Published on July 9th, 2010 | by Sharilyn Johnson


JFL Toronto: Alternative Show feat. Patton Oswalt

On paper, those of us who attended the 9:30 Alternative Show on Thursday night got shorted. Those early-show people got the surprise bonus additions of Noel Fielding and Chris Hardwick! Damn them! Plus, they got a set from Pat Thornton which, by all accounts was absolutely killer. Sigh.

It’s hard to feel too sorry for ourselves, though, because the lineup as-is was damn stellar.

Patton Oswalt does his thing at the Winter Garden Theatre. Photo by Sharilyn Johnson

Andy Kindler approached the mic to commence hosting duties and assured us he “got here at 3 in the afternoon to work on that.” Good to know the festival is still ensuring veteran comics are capable of the most basic aspects of their jobs, a practice David Cross told us about at a gala last year.

We learned a lot through the evening. That Mark Forward is a weird and hilarious individual. That Kindler does a startlingly accurate Todd Barry impression. That at least one member of the audience would happily let Todd Barry crash on his sofa for a while. That TJ Miller can do precisely one magic trick, and that there is such a thing as a “double-sided closed sign”. The man everyone came to see – Patton Oswalt – taught us about the uselessness of moderate fame, the only valid reason for being opposed to gay marriage, and what it’s like to audition for a Kate Hudson rom-com.

Sure, the Winter Garden Theatre lacks the intimacy of its Montreal counterpart (hosted by Kindler every year at the Cabaret), and it was hard to fathom that the shows weren’t sell-outs. But at the end of the day, it was an alt-comedy nerd’s dream come true.

Kindler and Oswalt have jetted out of town already, but Barry can still be seen Saturday night at Yuk Yuk’s and Massey Hall gala hosted by his arch nemesis Louis CK.

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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.

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