HUNKS Comedy (Rory Fallis, Tim Gray, Matt Nightingale, and Dana Smith), a troupe based in Winnipeg, currently hosts Skit Or Die—a weekly livestream of collected sketches. The first episode, which aired on March 28th, is available on their YouTube Channel along with their other content. Their most recent livestream (April 4th) was cut short due to some technical difficulties.
The basic shape of their stream is pretty familiar to anyone who has been struggling through Zoom video conferencing. As hosts, their casual banter is a little awkward and meandering. I imagine they are playing to an established audience who know them and immediately appreciate their individual personalities and group dynamic.
The concept of the show is solid enough—a showcase of local sketch comedy from comedians struggling to create and distribute content while venues are closed. Some entries have higher production values than others, but even some of the low-tech bits suitably convey the intention of the artists.
Here are some selected highlights:
Benji Rothman’s The Curling Bachelor is pretty slick. The team at Folks Films do a fine job of recreating the tone and aesthetic of The Bachelor and there are some compelling performances. The overall concept really isn’t any more sophisticated than The Bachelor, but curling! The payoff is underwhelming.
I quite enjoyed Brunch Comedy’s YouTube Shipping Challenge, a send up of YouTube tutorials, challenges and unboxing videos—right down to the relentless hashtags and generic public domain music track. As the situation spirals into madness, the concept really takes off.
Pat Thornton’s absurdist phone conversation (performed with Rodrigo Fernadez-Stoll) during pandemic isolation is pretty simple yet bizarre enough to be oddly satisfying.
My one, super intense laugh out loud moment was courtesy of Devin Mackenzie from Hip.Bang! His hilarious grant proposal presentation for dog rights makes brilliant use of stock photo images and clever writing.
Browsing their posted videos, HUNKS Comedy themselves don’t always speak to me. What appealed most were the spoofs of commercials and tourisms ads—their Amazing Facts series and Insecure Truck Commercial are understated yet spot on. Christmas Carols Gone Wrong is another favourite—a premise that seems rather lame at first, but becomes increasingly absurdist, dark, and by the end, really pays off.
Skit Or Die is a great way to keep up with content from some of your favourite Canadian comedians or discover artists not yet on your radar. Below the posted episodes, there is a list of the showcased acts and links to their social media accounts. As a virtual talent hub, the series is a useful resource.
If you’re craving some local sketch comedy, tune into Skit Or Die Saturdays at 9pm CST (10pm for those in the GTA).