Live Show Recaps

Published on November 21st, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Todd Barry: man of 4,000 faces

Todd Barry in Toronto. Photo by Sharilyn Johnson

Todd Barry in Toronto. Photo by Sharilyn Johnson

See Todd Barry.

See Todd Barry come to Toronto.

See Todd Barry kill.

Kill, Todd, kill.

If you’re like me – and if you’re reading this – you’re a pretty jaded comedy fan. I don’t laugh a lot, opting more often to sit back and muse “that was very funny”. That went completely out the window. At the halfway point, I had to halt consumption of my pint of beer, for fear that it would have come back out the same way it came in. Although had I puked on Todd’s shoes, it would have been a nice call-back to my favourite bit of the night about audience members accusing him of “planning” obviously unplanned moments in the the crowd (thankfully, there were no belligerent 30-member bachelorette parties anywhere to be seen)

My dear friend Catherine, who was alongside me in the front row due to my picture takin’ purposes, ended up getting to know Todd quite well during a lengthy back-and-forth, due fully to Todd’s inexplicable (even to him) desire to ask her questions. He discovered that they attended the same college in Florida, and ended up inviting the entire crowd to her apartment above the venue to drink her fridge full of beer. (The party with the mini-keg of Heineken is actually tonight. You’re are all invited. We’ll try to keep it down while the show’s on.).

He did exactly an hour and was brought back out on stage for an encore, capping things off with his tale of a Swedish fan’s usage of the word “boundaryless”. Love that bit.

Afterwards, Todd said something that I’ve heard multiple times from New Yorkers performing in Toronto: that the crowd was polite, but that it wasn’t seriously rocking. I disagree. While it’s fair to suspect he was just being modest, I think the reality is that Torontonians truly are the coldhearted dicks that the rest of Canada says we are. (But we’re coldhearted dicks who love Todd Barry, so that has to redeem us a bit).

If you’re in Toronto, a few tickets might still be available for tonight’s shows, so call Comedy Bar at 647-898-5324 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              647-898-5324      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and beg.

At one point in the show, Todd feigned anger at me for taking “four thousand photos” and did an impression of the difference (or lack thereof) between 2 back-to-back shots. Which was startlingly accurate, and why you’re only seeing 10 of the 55 frames under the cut:

(I should probably amend my “Interview Tips for Comedians” post with a note that “if you know a photographer is going to be there, and they’re purposely trying to only click the shutter on the laughs, don’t make things even more awkward for them”. This was happening when I started shooting comics 12 years ago. And it’s never once dawned on anyone that they just answered “yes” to the hacky heckler retort of do-I-come-to-your-job and do-such-and-such-to-interfere. Let’s both do our work and be happy, k?)

Tags: ,

About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

3 Responses to Todd Barry: man of 4,000 faces

  1. Debi Rotmil says:

    Another comment for me. Two in one day. But this just caught my attention. I can never ever get away with taking pictures because places like UCB (where I frequent) or the NY Comedy Festival will wrestle you to the floor if they see you with a camera in your hand (unless it’s the DCM summer festival of improv love – then UCB loosen their rules. It’s where I learned the art of snapping shots during the laughs), but how does one gain permission to take photos at an event? Will the press office be nice to a lowly blogger such as I?

  2. Sharilyn says:

    You get a feel for when you need to get an official photo pass and when you don’t. It all depends on the venue and the show. I started out shooting bands, and in that case I always needed a photo pass for whatever show I was shooting. That’s the case still with most theatre shows — I needed a pass for the Just For Laughs Toronto shows, for instance. Those crappy shots at the Paley panels this year (NY Comedy Festival) required a dozen emails back and forth to get “access” to a 30-second photo op that technically everyone had access to.

    If it’s something you know everyone and their dog will have a camera at, and there’s no venue rule, generally you don’t have to worry as a long as you’re not bothering anyone.

    If the event has a publicist, I email and introduce myself a few weeks in advance. I generally link to my blog (if relevant) and to samples of my work. If they see you’re legit, they’re happy to work with you. The last thing a publicist wants is for you to show up with a p&s camera and a flash.

    Oy, don’t get me started on the UCB and photography. But funny you should mention the rule-loosening. That’s all I’ll say. =)

  3. Debi Rotmil says:

    Thanks Sharilyn! Some great tips there. I’d like to get some exclusive photo ops, so I’ll see if I can get on the ball with that. (I should PM you about the UCB press person.)

    I know about your DCM situation, having read it on your blog. What a shame that happened. I’d love to see all those pictures you took. I’m hoping to get a press pass for next year. It would be terrific to get more exclusivity in those venues so I can witness, photograph and write about more events rather than wait outside online. (I’m going to have to pick your brain on that one. ;-)

Back to Top ↑
  • The Colbert Report A-Z

    Third Beat editor Sharilyn Johnson presents this ultimate unofficial fan guide to The Colbert Report, available now from!