History

The first Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival was presented in 2005 and was inspired by great Sketchfests in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, and others. Since then, the Festival has grown and changed and moved around town, but we’ve stayed true to our goals of providing a big showcase for sketch comedy and creating opportunities for learning and networking for comedians.

2005

  • The first TOsketchfest was produced over four nights at the Gladstone Hotel.
  • The Festival started with 16 troupes including local favourites The Sketchersons who remain the only troupe to have performed in every TOsketchfest

2006

  • TOsketchfest returned to the Gladstone Hotel growing the Festival lineup to 5 nights and 30 troupes
  • The Toronto Arts Council awards the Festival its first grant
  • The Festival Awards are launched and the first Best of the Fest, Audience Choice and Producers’ Pick award winners are chosen
  • The first Best of the Fest Encore Show is presented at The Second City

2007

  • TOsketchfest moves to the Entertainment District and plays in two venues: The Second City and the Diesel Playhouse
  • The Ontario Arts Council awards the Festival its first grant

2008

  • The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival launches Sketch ComAgeddon, the apocalyptic sketch comedy competition that raises funds for the annual Festival
  • TOsketchfest adds a third venue as Comedy Bar opens and becomes a hub for Toronto’s comedy scene
  • The 48-Hour Video Challenge is launched

2009

  • The Diesel Playhouse shuts its doors and TOsketchfest moves to Theatre Passe Muraille for a year on a glorious theatre stage
  • We welcome headliners Frankenmatt from Los Angeles (Frank Caeti – MadTV and Matt Craig – Saturday Night Live)
  • ‘Some Conditions Apply’ Commercial Parody Contest is launched

2010

  • The Festival puts down roots on the Ossington strip with shows at Lower Ossington Theatre and Comedy Bar
  • Sassy Gay Friend is our headlining act, performing two shows at Second City
  • The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival incorporates as a not-for-profit organization and gets all grown-up and responsible-like with a Board of Directors

 2011

  • The 7th annual TOsketchfest rocked three venues with an all-Canadian headliner series including Picnicface, Two Kids One Hall (Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson) and This is That.
  • TOsketchfest adds a fourth event to the calendar: the annual Sketchiest Sketch Show featuring the winner of the Sketchiest Sketch Troupe Award.

 2012

  • The Best of the Fest Encore Show expands into an Encore Weekend complete with three shows and workshops.
  • TOsketchfest makes the move from November to March.  Technically no festival in 2012, but really we just moved to the spring.

 2013

  • The 8th TOsketchfest kicked Toronto in the pants with record attendance.
  • The festival adds Randolph Theatre to accommodate Headliner performances.
  • Headliners included the Premiere of Kids in the Hall, Bruce McCulloch’s “Young, Drunk Punk,” Michael Ian Black (The State, Stella), Eugene Mirman (Bob’s Burgers) and Kurt Braunohler (Bunk!, Chelsea Lately)

2014

  • The 9th TOsketchfest once again sets attendance records.
  • The festival added the Comedy Bar Cabaret series, and welcomed The Queen Elizabeth Theatre as one of our 4 festival venues.
  • Headliners included The Kids in the Hall performing a staged reading of Brain Candy, the Toronto debut of CBC Radio’s sketch comedy show The Irrelevant Show, and Gavin Crawford in his one-man show, Sh**ting Rainbows.