The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (TOsketchfest) returns for its 19th annual showcased, running now until March 17, 2024 at both The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W) and Comedy Bar (945 Bloor St W). TOsketchfest’s Festival Series is a spectacular and energetic mosaic of contemporary sketch comedy, drag, storytelling, musical comedy, and clown – all performed by hilarious ensembles and solo acts.

Boasting a star-studded lineup of over 60 sketch comedy troupes from around North America, TOsketchfest will rally the comedy community around over 50 high-energy showcases, as well as the 7th annual TOsketchfest Film Festival. Festival highlights include Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall) as Buddy Cole in King, the long awaited TOsketchfest return of TallBoyz, plus Sex T-Rex in their smash hit SwordPlay (Just For Laughs Best Comedy Award).

Scott Thompson’s KING

The programming team kicked off opening weekend of the festival with a bang, including two nights with Scott Thompson, who took the stage to perform his 90-minute set of far-from-PC Buddy Cole monologues. The second evening was actually the last of several shows he had performed across the USA, and he seemed both excited and nervous to be performing in front of his hometown fans, including many other local comedians in attendance. However, that only added to the anything goes vibe of both Scott, and Buddy.

Strutting out to thunderous applause, Buddy sauntered up to Bar Babylon, and quickly indulged in mixing up a messy martini while introducing himself, and setting the stage for the evening. Nothing was off limits, and it seemed that he was anxiously waiting for an audience member to cringe at what just came out of his mouth, and there was plenty to cringe at. There was a lot of talk about sex, and in particular the male anatomy, and many tales of his younger days as a much desired young gay male.

He continued on with talk on immigration, religion, trans kids, the Me Too movement, and closing with some history about the extended acronym that is now the norm for the queer community. As a gay man growing up in the 80s, comparing things to where they are at today in terms of fluidity, he closes the show by announcing he is no longer the Queen he used to be, and now identifies as the KING! He then returned to the stage for a short encore performance of the first Buddy Cole monologue he did on Kids in the Hall, acknowledging to himself that he hasn’t really changed all that much over the past couple of decades.

Here’s hoping Buddy Cole returns once again to provide some much needed comedic shock value, where audiences can let their guard down and woke be offended. Cheers to Queers!

There’s so much more talent on the schedule over the next several days, so check out their website and pick up a single ticket, or a festival pass, and get out and laugh for an evening. It’s much needed, and is the best medicine apparently!

The TOsketchfest24 Lineup:

Scott Thompson, TallBoyz, Sex T-Rex, $20 Sandwich, Amanda Xeller, Anders Yates, Anti-Thematic (Los Angeles), Banzo and Blair, B.O.A.T.S. (Based On A True Story) (Brooklyn), BDB Comedy, Big Apartment (New Jersey), Big Chick Energy, Bitty-Bat!, BlackOut! (New York City), Bleak, Boy Girl Party, Cam Wyllie, Carson & Taylor, Cheap Wine, Comedy Dance Chicago (Chicago), Dave Barclay, Devin Bateson, Diaspora Darlings (Montreal), G.L.O.S.S., Gillian Bartolucci, Grown & Sexy, HANDS!, Isaac Kessler, Jelly, Jon Blair, Joy Provision, Lemon Pepper and Sazón Comedy (Virginia), Li’l RasGALS, Little Funny Plays, Lou Laurence (Montreal), Margarita Brighton (Los Angeles/Toronto), Mom’s Girls (St. John’s), Peggy’s Place, Potato Potato, Rabble Rabble (Los Angeles), Sam Hancock, Self Made, Shohana Sharmin, Sibling Rivalry, Sketch at Tallboys, Sketch to the Death, Small Friend Tall Friend, Smooth Comedy, Spencer Glassman, Success 5000 (Edmonton), Summer Dad, The Foundation (Brooklyn), The Long Con, The NDN Act, The Suburban Sisterwives, The Understudies, Tongues (Montreal), Tom Hearn, Tony Ho, West 2 West, Woody Fu (Los Angeles), and Young Douglas Comedy (Brooklyn).

The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is Canada’s premier festival celebrating scripted, ensemble comedy boasting multiple days of comedy on professional stages, each year featuring approximately 200 comedians. Since 2005, the Festival has brought sketch comedy to wider audiences with ticketed and free performances showcasing hundreds of emerging comedians alongside a slate of top-flight headliner acts such as Tallboyz, Kate McKinnon, Ramy Youssef and Jonathan Bryalock of Inside Jokes Films, The Kids in the Hall, Ninja Sex Party, Sasheer Zamata, Michael Ian Black, and Gavin Crawford.

TOsketchfest is a registered charity and supports Canadian comedic writer-performers through showcases, professional development and direct funding through the Sketch Comedy Project Fund in partnership with the Pat & Tony Adams Freedom Fund for The Arts. Make a donation today.

Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival
March 6 – 17, 2024
Single Tickets starting at $25 plus fees
Festival Passes starting at $119 plus fees

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.