Skyline’s The Limit – The Second City opens its 50th Canadian season with Toronto themed skits and improv
The Second City opens it’s 50th anniversary in Canada with Skyline’s The Limit, with some of the city’s best improv and comedy actors, including PHATT al, Andy Assaf, Andy Hull, Hannah Spear, Nkasi Ogbonnah, and Jillian Welsh. The show is also the first original Mainstage production to premiere at the impressive new venue at One York Street, in downtown Toronto.
Skyline’s the Limit covers all the most important comedic topics in Toronto, from the tallest skyscraper to the depths of the TTC, and will take viewers on a wild ride through the stratosphere of humour. Laugh through the art of scamming, unwelcomed eye contact, the controversial yet brave approach to eating kiwis, and even how to navigate municipal bylaws on recycling. It’s a night of sky-high comedy that delivers the hilarity, wit, and satire that The Second City is known for, including superb stand-up comedy skits, and adhoc improv that typically involves participation from (un)willing audience members.
Arrive early to enjoy sometime in the wonderful lounge area, or enjoy bites and bevvies from the comfort of your seat inside the theatre. There’s not a bad seat in the house. It’s great to have The Second City back on stage and providing laughs that are much needed.
The producing team includes Ed Wells (CEO), Carly Heffernan (Artistic Director), Elizabeth Howard (VP of Production), and Susan Waycik (Producer). Three-time Second City alumna and Canadian Comedy Award winner Kirsten Rasmussen makes her directorial debut and Ayaka Kinugawa returns to the company as music director. Matt Keevins joins the ensemble as stage manager, and Second City Alumni, Darryl Hinds completes the team as Assistant Director.
The Cast and Crew
PHATT al (Ensemble) [he/they] (pronounced “fat al”) is a Dora and Juno nominated actor, MC, digital visual artist, director, song, and sketch writer. A Second City Mainstage alumnus, he was the band leading rapper of the Juno nominated NuFunk band God Made ME Funky. He (and/or his voice) has appeared in various commercials, TV shows, and movies. You may know him as the Juicy Fruit Man or the voice of Wendy’s Canada, Rice Krispie bars, and Eggo waffles. al was a featured performer at the NBC Universal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival in Chicago and was a recipient of both the Second City’s Bob Curry Fellowship and Bad Dog Theatre’s Creator program. He is also the creator of Yes Yes Y’all and Check the Rhyme, the only longform improv hip-hop classes in Canada, as well as a member of “The Untitled Black Sketch Project” sketch troupe. Follow PHATT al on Instagram @phattal3000.
Andy Assaf (Ensemble) [he/him] is an improviser, sketch comedian, and filmmaker from Montreal. After studying and producing extensively with the Montreal Improv Theatre, Andy relocated to Toronto, where he was a member of the 2019 Bad Dog Theatre Featured Players. When not performing at Second City, Andy sometimes tours with longform improv duo Frank Mythic, where he and his comedy partner Dimitri Kyres improvise a unique Steven King-style novel every show. TV credits include The Recruit (Netflix) and Workin‘ Moms (CBC). You can follow him @sweetandysour.
Darryl Hinds (Assistant Director) [he/him] is an alum of the Second City where as a Toronto Main Stage cast member he wrote and performed five revues for the theatre. Since his days at the Second City Darryl has worked in TV as a regular on shows like CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie and The Ninth (CBC Gem). He was a cast member of the legendary TV sketch troupe The Royal Canadian Air Farce (CBC) and was one of the stars of CBC Gem and Hulu’s original series Overlord and the Underwoods. Darryl’s also had brief writing stints for CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes and CityTV’s Sunnyside. He continues to work as an actor and writer throughout the industry.
Andy Hull (Ensemble) [he/him] is an actor and writer. A multiple Canadian Comedy Award nominee and winner, he has received nods for Best Sketch Troupe (“The Sketchersons”) and Best Web Series (Space Janitors). Andy was featured in FX’s What We Do in the Shadows and Apple TV’s Pinecone and Pony, in addition to Man Seeking Woman (FX), Odd Squad (PBS), and a host of other TV and film credits. A Second City alum, Andy co-produces the Comedy Bar show “Weird Al Karaoke,” which was featured at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal.
Matt Keevins (Stage Manager) [he/him] specializes in improv and sketch comedy. Select credits include The Weight of it All (Toronto Fringe), An Evening with Devon and Jackie (Toronto Fringe), Something Small, Something Sweet (Hamilton Fringe), and Come Here Often? (Buddies in Bad Times). He’s worked as a theatre tech at Comedy Bar, in The Second City Training Center and has understudied for Second City’s Mainstage and Touring Company. Matt is often shocked that he has made a whole career out of pushing buttons with great comedic timing!
Akaya Kinugawa (Music Director) [she/her] is a Japanese musician based in Toronto who is actively involved in the comedy scene. She is a musical director at the Second City and has toured across the USA, Canada and on cruise ships, including sold out performances at the Kennedy Center. She also composes music for YouTubers, short films, and a hip-hop project called Kokophonix. When Ayaka is not working on her music, she performs improv, clown and sketch comedy or writes for TV. Ayaka likes tomatoes. @ayaka.kinugawa
Nkasi Ogbonnah (Ensemble) [she/her] is an alumna of The Second City’s Mainstage revues Welcome Back to the Future and Mission Totally Possible. She was recently a member of Toronto Fringe Festival’s “Woke ‘N Broke,” which earned Best Ensemble from NOW Magazine. Nkasi is currently a member of Untitled Black Sketch Project, Canada’s first and only all-Black sketch ensemble, as well as her history-based sketch troupe “1623” (pronounced like the year). She has performed at notable festivals such as JFL42 and NXNE. IG: @varnishedvalkyrie
Kirsten Rasmussen (Director) [she/they] is an award-winning comedian, actor and director. Her acting can be seen in Schitt’s Creek (CBC), The Beaverton (Comedy), TallBoyz (CBC), Odd Squad (PBS Kids), Dino Dana (PBS Kids), Bit Playas (CBC Gem), Band Ladies (Highball TV), and she is the star of the digital series Slo Pitch (IFC). Kirsten won the Canadian Comedy Award (CCA) for Best Improviser in 2015 and was also nominated for the same award in 2014. She won the 2019 CCA for Best Ensemble with Second City Toronto’s hit show She The People and the 2019 CCA for Best Production for Extravaganza Eleganza, an all-queer sketch comedy revue which Kirsten directed. Kirsten is an alumna of The Second City Toronto Mainstage company, where she wrote and starred in three revues. Her writing credits include The Snoopy Show (Apple+), This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC), Because News (CBC), The Irrelevant Show (CBC), and Healing from Heartbreak (YouTube). Kirsten has taught improv and sketch for over 15 years all over Canada.
Hannah Spear (Ensemble) [she/her] is thrilled to create joy with this immensely talented cast every night. Having improvised across Canada for 15 years, Hannah holds multiple nominations from the Canadian Comedy Awards. She was nominated in 2022 for a DORA Award (Outstanding Performance) for her work in the last Second City revue, Mission Totally Possible. Selected TV credits include Star Trek: Discovery, Murdoch Mysteries, and Tall Boyz, as well as New Eden (Crave). Find her on Instagram @hannahjspear.
Jillian Welsh (Ensemble) [she/her] is a Canadian Comedy Award winning writer/performer, a Dora nominated actor and an expert at setting microwaves on fire. TV credits include Run the Burbs, Abroad, Workin’ Moms, TallBoyz and Baroness Von Sketch Show. Her real-life stories can be found on This American Life, RISK! and CBC’s Love Me. She was also a writer for Backyard Beats on TVO Kids. Follow her @jillianLwelsh across all platforms.
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.