Arpita Ghosal is a Toronto-based arts writer. She founded Sesaya in 2004.
My inbox lights up with a press release from Tom Hearn – great! I read it . . . then within a day, there’s another one, but about a different project. I’m surprised when I get a third – again focused on a different project – soon afterwards.
Then again, how surprised am I really? Hearn might just be the busiest comedian around, with a dizzying overlap among shows that he is performing in or producing – or both. Shortly before the Toronto Fringe in July, he created and performed in the Canadian Comedy Award-winning queer sketch revue, A Sketch Comedy Extravaganza Eleganza at the Second City Mainstage. At the Fringe, he produced Gillian Bartolucci’s solo show The Weight of It All and Emily Richardson’s musical It Girls (in which he also appeared in an over-the-top triple-threat turn) – while he concurrently performed in Improv Showdown at The Second City. And that’s not even the full list of current work bearing his creative mark.
The tireless Hearn suffers from chronic inspiration, which makes him as prolific as he is funny. He is currently readying to revive his solo sketch show SLANG with tour stops in Edmonton, Toronto, Charlottetown, Halifax and The Fundy Fringe Festival. Despite juggling these myriad shows, he made time for a brief conversation with SesayArts about all things SLANG, his comedy ideals, and why Big Brother should snap him up.
SLANG is an hour of over-the-top comedy realness! In one hour, I’ve packed my favourite original characters and songs, too much dancing, TWO impressions at least, “Gay Garbage” and even Doug Ford…’cause I just have to. All of the sketches in the show are inspired by queer slang terms like “Daddy”, “Gagged”, “Thirsty”, “Grimm’s Fairy”, and more! Peppered throughout the sketches will be drag performances by local drag talent – here in Toronto it will be my dear pal and one of the biggest drag talents in Toronto: Priyanka! Basically, it’s an hour of pure FUN!
I’ve been extremely blessed this last year! Right now I’m loving A Sketch Comedy Extravaganza. We just finished up a run in Montreal for Just for Laughs / ZOOFEST and will be heading to Prince Edward County for Comedy County in September. It will be the last time we run this edition of the show. I always love playing Hookup at the Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, and Sunday Night Live with The Sketchersons is an absolute treat of a show.
Do I confuse my lines?! I’m a professional! So…yes. I forget lines all the time, but you just keep going. “Just keep going, even if no one is listening” has kinda been my motto for a while.
So so so so so many people who have influenced my comedy: The Kids in The Hall, the cast of MadTV (Stephanie Weir to be specific), The cast of Baroness Von Sketch Show, Rachel Dratch, Jon Early, Tracey Ullman, Gavin Crawford, Bowen Yang, Kate McKinnon, Cole Escola… I could go on forever. If I ever had the chance to perform with Stephanie Weir or Rachel Dratch, I would DIE. They are the funniest sketch comedians I’ve ever seen.
I want to be on Big Brother… I mean I would totally be the first out, but it would be a spectacular 48 hours of DRAMA!
News You Can Use
What: SLANG, Written and Performed by Tom Hearn | Live Music by The Hazard Pay | Drag Performances by Priyanka Love | Dancers: Erica Gellert, Selena Vyle and Gillian Bartolucci | Directed by Kirsten Rasmussen
When: August 1 and 8, 2019, 8 PM; Running Time: 60 minutes
Where: The Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, 875 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON
Info and Tickets: Baddogtheatre.com
© Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya / SesayArts Magazine, 2019