New to Toronto's comedy scene, Rasmussen is getting ready to show off her signature solo act.
Kirsten Rasmussen has only been in Toronto for a few months, but the Saskatchewan-born comedian, who had spent the last several years plying her trade in Montreal, is already attracting a lot of attention. She’s already joined the cast of local sketch comedy mainstay the Sketchersons, and she’s teaching a class at Second City. Now, she’s getting ready to show Toronto what she does best: one-woman shows. Her new solo sketch show, Tiny Dino and Other Rejects, makes its Toronto debut at Comedy Bar on Wednesday night.
Rasmussen says she first started doing solo sketch—which differs from stand-up in that it’s character based—when she moved to Montreal from Edmonton, where she went to the University of Alberta.
“I’d worked in sketch troupes or duos in Edmonton, but when I moved to Montreal, I was new,” she says. “I needed to get out there, and I didn’t have anyone I really trusted to work with, so I started writing these solo shows.”
Rasmussen says that, while there’s still “a playfulness” to the show, Tiny Dino is essentially about rejection. She only noticed the unifying theme when she was halfway through writing.
“I started workshopping it last year under another name, and was supposed to take it to Toronto Fringe, but I wound up getting a gig in Montreal and stayed there this summer,” she says. “When I started workshopping it again, I realized that it’s all about rejection. I went through a bad break-up last year, so maybe that’s what it is. So it’s about rejection, either break-ups or getting fired, or just not lining up with other people’s beliefs.”
The show’s title comes from one of its sketches, where Rasmussen plays both a toy dinosaur and the executive who has to tell the dino that he’s just not what the kids are looking for any more.
“In my childhood, in the ‘80s, [a plastic dinosaur] would have been an amazing toy,” Rasmussen says. “Now the kids would think it’s stupid. I play the tiny dinosaur and the businessman who rejects the idea because there’s nothing you can do with it. You can’t plug it in, you can’t hook it up to a computer, it doesn’t have WiFi.”
She says that while she loves working with the Sketchersons, Tiny Dino will give Torontonian audiences a chance to get to know her comedic voice a little better.
“It’s been great working with the Sketchersons, but it’s also really different from what I usually do,” she says. “I’ve spent the last three years doing these solo shows, and now I’m in a group with 16 people. I’m excited to showcase the particular brand of comedy that I do. It’s very physical and very silly…I come from a dance and clown background, so that’s just in there in terms of big physical characters.”