JFL42 starts today in Toronto, bringing several of the world’s best comedians together under one airspace for some major laughs. Some of the 42 acts won’t have to travel that far because they already live here and therefore won’t be bothering everyone by asking why they can’t buy beer at convenience stores. Along with Canadian powerhouses like Mark Forward, Debra DiGiovanni and Last Comic Standing standout DeAnne Smith, here are some local acts that you should definitely pencil into your smartphone:


Mantown’s monthly improv show at Comedy Bar always draws a huge crowd and it isn’t just because the troupe is made up of four hunks. Each hunk is a very accomplished improviser with several accolades between them (including the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Improv Troupe) and their energy and chemistry together makes for a beer-drenched night of unpredictable lunacy. If you’ve never seen a good improv show before, this might be the one for you.  

New Faces

New Faces gives both stand-ups and character comedians a chance to show their faces off to big crowds while you; the audience gets a smorgasbord of local talent to check out. Both the character and stand-up showcases have two shows each so make sure you take the opportunity to see the next generation of stars. 

Matt O’Brien and Christina Walkinshaw

Speaking of Top Comic, Matt O’Brien won the contest a couple years back along with Best Standup award at the LA Comedy Festival and has since appeared at Just For Laughs in Montreal and worked all over the place. The other half of this co-headlining bill is Christina Walkinshaw whose wildly popular Tinder blog is a hilarious look into the new world of app-based dating.

Graham Kay and Sara Hennessey

Graham won the 2013 Just For Laughs Homegrown competition and was described by NOW Magazine as “a definite act to follow, [who] has mastered the art of sarcasm”. Why not follow him all over JFL42 and watch his co-headling show with Sara Hennessey? Hennessey is a Toronto favourite who won a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-Up and been on TV a million (or so) times. If you go see her you will likely fall in love so be careful.  

Tony Ho

There aren’t any sketch troupes quite like Tony Ho. The Toronto threesome of Miguel Rivas, 
Adam Niebergall and Roger Bainbridge find humour in the darker corners of life and have produced a slew of incredibly shot short films that will leave you laughing and uncomfortable.

DJ Demers

DJ won the 2014 Just For Laughs Homegrown Comedy Competition so unless the contest was rigged, he’s a guaranteed good bet if you’re looking to catch some amazing Canadian comedy.

Bad Dog Theatre Co. 

The Bad Dog Theatre Company recently opened a brand new space in Toronto and JFL42 is the perfect opportunity to not only show off the new digs, but also their improv chops. The company will be presenting the BDRP THROWDOWN featuring their repertory players being challenged by the audience and each other to perform feats of improv mastery. 

Top Comic

Canada’s Top Comic will be crowned during JFL42 following the big finale show that will feature sets from all eight finalists and one from headliner Jon Dore. With $15,000 at stake, these comics will be going for broke to avoid being broke and Torontoians can go cheer on local favourite, Pat Thornton:

Vancouver – Darcy Michael
Edmonton –  Dan Taylor
Winnipeg – Chantel Marostica
Hamilton –  Tom O’Donnell
Toronto –  Pat Thornton
Ottawa – Adrian Cronk
Montreal – Faisal Butt
St. John’s – Steve Coombs

Grab your JFL42 pass NOW!