Toronto comic hopes this year's 24-hour standup marathon will be the funniest and most successful yet.
Comedian Pat Thornton—one of our favourite Tweeters—is spending this weekend kicking his fundraising into overdrive to prepare for his third annual personal endurance test/comedy show. The goal is to raise money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which combats the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, and once again Thornton is setting himself the challenge of telling and reading jokes for 24 hours straight, with the help of many of friends and supporters, especially from Toronto’s comedy community. We met up with the genial funnyman between his appearances on CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and 102.1 The Edge to find out how he’s approaching this year’s stand-up marathon, how his team intends to use social media during the event, and what he’s got planned for this year’s challenge.
The goal on the website is listed as $24,000 something, yeah. But this year, other people have made donation pages. My personal goal is $12,000—my goal every year has just been to beat last year’s total. We made $11,000 last year, which was the end result of me spending a month bugging everyone I knew… It’s just hard to tell how much more is out there.
Yeah, outsourcing! There are 23 people on the Comedy Bar Team with registered fundraising pages, so with a big push over the weekend, we should kick off having done well already.
Last year, Carl Wilson called the marathon a “stream of collective consciousness narrative.” How do you guys plan on capitalizing on that discovery, and the use of Twitter this year, for instance?
Well, we’ve found that there’s so very little that you can plan. What’s amazing about this is, while I may be the guy on camera the whole time, and it’s my name on the event, I’m such a small part of everything that’s going on; it’s a real community event. I’m so grateful for that, that it’s become this thing that belongs to everyone, and how people take advantage of that—and how it just gets weirder and weirder. There’ll be a team of people working Twitter with the handle @pats24hrs, and people can hashtag #pats24hrs to get involved, give me a joke, or whatever. But really, it’s anyone’s guess what’ll happen.
Yeah, like with Kevin Sorbo‘s Garbage Weekend, which we covered a lot on Torontoist; that came out of the blue last year as a random joke, to start. This time around, you’re auctioning off five-minute chunks of the set?
Yeah, everything’s up for grabs so far, save for the last hour. For $100, anyone can buy five minutes, and we’ll make fun of anything they want. It’s happened the last two years, where people will donate an amount of money to have us riff on something, so now we’ve put that up “for sale.”
So somebody donates $400, you’ll spend 20 minutes reading jokes from your writers about, say, Tonka trucks.
That’d be great! But, literally, anything. There’s a brain trust of writers in the room, a lot of very funny and eventually very tired people who will come up with very weird stuff for me to say. There are more than 50 comics and writers signed on for stints, some of who will be doing the full 24 hours.
Some of them will be in town for the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, yeah?
Yeah, we pushed back our start time on Monday to 5 p.m. from 6 p.m., because Sketchfest starts on Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Comedy Bar will need more than an hour to be cleaned and prepped for the shows. It’s not ideal for them, but it’s what’s happening.