer simple (that’s beer, if you were wondering). It has a small, intimate vibe to it, perfect for dates, casual hangouts or larger groups of friends. Prices range between $10-$15, but the box office only takes cash for in-person ticket purchases.
The Corner is the (sort of) sketchy looking building on the corner of John and Renfrew, but don’t let that stop you from entering this top notch comedy club. They are open every night of the week and tickets are a standard $10. Monday’s are dedicated to open mic, where some of the best new talent can be discovered. If you are a fan of raw, uncensored stand up comedy, the feature shows are a perfect match for you. It definitely has a hanging in your garage sort of feel to it, but with a loud and fun crowd always ready to have a good time, you’ll be laughing so much that you won’t even notice. They always have a hilarious lineup, and with the recently added air conditioning you don’t have to worry so much about that awful smell you keep blaming on Marko.
Just north of Queen, The Ossington has become a staple on the bustling Ossington strip. With a change of pace night-to-night, any day of the week, they’ve quickly become a hotspot for comic talents to showcase their skills every Monday night. Splitting each show up into two parts, the earlier show from 8pm to 10pm is scheduled for seasoned veterans from all across North America while the stage is left hot for those willing to try their hand with open mic night starting right afterward. Acts from Conan O’Brien, the Last Comic Standing and Just For Laughs have all made an appearance at the Ossington, so every week has the possibility for something special. Take some Hoods Guru advice, and swing by the Ossington for a dose of laughter served with a cold beer.
So if you’re in need of a good laugh, a good chuckle or just someone to laugh at, switch it up for a night to go see some of the city’s best comedians. Netflix will be there tomorrow. Laughter is good for you, it’s as simple as that, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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Until next time,