Published Sep 05, 2016Oddball Comedy Festival was the comedic equivalent of an all-day music festival. With jumbotrons playing Funny or Die sketches between shows, two outdoor stages, and some of the bigger names in comedy, it was the most epically massive standup event of the year.
The festival started off in the early evening with local standup greats performing on the small stage.
Self-described "man-mountain of comedy" K. Trevor Wilson more than held his own as he performed in broad daylight. Though there were throngs of people still entering the festival and milling about in the back, the host, who has opened for huge names like Louis CK and Sarah Silverman, got solid laughs. He quickly warmed up the audience with his material about how the multiple temperatures in a daily weather report annoy him, and how he sweats so much in summer that he literally becomes Niagara Falls, complete with tourists in rain slickers.
The lanky Nigel Grinstead then entertained the audience by imitating the Canada geese that disrupted his set, plus he complained about the excessive amount of pillows women have. In an amusing coincidence, Amanda Brooke Perrin followed him by making fun of men's terrible beds and pillows. Additionally, she delivered a few observations about her trip to Bali that could have used a bit more polishing, and talked about her terrible tattoos.
In the latter half of the first show, Dave Atkinson joked that he was Wilson's brother from another mother and killed with his bit about why he should have become a plumber instead of going to university to get two Bachelor of Arts degrees. He also performed hilarious material about finishing everything on Netflix, even including Murder She Wrote and all the Argentinian children's programming.
Arthur Simeon then helped draw the first show to a close before sunset with his story about his friend's boat capsizing while they were sailing that afternoon. The anecdote was completely off-the-cuff yet still very funny, while K. Trevor Wilson's closing stories about his mum yelling "penis" in church and the time he frightened a musician he was a huge fan of were also enjoyable.
After Jeff Ross started the humongous main stage performance by pointing his "Roast Cam" at audience members and mocking them with lightning quick lines as they were shown on the jumbotrons, Wilson made yet another appearance and performed his best material. His story about the engulfing fire he created while trying to make fries was as vivid as it was comical, plus his narrative about sliding down an icy hill while high out of his mind was wildly riveting.
Alice Wetterlund was comparatively underwhelming as she muttered about topics from being a mother to cats and feminism, but there were a few nuggets of good writing amid her scattered set.
Tony Hinchcliffe brought the energy back up after the Silicon Valley guest star with his edgy sense of humour. He joked about how if Bernie Sanders won the election, his presidency would literally be a "Weekend at Bernie's" because he'd die so quickly after taking office, plus he managed to be as cringe-worthy as he was funny in his discussion of the fact that Subway fazed out their motto "Eat Fresh" because of Jared Fogle's pedophilia scandal. Crazier yet, his story about accusing his black neighbour of committing a robbery, being scolded for his racism, then finding out he was right could have easily been horrible, but Hinchcliffe walked the line between being obnoxious and being cleverly snarky with so much precision that he somehow pulled it off.
Iliza Shlesinger delighted the colossal crowd with her material about how everyone has a party goblin in their brain that makes them behave intolerably at parties, as well as her bit about how women will make themselves ugly if they're given too much time to play around with their makeup. Her reference to McGill University was thoughtful and appreciated by the Toronto crowd, and her delivery was flawlessly energetic.
Contrastingly, Tom Segura was far more laid back in his set, but even more hilarious as he argued that loose vaginas are actually great and likened his opinion to realizing you would actually rather have a Tahoe than a Porsche. He humbly apologized that the joke needed work, but if he hadn't said that, no one would have ever thought that it was unfinished. Similarly, his humour about recently realizing that not everyone has diarrhoea all the time was equally crude and uproarious.
After the intermission, comic's comic Brian Regan destroyed with the best performance of the night, despite some technical difficulties that messed with both the audio and the jumbotrons at the beginning of his set. His broad yet smart and subtle bit about not trusting his doctor because all of the buttons on his lab coat were done up one hole off was as smart as it was hysterical. Moreover, his closing bit about an avid birdwatcher catching that CBS added bird noises to their golf shows that were not from indigenous birds was unbelievable. His sound effects were ridiculously funny, as was his portrayal of how unnecessarily furious the avian-obsessed complainer must have been.
Sebastian Maniscalco got a roaring round of applause from his maniacal fans as he took to the stage. As he talked about seeing normal grown men doing a choreographed dance and imitated his Italian grandmother with his breathy voice and his over-the-top physical act-outs, it was clear why some people are betting he's going to be the next big comedian.
Following the standing ovation he received, John Mulaney finally ended the five-and-a-half hour comedy spectacular by talking about how Trump is like a caricature of a rich man that a homeless guy would dream up, plus he poked fun at himself for thinking that Family Feud was an accurate measurement of human intelligence. His set wasn't as insane as Maniscalco's or Regan's, but it was still a wonderful end to an overwhelmingly magnificent night.