With the exception of the final comic, New Faces was a great showcase that showed why Canadians should support and enjoy local talent more often. With the help of host Casey Corbin, this batch of up-and-coming comedians delighted the packed crowd in the cabaret space of Comedy Bar.
After Corbin told an amusing story about having to hug his Uber driver at the airport because Ubers aren't allowed there, he kept the show running at a breakneck pace with each comic taking the stage less than a minute after the one before them. Marito Lopez started off by doing some crowd with a man who looked like a "Peruvian poet," then analyzed how Drake's lyrics involving Scarborough Bluffs didn't make sense. That material played well as he energetically paced the stage, but his joke about being a dishwasher that was shoved on stage because they ran out of comics didn't hit, especially because he was the first one on the lineup.
After Lopez, Sam Burns and Joe Vu both killed with their top-notch writing. Burns got solid laughs by admitting his grown-out haircut looked like either "a hot 12-year-old or a middle-aged mom," then did even better with his ultra-specific yet relatable material about "sassy nerds": otakus who think they're better than everyone else. More bashful but equally funny, Vu wittily discussed people's enjoyment of fedoras like it was a sexual spectrum, plus he got the biggest laugh of the night by telling an elaborate story about a girl his parents set him up with, convincingly pointing her out in the audience, then revealing she wasn't actually there and that they hadn't talked in months.
Perhaps the best-known comic of the showcase — thanks to her recent win at Just For Laughs' Homegrown competition — Courtney Gilmour talked about relationships and living life as an amputee. Most of her material about her disability was familiar to those who've seen her before, but she also had a unique take on going to a nudist resort that entertained returning fans.
Foad HP's set was a disappointing ending to this otherwise enjoyable show. Starting his set by saying "I travel," then expectantly staring at the audience with a smile until they awkwardly chuckled out of politeness, his laziness throughout his performance was seriously off-putting. Having said that, his line about calling adopted kids "rescues" like animals was decent, as was his bit about directors who only make movies set in the middle ages because they're racist.
Nonetheless, this was one of the most mediocre performances of the festival. His material about being in shape was basically just a covert excuse to compliment himself, and his closer involving the punch line "not on my watch" and someone standing on a watch was undeniably similar to a viral internet joke. Even if he came up with the "not on my watch" line on his own, it's a really basic, corny joke, and any comic worth their salt would make a new closer instead of clinging to something that can be misinterpreted as joke theft so easily.