Dan St. Germain Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, March 22

Dan St. GermainComedy Bar, Toronto ON, March 22
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Picture a lumberjack with long hair, a solid singing voice, and a rocky past —essentially, that's Dan St. Germain, the gritty stand-up comic whose combination of keen attentiveness to his audience and dark pessimism creates hilarity. Accompanied with a few entertaining local opening acts, St. Germain brought life to the early Sunday night crowd with his detailed, edgy material, and his superb improvised jokes.
 
During his set, St. Germain used a variety of comedic forms including observational material, storytelling, and crowd work. However, no matter how he was creating comedy, there was one constant that threaded together St. Germain's hour: his strong delivery. Whether he was doing a bit about how country music tricks him into singing along to racist messages, telling an anecdote about how he accidentally freaked out two high teenagers, or riffing about a hot meteorologist in the audience, St. Germain always told his jokes with self-assuredness and without excess wordiness.
 
Yet St. Germain was by no means excessively confident: whenever he began to seem intimidating, he would thank the audience or delve into his self-deprecating material to make him more relatable. Consequently, he created a lovely pairing of modesty and fantastic funniness that facilitated the audience's trust, and thus allowed him to go into his bluer material, such as his closer about how his family made him sexually messed up, and his retelling of a story he heard in rehab.
 
St. Germain also had some enjoyable openers, two of whom are terrific sketch comedians as well as fabulous stand-up comics. Host Steph Tolev enthusiastically delivered some very funny material about running marathons, viewing a new house while stoned, and her thick Bulgarian body hair, as well as a delightful impression of her father. With a similar amount of energy, Mark Little cheerfully explained why Los Angeles was a complete disappointment for him, and broke down a Britney Spears impression into two absurd components: a creaking door and a talking baby. He also performed a rap song where he intentionally left comically long gaps for the audience to sing along, even though he knew they didn't know the lyrics. In contrast, Ben Lardie's performance was filled with forgettable material and his delivery was absentminded. However, his set was nothing worse than lacklustre, so it had little impact on the generally wonderful quality of the show.