Best of Toronto

Published on November 9th, 2011 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Pat Thornton’s 24 Hours, feat. Smee Diamond Peters

He survived!

For the third year running, Toronto comedian Pat Thornton performed a 24 hour stand-up set at Comedy Bar to raise money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, surpassing his goal of $12,000 raised.

It’s a unique beast, this set. Rather than a solitary stream-of-consciousness Chappelle-style marathon, Thornton enlists a crew of stand-ups and sketch writers to pen jokes for him. These aren’t high-concept pieces that have much potential on any other stage. Instead, the submitted one-liners tend to build on what’s come before them, meme-ish in-jokes that are designed to get laughs from the other sleep-deprived comics in the room.

Metal joke bowl of doom.

As the set goes, the writers take their torn pieces of paper up to the stage and stick their submissions at the bottom of the giant metal bowl. It’ll be gotten to eventually, so as a result, you get subtle callbacks to a joke from an hour earlier and themes that simply never die.

The big meme last year was that actor Kevin Sorbo eats garbage (as a result, he visted Comedy Bar for a weekend of shows, including hosting Sunday Night Live). This year: things Captain Hooks says to Smee, plays on the name Lou Diamond Phillips, things a “cool mouse” would say, and Whoopi Goldberg’s ladybits. (A favorite from the 7am hour: “Whoopi’s **** is so rancid, it was just offered a spot on the VANS Warped Tour.”)

The dumber the better. Adaptations of Russell Peters’s trademark “somebody gonna get a hurt real bad” line was a trend early on Tuesday morning, and at least two of us thought it was perfect to submit “somebody gonna get inert real bad” – Chemistry Teacher Russell Peters.

See? Dumb.

Everything’s annonymous, so nobody is writing with a filter. It kills? You get no credit. It dies? There’s certainly no shame in that — especially after a sleepless night.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is a fantastic cause, and as a writing exercise it really can’t be beat. Can we assume a fourth year is in the cards? And more importantly: how can we get a fictional pirate to host Sunday Night Live?

If you still haven’t donated, you can do so by clicking here.

More photos from the beginning, middle, and end after the jump.

Monday afternoon:

Pat at 5pm Monday, still alert and dapper in the cardigan.

Remember what this stage floor looks like.

Early Tuesday morning:

By contrast, 14 hours of discarded jokes later.

A wild narrative appears!

The pile, from Pat's perspective.

Livestream for BiteTV/Ustream, in the 7am hour.

A Smee joke thought better of?

Tuesday afternoon:

4:30pm Tuesday, and Pat's feet are missing in action.

The writers enjoy the final countdown.

Last-minute submission to the bowl.

Done! Is Pat's girlfriend hugging him, holding him up, or a bit of both?

The feet emerge victorious.

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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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