Unless you’ve been hiding in a deep pit over the past little while, you’ve probably noticed that the world is going through a bit of a rough patch lately. It’s not exactly a fertile environment for writing comedy but somehow the mainstage cast of Second City Toronto found laughs during very unfunny times by not shying away from hot topics in their brand spanking new revue, Come What Mayhem!

Starring SC vets Kyle Dooley and Becky Johnson alongside new joiners Roger Bainbridge, Brandon Hackett, Lindsay Mullan and Ann Pornel, the company’s 78th revue is a far grittier affair than the previous The Hotline Always Blings Twice. The audience is greeted with a very impressive graffiti-tagged recreation of the underbelly of the Gardiner Expressway, which is the perfect set for a show that takes on many of the complicated issues your friends are currently arguing about on Facebook.  When the cast creeps onto the stage donning eerie Purge-like masks, it quickly becomes clear that the show is going to be more than 
tame pop culture references and nods to local politics.

We don’t want to totally spoil everything, but here’s a taste of some of the issues the cast and director Carly Heffernan tackle should you decide to turn off the never-ending parade of terribleness of the 24-hour news cycle, and go have a laugh instead.

Body Image

Ann Pornel practically steals the show with two amazing sketches about what it means to be fat in today’s society. Normally we wouldn’t be so frank with using the word “fat”, but a sketch about society’s utter confusion on how to treat anyone overweight has convinced us that it’s okay. In another, Pornel fearlessly follows a very brief striptease by Roger Bainbridge with one of her own that is far more complicated than just taking off pants and unbuttoning a shirt, showing the lengths some women go to shape their bodies.


You ever see those bullying note card videos where teens hold up signs explaining their plight? They’re a very positive addition to the anti-bullying movement, but that doesn’t mean they’re free from ridicule. Kyle Dooley silently takes to the stage to visually tell a bullying story of his own only to have his cards hijacked by a prankster named Chad.


Racial politics are prevalent throughout the show, but two sketches stood out from the pack. One features Lindsay Mullan attempting to seduce husband Brandon Hackett who can’t get his mind off the Black Lives Matter movement and recent racial injustices plaguing city streets. Another finds Dooley and Pornel conversing via Tinder, which gets very hilarious once Pornel encourages him to “talk white” to her, taking the sketch into the realm of white privilege.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms

If you’re not paying close attention, you might think a sketch about an alien having to take a dump at a human restaurant is simply a sketch about an alien having to take a dump at a human restaurant. That’d be totally fine but the show manages makes a comment on the issue of gender-neutral bathrooms amidst a delightfully silly premise thanks to Kyle Dooley’s excellent half naked alien character.


The cast uses a setup of a little girl (Pornel) reporting to her mother (Becky Johnston) that a little boy hit her to make a strong statement about consent and the ridiculous questions and doubt a woman must face after going through a traumatic event.

There’s tons more worth checking out in Come What Mayhem!, including several unnerving weirdo characters from Roger Bainbridge who’s very good at playing unnerving weirdos. It’s now playing at The Second City’s Mercer Street theatre in Toronto so unless you live far away and don’t have any money, go see it!