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Big laughs hit London

Erika Faust | Interrobang | Culture | April 11th, 2011



The third annual Big Comedy Go-To festival is bringing giggles, chortles, snorts and belly laughs to the city.

The festival features fantastic sketch, improv, stand-up, musical comedy, monologue and comic theatre from local and international talent.

The shows takes place over the two weekends from April 14 to 23. "It's jam-packed," said Jayson McDonald, the creator of the festival, who will also be performing in it. "The first weekend is primarily local. We have some local mainstays: we have The NO Show, a comedy cabaret, to launch the festival; we've got The Boneyard Man's 100th episode; and we've got a sketch double-bill with Good Game and Vacation Land."

"The idea is to generate some buzz and give people something that they're familiar with to really get people excited for the second weekend, which is when I'll bring in all the national and international acts. It's lots of fun."

McDonald said there is a lot to look forward to over the two weekends. The evening of April 22 is sure to be sidesplitting: that's when the Improv Cage Match takes place. "We take all performers out of their various groups and people who have been in their own shows through the festival, we mix them all up and throw them randomly into groups together. We do improv challenges over the course of the evening and the audience votes out each group until only one remains. It's kind of like Survivor meets Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

The festival will end on a hilariously high note on the evening of April 23. "We have the big one: our stand-up and monologue night." McDonald estimated that he had 12 or 13 comedians coming in from across Canada and the States. "It's at the Black Shire Pub and it sells out every year — get tickets early for that one. That's always a riot."

There will be lots of laughs in the festival, and there is one performance McDonald is especially close to. "I'm very excited about The Boneyard Man's 100th episode," he said. He has been writing and performing The Boneyard Man — a hilarious spoof of 1930s and '40s "radio noir" programs — for 13 years. "That's my child, all grown up. That's going to be good fun."

McDonald purposely scheduled the festival so that it is possible to catch every act. Show prices vary: $10, $15 or pay-what-you-can admission. Advanced tickets for every show are on sale now at the Arts Project (203 Dundas St.). For those hardcore comedy fans, festival passes are available for $50 at the Arts Project, which will get you into every show. Be sure to arrive early to every performance, as festival passes and advanced tickets cannot be used to secure seating.

For a complete list of performers, to view the festival schedule and plan out your weekends or to learn more, visit bigcomedygoto.wetpaint.com.
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