James Adomian Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, May 10
Published May 11, 2018Impressions get a bad rap. It's completely understandable why: the genre usually involves comedians forcefully asking "Do you want to hear an impression?" then barely keeping together their half-accurate imitations by over-explaining who they're trying to sound like. Thankfully, James Adomian is bringing impressions to their former glory. Launching in and out of characters seamlessly, and embodying them all so well that he barely had to mention their names, Adomian blended sketch and standup on the spot and made it look incredibly easy.
James Adomian's first night in Toronto had some of the best opening comics the city has to offer. Courtney Gilmour had several new entertaining takes on her life with a multi-limb disability, as well as some witty stories about her cat and dating. Her joke about being an amputee because she survived an abortion got a huge laugh as always, plus her analysis of the speeches people give when they're breaking up with someone was spot on.
Feature act Andrew Johnston also gave the show a strong start with his rapid fire comedy centred around his life as a gay man. His whole set was relentlessly funny, but the metaphors in his story about trying to masturbate to women during his teenage years were unforgettably hilarious.
James Adomian's hybrid of storytelling, improvisation, and impressions was effortlessly captivating. Running through familiar cultural touchstones like Bernie Sanders, Jesse Ventura and Donald Trump as well as comedy nerd favourites like Todd Glass, Andy Kindler and Marc Maron, Adomian was a goofy, gravelly-voiced joy to watch.
Having said that, Adomian's funniest material surprisingly didn't involve his portrayals of pop culture figures. His imitation of the pricelessly unprofessional programming on his local student radio station was chaotically funny, plus his closing narrative about watching a bunch of tactless Scandinavians argue in a Norwegian Burger King was even more hilarious and escalated even more quickly.