Ian Karmel Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, June 23

Ian Karmel Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, June 23
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Ian Karmel is big in every sense of the word; he's physically large and tall and he's one of the founding main writers of the hugely successful Late Late Show with James Corden, where he created "Crosswalk the Musical" which has amassed over ten million views on YouTube. He's performed twice on Conan, the biggest late night talk show for standup. The one thing that isn't big about Karmel is his ego.
 
During his show at Comedy Bar, Karmel self-deprecatingly joked about using his notes to keep him on track and apologized that he hadn't performed his hour in a while, but his disclaimers weren't necessary. Karmel's silly sensibility was entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, whether he was doing cute jokes like saying "Dame Judy Dench" to the tune of "Carol of the Bells," or delivering elaborate rants like his passionate narrative about what life would be like for Shaquille O'Neal if basketball didn't exist.
 
Many of the highlights of Karmel's performance came in the moments when his comedy suddenly veered in completely unexpected directions. His bit about breakups became hilarious when he snapped his head toward the crowd, out of nowhere, and remorsefully whispered "Diane!" during his act-out of running into an ex. Similarly, his bit about hating Trump's children became great when it somehow spiralled into him envisioning Eric Trump as a vampire on a TV show who the main character would kill effortlessly. Finally, his shocking closer, which involved him adding a ridiculously inappropriate ending to The Lion King, was as funny as it was wonderfully weird.
 
Unfortunately Karmel's openers weren't as memorable. After doing an amusing bit about how his middle name is Desiree, Jordan Foisy did some material about how men only express their emotions through sports that was smart, but a bit awkward. Phoebe Bottoms talked about liking Nickelback as a kid and being bad at math. Her self-deprecating humour about how she couldn't improve at physics no matter how hard she tried was decent, but her discussion of Nickelback and her rendition of one of their hits was barely more than a mediocre tactic to find something in common with Canadians.