Nick Swardson JFL42, Toronto ON, September 21
Published Sep 22, 2018Forty-one years old, unmarried and still wearing a brightly coloured backwards baseball hat that says "69," Nick Swardson is a proud man-child. On the plus side, he's relatable, he's got some wild stories, and he's not afraid to deliver his comedy with every ounce of goofy, loud energy he's got.
Having said that, his Peter Pan Syndrome wasn't always a good thing: Swardson immaturely decided to hire his opener based on friendship as opposed to funniness, and it threw the beginning of the show off track.
Barry Sobel pretty much bombed. His joke about how the Harvey Weinstein trial was a "he vs. she she she she she she she said" debate was cleverly funny, as was his line about how truly boring Ottawa is. Having said that, everything else was cringe-worthy. Sobel mentioned that Drake was from Toronto, then got annoyed that we weren't impressed or excited by the fact that he knew that. He nervously told the crowd "This is your show!" and repeatedly asked us cheer for no reason, as if it was our job to make the show fun and entertain ourselves instead of his. Worst of all, Sobel had a bit of a weird breakdown where he swore repeatedly out of anxiety rather than for emphasis, then desperately declared "These are jokes!" to almost no reaction.
Swardson's choice of opener was a shot in the foot, but one that he was able to recover from. With tales about playing Terry on Reno 911!, using a water gun to spray drunk people in the face with pee, and finding out that his grandmother went to his R-rated stoner film Grandma's Boy with completely inaccurate expectations, Swardson was the entertainingly juvenile working-class comedy star the audience wanted. He also offered some smarter but equally energetic material about being in his 40s, his genuine fear of magicians and why it's ok to be afraid of rollercoasters.