Here are a few ways to get your cheer on this holiday season.
The holidays are approaching, and festive shows abound, but we’ve decided to look at some comedy and variety acts that aren’t simply slapping a Santa hat on their usual gags. A number of groups across the city have created unique holiday specials featuring music, dance, costumes and more. Several shows start this weekend, and some run right up to the night before the night before Christmas.
A Very Chris-Terical Christmas Cabaret
Buddies In Bad Times Cabaret (12 Alexander Street)
Witty cabaret performer Chris Tsujiuchi is doing his fifth annual Christmas cabaret show. He’s served as musical director of Acting Upstage, appeared in the SummerWorks 2014 concert series Recurring John, and is the only guest performer we know of whose theme song is played when he guest-stars on the Singular Sensation musical theatre night. This year, he has more than a dozen guests lined up for his two-night holiday stand; they’ll help him “defile beloved carols” and keep the audience as ruddy-cheeked as Santa.
Henri Fabergé’s Crisis on St. Creskins
Campbell House Museum (160 Queen Street West)
To quote musician, actor, multi-disciplinary artist, and producer Henri Fabergé on his event’s Facebook page, “Thank Creskins we never get any press for our shows, or they’d all be sold out by now.” The man is not exaggerating: Fabergé’s “punk operas” comprise some of the city’s most exciting under-the-radar performances of the past five years. In Crisis on St. Creskins, recognizable characters from Fabergé’s fictional educational institutions Boyce Naval Academy and the bohemian Hart College come head to head as they celebrate St. Creskins throughout the historic Campbell House Museum with music, comedy, and improv from Kayla Lorrette, Alex Tindal, Tony Ho’s Roger Bainbridge and Miguel Rivas, and special guests Mark Little, Chris Locke, Tasseomancy, and DIANA’s Carmen Elle.
Judy & Igby’s Christmas Camp: A Christmas Cabaret
House of Filth
Drake Underground (1150 Queen Street West)
It’s important not to go overboard with wholesome Yuletide cheer. Thankfully, there will be none of that at Judy & Igby’s Christmas Camp. To make sure you get your fill of naughty before you have to be nice, the House of Filth (Judy Virago, Nancy Bocock, Igby Lizzard, and Allysin Chaynes) is super-sizing their usual weekly cabaret night with more drag, burlesque, and holiday-themed wordplay than you could ever hope for.
Kosher Jokes for the Halaladays
Eman El-Husseini, Jessica Salomon, Faisal Butt, and Alex Nussbaum
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
A few years back, comedians Eman El-Husseini and Jessica Salomon decided to create a night of laughs featuring stand-up from Jewish and Muslim comics. Now Kosher Laughs for the Halaladays is returning to Comedy Bar for a fourth time, where it will be hosted by Sirius XM’s 2014 Next Top Comic winner Faisal Butt and Toronto comic Alex Nussbaum.
The Sugarplum Soiree
Wayne Jones and Matty Burns
Bad Dog Comedy Theatre (875 Bloor Street West)
Producers Wayne Jones and Matty Burns have organized this comedy filled evening as a fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Toronto. A third of every ticket goes to the cancer support charity; the rest pays for appetizers from the Food Dudes, beer from Steam Whistle, a prize draw, improv from White Rhino and This Is the Worst, and a guest appearance by recent Now cover boy Mark Little.
Sharron & George’s Superfun Christmas Sing-A-Long
Sharron Matthews and George Massawohl
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street)
Toronto-based, internationally known cabaret superstars Sharron Matthews and George Massawohl are back with their annual holiday singalong, plus a cookie table, tacky sweaters, special guests, song sheets, and a food donation box. Tickets sold out well in advance the past two years, so this year, they’ve added a third night. (Mind you, that may just mean lots of fans going multiple nights.)
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
Long time sketch partners and best pals Lauren Ash (ABC’s Super Fun Night) and Leslie Seiler (Super Channel’s 24 Hour Rental), who premiered together on the Second City main stage, are both in Toronto for the holidays, and they’re debuting a holiday-specific revue with all new sketches, over two nights. Their 2013 Cory! show TMI was on Now‘s top-10 comedy show list, and the duo have dreamed of doing a holiday show for years. Don’t expect it to be appropriate for the whole family, though—this is still the same pair who disrobed for a bath-time sketch at the SheDot Festival last year.