Review: Fresh Meat (the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund)

by Jenna Rocca

The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund and The Second City presented their annual showcase of “Toronto’s Hottest New Comedians” on Monday, October 4th. The pageant of all the Fresh Meat was a juried event that will reward $5000 to one up-and-coming comedian, along with a scholarship to the Second City
Conservatory.

Host Mark Debonis brought new dimension to the idea of Scarborough class with his American Italian lilt and unkempt long hair. His debonair combined with his brusque mangling of the English language and everyone’s bios had the audience in stitches throughout. At one point he said to an audience member “uncross your arms, this is a fun time,” which just killed me and many others.

The Jewish-Torontonian Ben Iscoe gave a brainy but brilliant bit on the rationale behind international flag designs, complete with graphics.

Chris Wakelin’s drole and crude observations on everything from the hypocrisy of Global Warming to Cialis advertising was memorable as was his comparison of Hamilton to Calcutta, the former of which he noted has “more feces.”

Some conceptual comedy brought welcome diversity to the lineup. Colin Sharpe’s semiotic presentation of “the Politics of Dancing,” was as brilliant as it was disarming.

Other standouts included Georgea Brooks whose delivery matched her ditsy-swearing-bombshell stylings. Daryll Orr has his self-deprecating persona honed down to a “T.” Marco Bernardi was a loveable, bubbly, cuddly bearded clown who served up smart ass disses with a smile.

The stellar Liane Mauladin was completely perfect throughout her routine. I loved her observation on the notion of “What would Jesus Do?” as she rightly points out, “I think we know what Jesus did… he got himself killed.” I was crying with laughter. More fabulous came in the form of her apt comparison of child-rearing to heroin addiction.

Mike Rita is a straight-up kinda guy from the Landsdown and Bloor region. His repetition of the intersection throughout was wise and worked to his advantage, building up the diss of what he calls the asshole of Toronto, where he happened to grow up with his little Portuguese mother who’s gotten used to his weed-smoking ways.

Tom Henry’s bare-bones sincere deadpan persona turned lines like “I’m too excited to tell jokes” into comic jewels. He looked at us with a devastating, intense solemnity, juxtaposing ideas such as a modern day Robin Hood stealing WiFi with the notion of scented candles. I don’t really remember the connection, but it was the idea and the delivery that made it so bloody hilarious. He punctuates the delivery without relying on obvious punch lines. With one exception: “don’t wear striped shirts – ever – it makes it too easy for cannibals to portion you.”

There were some troupe-style comedy acts as well. My favourite was the two girl, one male combo that was “Big Tease.” Their ghost affair/abortion came complete with a sheet and a dead baby ghost fetus. The chanted number “Math Attack,” was just as good if not better, filled with energy and wit.

As a lover of comedy in all of its manifestations this presentation was riotous to me and my partner. I can’t wait to see who goes onto the next round and to follow their careers. Though I really feel the jury must have had a tough time as each act had its own charm and pizazz.

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