By Lori Bosworth
I was invited to attend Second City’s show, Rebel Without a Cosmos, on Friday, October 24, 2014 at their location on Mercer Street. I hadn’t been to Second City in years so I was curious to see whether they had made changes to their comedy format.
We arrived fairly early, around 6:45 p.m., and noticed that a crowd quickly accumulated within minutes. We were one of the first parties in line when the doors opened, so we were assigned a table very close to the stage. My guest that evening suggested that we see about switching tables further back from the stage and I agreed. We ended up with a table at the back of the room with barstool chairs that were not super comfortable; however, at least we were able to take in the whole stage without getting stiff necks from sitting at the front.
Rebel Without a Cosmos is a series of sketches that focused on the theme of self-centeredness and included everyday setting such as the coffee shop and the yoga studio. The sketches, which also feature musical performances, are written and performed by Ashley Botting, Sarah Hillier, Etan Muskat, Allison Price, Connor Thompson and Kevin Whalen and directed by Reid Janisse. Some of the sketches were more gutwrenchingly funny than others. For instance, I loved the sketch involving the Tim Horton’s regular who has the photographic memory. Another sketch featuring the new City of Toronto police chief was one of the evening’s funnier moments and involved interaction with the audience. Kudos to Rudy from the audience, who was sitting near the stage and who was recruited to participate in a sketch. This was another reason that we didn’t want to sit near the stage, although the server informed us that they usually choose a man from the audience to get up on stage. Another particularly funny sketch involved a weekly group meeting for people with truly obnoxious habits. Some skits weren’t as engaging, although, thankfully, each skit runs no longer than about five minutes, which keeps the pace rapid.
Of course the evening could not have passed without references to Rob and Doug Ford, although the city politicians did not dominate the material by any means.
Second City is located at 51 Mercer Street in Toronto. Call 416-343-0011 for tickets, which start at $25.