After a triumphant and successful return from a five year hiatus, We’re Funny That Way the worlds original queer performance festivalis back with another stellar lineup of performers. Founded in 1997 as a comedy festival, Were Funny That Way has hosted stars of today and tomorrow all the while acting as a fundraiser for LGBTQ charities across Canada.

From fest founder Maggie Cassella: “Its our second year back after five years off, making this our twenty-second year. Okay thats a lot of math, but its also how we can see the beautiful changes in the queer performance landscape!  The community is busting with an amazing diversity of talent in every sense of the word.  From belters to burlesque, storey-tellers to stand-ups – this truly is a festival for anyone who loves great talent across the spectrums.  Yes, I said spectrums.  Welcome to today everyone.  And remember youre supporting the Were Funny That Way Foundation in helping queer charities across Canada.  This year were shedding a light and a donation on the Rainbow Railroad an incredible organization saving LGBTQ lives from persecution. So come, sit, listen, laugh, cry, enjoy AND do good while youre having a good time. 

The festival kicks off with its the “Gayla Gala” May 2 at 7:30pm. Its a 90-minute fast-paced variety show featuring festival talent and loads of Canadas favourite personalities. We’re celebrating performance of all kind so, as is the case with all of our galas, you never know what you might get.

Scheduled to appear:  Julia Scotti (Americas Got Talent), Larry Owens (TruTVs Paid Off,), Grace Bakker (CTVs The Launch), Gavin Crawford (Because News), Monica Garrido (Comedian, Filmmaker), Jennifer Walls (CBCs How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?), Phil Luzi (Comedian), Martha Chaves (Just For Laughs), Improv troupe Jonathan Wilson (Actor/Comedian), Ed Sahely (Actor/Comedian), and Kathryn Greenwood (Whos Line Is It Anyway?), Ryan G. Hinds (Singer), Wrong Note Rusty (Boylesque), Brandon Ash-Mohammed (CBC, TVO), Sharron Matthews(Singer/Comedian),  Video appearance by Slanty-Eyed Mama and more surprise guests! Maggie Casella (Standup, TV host, Neat freak) will host this all-star and future-star show.

Gala tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets or directly by writing the Foundation directly.  Gala tickets are available individually for $300 or as a table of 12 for $3,000. (Tax receipts available in accordance with CRA rules and regulations). 

The rest of the fest happens May 3-5, 2018 and is a veritable performance cornucopia featuring shows by many fest first-timers. 

Highlights include:

Americas Got Talent breakout star Julia Scotti, makes her International debut with her one woman stand-up Tour-De-Force, HELLO BOYSIM BACK.

Voted one of Time Out New Yorks Comedians We Love, Larry Owens makes his Canadian stand-up debut, certain to leave you reeling with laughter.

Slanty-Eyed Mama (Kate Rigg and Lyris Hung) return to festival with disOriented  yes, you have to see that one.

Fresh from an acclaimed appearance on CTVs The Launch, Grace Bakker will enthrall audiences with an amazing evening of fantastic music.

 Ryan G. Hinds returns to host Queerly Beloved a cabaret show featuring Ann Paula Bautista (Disenchanted, In The Heights, Avenue Q.), Brandon Ash-Mohammed (CBC/TVO), Wrong Note Rusty (BoylesqueTO), and of course Ryan himself!

A fresh and exciting new comedic story-teller, Torontos own Monica Garrido is set to get tongues wagging with an enthralling show of poignant and funny stories.

One of Canadas brightest creative lights, Diane Flacksreturns to the festival with a brilliant new one-woman showGuilt.

After touring across Canada, the exhilarating Franny McCabe-Bennett brings her critically lauded show Smashes: A Queer Comedy to the festival.

 In a special tribute to the late, great queer comic pioneer Bob Smith, comes the Funny Gay Males show, featuring a line up of, you guessed it, new and interesting funny gay males, who will, through a little design, do their best to pay tribute to pioneering queer comic Bob Smith.

Torontos legendary drag sensations, The B-Girlz return to the festival with an all new evening of insanity for fans, old and new!

The insanely funny Phil Luzi (Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, Mambo Italiano) brings a healthy dose of hilarious stand-up in a sure to be sensational one man comedy show.

The dynamic duo of Martha Chaves and Maggie Cassellateam up for a devilishly funny evening stand-up comedy.


Tickets for the rest of the fest are available in advance or at the door. Festival tickets are sliding scale $5-$50 but no one will be turned away from festival shows for lack of funds.



ALUMNAE THEATRE, 70 Berkeley St, Toronto

Presenting sponsor Bank of Montreal, Gold Sponsor Cineplex Entertainment, and Media Sponsor The Comedy Network for a celebration of queer cheer. Proceeds from the fest go to the We’re Funny That Way Foundationand this year are dedicated to supporting Rainbow Railroad, and organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ refugees at risk find safety, support and asylum. The festival is produced pro bono by Ford Cassella Productions. Maggie Cassella and Katie Ford Executive Producers.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.