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10 Comedians Who Got Their Start in Toronto

August 15, 2017 by Anne Berkowitz
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Toronto is home to some of the greatest artists in the world. From world-class singers, actors, writers, painters and more, Toronto has proven to be a hotbed for creativity. It’s no surprise that some of the funniest people in the world hail from the large Canadian city. Here are some of our favorite comedians who call Toronto home or who got their start in Hog Town. Be sure to check out all the shows available for no fee during Comedy Month on TodayTix like Catch 23 and Sunday Night Live at Comedy Bar!

1. Catherine O’Hara

This legendary actor and comedian was born and raised in Toronto and also began her comedy training at Second City’s Toronto branch. O’Hara is arguably best known for her work in some of Christopher Guest’s most beloved movies, Home Alone, the television series Schitt’s Creek, and for starring in perhaps one of the funniest scenes in cinematic history. O’Hara holds a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

2. Jim Carrey

You may know him better as the Grinch, Bruce Almighty, the Mask, or as another character from one of his many other iconic film roles. While Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario, he began working as a comedian in Toronto as a teenager. His first gig was at the now-infamous comedy club Yuk Yuk’s.

3. DeAnne Smith

Smith is a Canadian/American comic who is a hit on both sides of the border. She often makes fun of how her hair-do makes her resemble fellow Canadian Justin Bieber. Smith has toured the world with her groundbreaking comedy but has settled down in Toronto, where she is a JFL42 regular.

4. Mike Myers

The star of Austin Powers, Shrek, and Wayne’s World grew up in the North York and Scarborough districts of suburban Toronto. He attended both the Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute and the Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute. Myers is a huge fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and even named two characters in the first Austin Powers movie after two of his favorite players.

5. Steph Tolev

This brash, absurd Toronto native has been making waves in the stand-up and sketch scene in Canada and abroad for the past few years. Tolev was featured at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, their TV Gala, was one of the 42 in Just For Laughs 42, and took part in the Homegrown competition as well. She’s also taped a TV set for CBC.

6. Samantha Bee

While Bee is one of the hottest comedians, television hosts, and political voices in the United States right now, she actually is a Toronto native. Bee attended the Humberside Collegiate Institute, the York Memorial Collegiate Institute, and has said she discovered her love of performing at the George Brown Theatre School. Bee was also one of the founders of the all-women, Toronto-based sketch comedy troupe The Atomic Fireballs. 

7. John Candy

This beloved Canadian comedy icon was a member of the Second City in Toronto. Candy then gained popularity when he became a cast member on the Toronto-based variety show Second City Television (SCTV). He is probably best known for his starring roles in the classic movies Splash and Uncle Buck.

8. Eugene Levy

This comedy legend met his frequent collaborator and current Schitt’s Creek co-star Catherine O’Hara over 40 years ago when they were budding comedians at Toronto’s Second City. The strange and wonderful Levy has been appointed to the Order of Canada and also received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Canada’s highest honor in the performing arts.

9. Aisha Alfa

Born in Nigeria, raised in Canada, Alfa is proving to be one of the fastest-rising talents of Toroto. She performs at clubs across Canada including at Just For Laughs, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and the Winnipeg Improv Festival. Alfa recently won “Winnipeg’s Funniest Person with a Day Job Award” and was one of the top five Winnipeg finalists for “Canada’s Next Top Comic.”

10. Lorne Michaels

While not best known for his comedy chops (though he has at times worked as a comedian), we had to give a shout-out to one of the greatest legends in the comedy world who was raised in the great city of Toronto. Writer, producer, and casting director Lorne Michaels is one of the co-creators of Saturday Night Live, which has helped and continues to help launch the careers of some of the world’s most beloved comedians.

Don’t miss the best of Toronto comedy during TodayTix’s no-fee Comedy Month!