Published Mar 29, 2018April showers usually bring May flowers, but here's hoping they don't bring the Toronto Raptors those May showers again, because that would mean they had to "hit the showers," which is a metaphor for being losers, but also a literal way to clean your sweaty self after playing a game of playoff basketball.
Anyway, Canada's only exclusive standup and sketch comedy label, Comedy Records, has teamed up with Exclaim! to launch the Comedy Records Showcase, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Wenona Lodge (1069 Bloor St. W) in Toronto. Show time is at 9 p.m. sharp!
Our April 5 edition features Barry Taylor, Nick Reynoldson and Monty Scott, who together host the popular Talking Raptors podcast. We asked them to talk jokes, the Raps' incredible season and what a playoff run might look like.
"Growing up, NBA players and comedians were my heroes," Barry Taylor says. Beyond hosting and producing the Talking Raptors podcast, the Toronto-based comic also runs Comedy Records. "I was a big fan of Saturday Night Live and Chris Farley, Norm Macdonald, David Spade and Phil Hartman were gods to me. I had no interest in being a sketch performer or actor, but wanted to be part of that comedy world. I like standup because you can be yourself, but still be inside the comedy environment.
"I love basketball," Taylor adds. "I don't know how to skate and have never played a game of hockey, which is weird as a Canadian, but I've never felt like I missed out because I spent my winters in a gym. My lack of height and athletic ability kept me from going anywhere, but I played in house leagues growing up and am currently the backup shooting guard on the Comedy Records 4-on-4 team."
His pal and podcast co-host Nick Reynoldson followed a similar trajectory.
"I got into comedy as a fan in high school," Reynoldson recalls. "My friend was making all these burned CDs and he gave me one with a bunch of Def Comedy Jam sets on it. I fell in love. As a comedian I started in college by bombing all over the city.
"I've loved and played basketball since I was a kid; since I can remember, we've always had a basketball net in my driveway. Obviously the Raptors becoming a team made me absolutely fall in love with the game. As for playing it, well, if you know me, you'd know that God has given me freak-like abilities: speed, strength and height. I am often referred to as Scarborough Kobe by no one."
Unlike Taylor and Reynoldson, the origin story of Monty Scott, voice of the podcast, is a tad more aggressive.
"I've pretty much been talkin' shit my whole life; eventually decided to go pro," Scott says of his work in comedy. "I really didn't follow ball until the Raptors [became] a team. Once they did, I started to watch, and my buddies and I started to play. It took me a while to realize it wasn't played like hockey. I fouled a lot. I tried to crosscheck people. I put a lock in a sock and would swing it like I just didn't care."
If you're thinking these funny dudes should start a podcast about the Raptors and stop hitting people with locks in socks, they're mostly way ahead of you.
"The podcast is basically Nick and I discussing the team and things that interest us surrounding the Raptors," Taylor says. "We're both fans and nowhere near basketball experts, so we focus on things that matter to us, like social media, arena food, Drake and the inflatable mascot. There's been a lot of discussion about the Big Mac with bacon this season too. We're committed to avoiding statistics or any game-related analytics."
According to Reynoldson's reasoned and expert opinion, "The Raptors will win the championship this year because we are goddamn magic this season."
"That's a legitimate question," Taylor adds, pondering the Raptors' standing this season. "How insane is that? The Toronto Raptors could actually compete for an NBA title this year. It's great being able to even contemplate that on a somewhat realistic level. LeBron James still terrifies me as an opponent, and the Houston Rockets are amazing, but it's possible."
C'mon down and watch these excellent comedians and basketball aficionados do their thing on stage! A ten-dollar ticket includes a pint of Steamwhistle; you can buy tickets in advance here.