RiOT Presents… A Variety Show: In Review

On Tuesday, February 25, Ryerson’s RTA-run comedy troupe RiOT hosted a variety show at The Social Capital. A hop, skip and a jump from Ryerson by subway, The Social Capital (a.k.a. The SoCap) is well-known for hosting a variety of comedic events, including stand-up performances, themed improv nights and sketch competitions. As an RTA student, our RiOT troupe is particularly special, as it’s been Ryerson’s official comedy troupe, helmed by RTA, for 69 years (for reference, Ryerson has been a school for 72 years). For a $7 fee, this show promised a hilarious hour-and-a-half romp for half the price of a movie ticket. 


RiOT’s troupe this year consists of eight very talented individuals. The show’s hosts, Deanna Naccarato and Josh Hendel, are a good pairing, with Josh’s exuberant persona foiled by Deanna’s wonderfully dry delivery. That said, they sometimes seemed to fall out of sync with each other; perhaps stronger planned talking points would give them more to play off of in the future.

The hosts started things off with some light banter before introducing Hwanjoe (“Jojo”), who delivered a short set with topics ranging from his experience with haircuts to the amount of inches he gained in high school (be it his height or…other things). I enjoyed his energy and expressiveness.

He was followed by perhaps my favourite act of the night, Jordan Mason and his hilariously subversive Buzzfeed-style PowerPoint list about “10 Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your First Semester at College.” I won’t spoil the punchlines, but if I had one criticism, it would be that the pattern of the jokes became pretty apparent halfway through. They were still great, but I’d love to have seen him disrupt that pattern.

The other stand-up acts I will group together: Rachel, Pierre and Filip. Each had a very different worldview and comedic angle, with Rachel as the slightly insecure girl-figuring-out-the-world, Pierre as the confident observer, and Filip weaving vulnerabilities with absurdity. The latter set stood out to me, as Filip managed to find fresh humor in the oft-mined area of childhood bullies. 

Another very unique bit was performed by Taylor. She did a musical number featuring ukulele and song: think Adam Sandler’s SNL Hanukkah Song, but about astrology. I applaud the effort that went into the development of this piece, and it had a great pay-off.

Lastly, I should mention the group improv games. The first game, “Sex with me is like…” was quite fun, and I even felt they cut it a bit short. However, improv as a whole felt like this troupe’s weakest suit, at least in this showing. The performers didn’t seem enthusiastic about performing in the final game, and relied on the “lines from a hat” for their comedy, rather than weaving them around scenes they built themselves.

All in all, the RiOT show held a lot of laughs and was more than worth the price of admission. I look forward to their year-end sketch revue at Second City on April 1st. ♦

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