Baron Vaughn Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, January 26

Baron VaughnComedy Bar, Toronto ON, January 26
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On Thursday, there was an insane amount of hype about Louis CK coming to Toronto. Between the buzz about his last-minute Massey Hall show and the whispers about his new material, CK's name was inescapable among Toronto comedy fans. Meanwhile, Baron Vaughn was also in town, grinding away at the creation of his new hour, underappreciated but amazing. Along with stellar openers Aisha Brown and Pat Thornton, he put on a nerdy, intimate, and hilarious show.
 
Host Aisha Brown started the show with a great set about awkward racism, being single and having anxiety. Her delivery was casual but charming, her writing was sharp, and her closing absurd impersonation of a screeching hawk to symbolize her anxiety was as funny as it was piercingly high. She's a comic who gets better every time I see her, and this set was no exception.
 
Pat Thornton also killed with his exasperated take on what it would be like to be Trump's photographer for his presidency, as well as some offbeat stories about his wife's odd reactions to everyday life. A staple of Toronto's comedy scene, his comically short-fused moments hit as hard as his coy goofy pauses.
 
Baron Vaughn spent his set bouncing between geeky references, observations on racial tension, puns, and stories about reuniting with his father. There were a couple of moments that were slightly off because this hour was a loose, on-the-fly mix of new jokes with bits from his album Blaxistential Crisis, but Vaughn maintained a high standard. By putting his all into riffing through the unplanned patches, he rapidly built bridges between his familiar and barely tested material, and he more than made up for the fact that he opened with joke that he should have closed on. A natural powerhouse of energy with wit to match, Vaughn was a delight.