Bad Dog Theatre’s improv shows are now at the Comedy Bar with great shows every week
Bad Dog Theatre used to be at Broadview and Danforth and was known as Toronto’s home of improv. I saw many hilarious shows there, most of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site. So it was very sad when they shut down the venue, at pretty much exactly this time last year.
It wasn’t surprising though. They weren’t hurting for audience, but the space had tiered seating it was ineligible for a liquor license. Not only do booze and comedy go hand in hand, but bar sales are an important source of revenue for comedy clubs.
After only a brief hiatus, Bad Dog’s flagship show Theatresports was up and running again at Comedy Bar (945 Bloor West.) And now, one year later, Bad Dog and Comedy Bar are happily cementing their relationship. Comedy Bar has a new cabaret space that means Bad Dog can have shows even when there is a headliner in the main space. Bad Dog will be staying in Comedy Bar for the foreseeable future. I interviewed Bad Dog‘s Artistic Producer Julie Dumais about the arrangement.
The way Bad Dog sees it the positives of this partnership are overwhelming. Comedy Bar is an established venue with a growing clientele of comedy-going regulars. This residency allows them to concentrate on the quality of programming and our classes, rather than devoting energy and financial resources to facility management or carrying an unwieldy lease. Comedy Bar is easily accessible by transit, as it’s right by Ossington station, and it has a full bar and menu.
The agreement will see Bad Dog at Comedy Bar for several years. They may someday have their own dedicate venue again but it’s not a priority now. They’re focusing on putting on good shows, treating their performers and students well and growing the audience for unscripted comedy.
Here’s what’s coming up for Bad Dog Theatre:
– Theatresports (Saturdays – 8pm): Be entertained by stellar, top-tier teams of improvisers. To create opportunities for emerging talent, they’ve also added a 7pm warm-up to the main event – the Theatresports Undercard, included with every Theatresports ticket.
– Bad Dog Academy Tuesdays: weekly showcase of students and projects being workshopped in their Performance Series classes at 8pm – followed by Natasha Boomer’s wildly popular Wheel of Improv at 9:30pm – a fun and rowdy opportunity for new improvisers to get up and try out their stage legs alongside established improvisers and members of the Bad Dog faculty.
– Mondays-in-the-Cabaret: a diverse rotation of fresh and inventive unscripted comedy formats and styles, among them: Troubadour, the award-nominated competitive musical improv show; Toronto Secrets, inspired by the popular confessional art phenomenon PostSecret; and an improvised cabaret anchored by popular local troupe, Sex T-Rex.
– Wednesdays: their very best and most seasoned improvisers (in show formats other than Theatresports). Planned Wednesday highlights include the return of Egg Zeppelin – comedy, music & real bacon with Marcel St. Pierre, Kris Siddiqi and amazing guests, coming in March – and Throne of Games “Lord of the Rings meets the West Wing… with more laughs and no script”, playing in April.