Who made Canada's comedians laugh this decade?
Canada’s top comics share their thoughts on who caught their attention over the last ten years.
With the 2010s winding up, we were eager to know as to who made the cut at being able to make Canada's comedians laugh out the loudest! From stand-up comic and CBC Radio host Ali Hassan, to Canadian Comedy Award winner Sandra Battaglini, we asked a few seasoned comedians to tell us which Canadian comedian bowled them over with their accomplishments in comedy during the last decade. Here's their take on their funniest favourites!
"I started comedy in 2006, in Montreal and I was surrounded by a number of super talented people who were at that time just trying to find their voice on stage. In this past decade, many have gone on to really become forces to be reckoned with in the acting world, in commercials and on stage. From my group of peers in particular, Eman El-Husseini, Jess Salomon, John Hastings and DeAnne Smith all come to mind as people who went international at some level."
"You can look up all their websites and see what you want to highlight but I just wanted to show how they went to the USA, UK and Australia, respectively and made names for themselves there. Happy to say that I have also made a little somethin somethin out of myself - I'm quite proud of the work I have done in comedy, acting and on the CBC, given that I came here with pretty much nothing but a family to look after in 2010. And my solo show Muslim Interrupted - that I've been touring for 3 years, which started out in Edinburgh in 2016 - will be a book in 2021!"
Ali Hassan is the host of Laugh Out Loud on CBC Radio. He has performed stand-up on various stages across Canada, USA, and in the Middle East and has acted in several award-winning films. He was also the Lead Comedy Panellist on CBC Television's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.
"I would like to nominate Hunter Collins and Nick Reynoldson. These two comedians are not only extremely talented and veterans at what they do, but they are both very supportive of new comedians and offer to help them."
"Hunter is a creativity factory, who is always coming up with new and brilliant ways to entertain crowds both in person and any media source he can get his hands on."
"Nick is a comedy mastermind who has found a way to convey his personal stories in a way that brings both joy and catharsis to his audience."
Dena Jackson has performed at JFL42, the SheDot Festival, the Guelph Comedy Festival, Gilda's Laughfest and Toronto's Dark Comedy Festival. She is also a TEDx speaker who delivers talks on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness who uses her comedic ability to deliver this message.
"I think I would definitely cast my vote for Rick Mercer. He had the Rick Mercer Report on air as one of the top comedy shows in the country for almost the entirety of the decade ending in 2018 and then to cap off 2019 he did an extremely successful cross Canada tour with an all Canadian lineup."
"Also in 2014, he received The Order of Canada Award. He's an extremely funny comedian with an enormous following that has been an inspiration to so many. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be him."
Ivan Decker is a writer, standup comedian and actor who was most recently accoladed by TBS at the New York Comedy Festival as 'Comic to Watch'. His debut comedy album "I Wanted To be A Dinosaur" won the 2018 JUNO award for "Comedy Album of the Year".
"Dave Merheje needs to be on that list. He has been grinding and working harder at comedy than anybody else and over the past few years it's been heart-warming to see his success."
"His style is incredibly original and it fathered the style to a lot of comics after him. Dave is also very kind and approachable. No matter your level in comedy Dave is always down to offer advice or just crack jokes. He is a living legend!"
Chris Robinson has been performing standup across North America since the last decade. He was chosen as the runner-up at the Homegrown competition at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal in 2016. From thereon he has headlined his own shows at JFL42 Festival in Toronto and has recorded sets for Kevin Hart's LOL network and The Comedy Network.
"Me. And me alone. Just kidding, but for real, it has to be Dave Merheje. A unique voice that has pushed through and become a star on a critically acclaimed show in the USA. Not sure anyone else has done it better."
Gavin Matts was the winner of the SiriusXM Top Comic Competition in 2017 and has since then gone on to be named a TBS 'Comic to Watch' and made his late night debut on CONAN in September 2019. He was roped in by Bill Burr to appear on his new stand-up showcase Bill Burr Presents which is set to air in January 2020 on Comedy Central.
"I would enthusiastically say that Derek Edwards should be on that list. He is our George Carlin. An incredible comedian who literally performs at every theatre in the country. A true genius of the craft who has been working tirelessly for decades making Canadians laugh. Unfortunately Canada hasn't given him the recognition he deserves and this would be the beginning of it."
Sandra Battaligni is a two time recipient of the Canadian Comedy Award for her solo shows Classy Lady and Hard Headed Woman. She started the Canadian Association of Standup Comedians that lobbies for comedians' rights.
"To me, the Canadian comedian of the decade is Chris Locke. The simple answer is because he consistently makes everyone - comics and crowds, laugh harder than anyone. Chris has always been insanely funny but, in my opinion, the combo of his past few years of parenthood plus his persistent touring have brought him to an even higher level of stand up where he's able to articulate his distinctive thoughts to an even broader audience. "
"Watching a Chris Locke set in person is like seeing your favourite psych-rock band live…you get caught up in his groove and have no choice but to rock out with your laugh out, there's no one else like him. As you may have heard before, the industry in Canada often frustrates & neglects too many brilliant comedians. This decade of Chris Locke's work is an inspirational example for so many who are working to bust past the gatekeepers by building their own dedicated audiences show-by-show for people who love comedy."
"On a grander scale the entire Laugh Sabbath collective, where Chris and many other amazing comedians started & still perform at regularly, deserves recognition for their more-than-a-decade of importantly hilarious contributions to the Canadian and North American comedy scene. If you want to go crazy from laughing, go see their shows every Thursday at 9:30 at Comedy Bar or check out Chris' social media to see when he'll be coming to your city so you can see what I mean. Thank you."
Nick Nemeroff has performed at Just For Laughs, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, OddBlock, The Winnipeg Comedy Festival and Comedy Central's Clusterfest. He was voted "Best Newcomer" and "Best Breakout Comic" at the 2017 & 2018 I Heart Jokes Awards in Toronto.