Each year we are so excited and proud to announce the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival lineups for live performances and the annual Film Festival. In 2023 we mark a new tradition of also revealing the festival juries in an act of transparency and celebration.
The 2023 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival jury for the Film Festival included
Emeka Agada, Erika Ehler, Lewis G., Gordon Harper, Rabiya Mansoor, Jessika McQueen, Andrea Miller, Rob Michaels, Virginia Woodall, Hillary Yaas, and Anders Yates. This fantastic crew of jury members watched 75 festival submissions to help select the lineup through recommendations and thoughtful group discussions.
Gordon Harper is a theatre, film, and voice actor based out of Toronto. He loves sketch and improv, and always wants to laugh with friends. He prefers spending time with dogs than humans – but can you blame him? Check out Gordon’s short film, Apprenticeship, at his website: www.gordonharper.net. or @gordonharper
Rabiya Mansoor is a Pakistani-Calgarian comedian, writer, actor, producer, and recovering lawyer. Writing credits include: DINO RANCH (CBC/Disney+), STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: BERRY IN THE BIG CITY (Netflix), and POV:ME (ShaftsburyKids). She produced, co-wrote, and co-starred in her troupe’s self-titled sketch show, DON VALLEY GIRLS (Toronto Fringe Patron’s Pick; David Seguin Memorial Award; Why Not Theatre’s RISER Toronto; Buddies in Bad Times Queer Pride Festival). They’re an alum of Second City’s Bob Curry Fellowship for emerging, diverse comedic voices and has performed at the Toronto, Chicago, and Montreal Sketch Comedy Festivals, including as her drag king persona, Amin Yourhouse.
Anders Yates is an actor, writer, improviser and comedian. He has performed in the Toronto Sketchfest both as a solo artist and on numerous occasions with his comedy troupe Uncalled For. His solo sketch comedy work has earned him the Best of the Fest prize at the 2022 Montreal Sketchfest as well as the Critic’s Pick Award for Outstanding Solo Performance from My Entertainment World. He can be seen on stage regularly at Second City and can be seen in film and television much more intermittently.
Rob Michaels is an Iraqi-Canadian writer, actor, and director. He’s written for Roku’s original series Children Ruin Everything, CTV’s Roast Battle Canada, and recently directed his first feature film with Vortex Media. He performs with The Second City and his sketch comedy channel Wishful Genies has accumulated millions of views online via features on Funny Or Die, 9GAG, CBC Comedy, BlogTO, Al Jazeera, and comedy festivals across the continent.
Emeka Agada is an award nominated actor, director and writer most known for playing Dillion James in GlobalTV medical series “Nurses”. He made his screen debut in CBS drama “Ransom” and has since worked both on stage and screen. He is co-creator of digital sketch comedy series, “Black-Smith”.
Lewis.G is an up and coming comedian and comedy writer with a off the cuff style of comedy. He is co-creator of digital sketch comedy series, Black-Smith. When he is not writing or performing, you’ll find Lewis working on cars, racing, snowboarding and just enjoying the thrills of life
Erika’s razor-sharp, dark and visceral writing paired with precise delivery makes her one of the most exciting young comedians on the circuit. She has quickly become a much in demand writer and comedian working on numerous high profile shows. In 2019, she was crowned winner of the Chortle Student Comedy Award, was the recipient of the Mike Craig Comedy Award, and the Hot Water Roast Battle Champion. Erika has also written for Late Night Mash (Dave), Never Mind The Buzzcocks (Sky), Have I Got News For You (BBC1) and Death to 2020 (Netflix).
Hillary Yaas is a multi-award winning stand up, sketch and improv comedy drag queen comedienne. She mixes glamour with camp, but rarely at the same time – and is also her own secretary! A tireless self-producer she has created many LGBTQ+ improv, sketch and comedy shows. Appearing on Season 4 of OutTV’s Camp Wannakiki she placed in the top two 5 times, won 3 talent shows and ended up placing as a RUNNER-UP! She was also honoured to have been Camp Wannkiki’s 1st CANADIAN contestant! Her run on the show including many legendary looks, a truly stand-out stand up comedy set & an effortless campy personality that won her fans from all over the world! SOME PERFORMING CREDITS INCLUDE: Just For Laughs Toronto, The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, Kingston Fringe Festival, Ottawa Fringe Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival, Red Sandcastle Theatre, Comedy Bar, Bad Dog Theatre, Social Capital Theatre, Woody’s & Sailor, Second City Training Centre Toronto, GayAF Comedy Hillary also helps to operate Messy Productions Canada which you can find out more about here: messyproductionscanada.com
Virginia is a producer and all around comedy nerd. Past projects include monthly “Comedy on the Water” shows in partnership with Pirate Life Toronto 2017-2020, “Sincerely, The Rebels Club” (Toronto Fringe, 2019), “PRTNR” (Toronto Fringe, 2018), “She Said Yes” (Toronto Fringe, 2015). She most recently joined the TOsketchfest Team as the Box Office Coordinator!
Jessika is an actor, writer, and sketch comedian. She is 1/3 of sketch troupe Cheap Wine, 1/5 of sketch show “Funny Little Plays”, and possibly 1/1 of sketch comedians whose other work is all pretty twisted coming-of-age thrillers. She’s performed in TO Sketchfest, Montreal Sketchfest, and NYC Sketchfest, and her films have received screenings and awards at various local and international festivals.
Andrea Miller is a stage manager, podcast producer and technician with over 10 years experience in Toronto and the UK. Her extensive stage managing experience includes Second City; over 8 years as an in-house stage manager at the Social Capital Theatre; Dora-award winning productions One Night Only and Tough Jews; three Edinburgh Fringe runs; and many technically ambitious shows as part of the Toronto Fringe including 2018’s Best Comedy winner A 6ix NNNNNN Review from Tallboyz, and 2022’s Best Comedy & Best of Fest winner The Chels Stands Alone from Chelsea Larkin. Over 7 years working with Toronto Sketchfest she has stage managed over 100 sketch shows as well as acting as a webcast producer and technician during the online years of the festival. She really wants to help your tech go smoothly.
Get your tickets to the TOsketchfest Film Festival on Wednesday, March 8 at The Theatre Centre!
The jury for the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival can include alumni of the Festival, and/or those who have lived experience and a deep knowledge of the comedy and film community. The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival will revisit its programming principles and jurying process each year to reflect the needs of the community. TOSketchFest will actively seek to find qualified jurors with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.
The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival thanks all those who have served on the Film Festival jury for the past seven years.