The 10th Anniversary of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, running March 5-15, 2015, includes comedians and writers from Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Show with David Letterman, Sunnyside, Young Drunk Punk, and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. But more interestingly, it will also include a number of new and established LGBT comedians.
The big draw this year is the remarkable Kate McKinnon on March 9. McKinnon leapt from The Big Gay Sketch Show to SNL where she is now famous for her Justin Bieber impersonation. But also check out local talents like Nicky Nasrallah. He will perform solo on March 5 and with his troupe Panacea on March 11.
I spoke to Nicky by phone about his upcoming shows and about gay comedy in general. “I don’t approach it as gay comedy, I approach it as my perspective. It’s not sexual – you could bring your mother to this show.” Like a lot of young gay comics, he’s anxious to avoid ghettoization.
I was among the first generation of gay comedians, including Lea DeLaria, Bob Smith, and Scott Thompson. Not only did they have to remind the audience that they were gay, they also had the unenviable task of having to explain things like rimming and fisting to straight audiences. There were lots of walk-outs. I’m jealous of Nicky. He doesn’t have to explain or apologize for anything. He can just go out and be himself.
Up next for Nicky – a Fringe musical called Everyone Loves Marineland, and get this – he also teaches a class in how to dance like Beyonce! (www.thenickynetwork.com)
Other LGBT talent at the festival includes Pop Roulette, Mark Shyzer of Highbräu, Brandon Hackett. Check out www.torontosketchfest.com for the complete schedule and tickets.