Comedian Nicky Nasrallah is funny and he knows it. In fact he’s always known it, even when he was pursuing theatre at the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts.
“In theatre school I always played the comedic character. I was the comic relief,” he said. “I’m very much a character actor.”
Originally from Ottawa, he left his hometown to come to Toronto to pursue theatre, but upon graduation he was tired of the theatre crowd and wanted to explore his comedic talent. He realized his heart just wasn’t in theatre anymore.
“I just hated it and I wasn’t happy there anymore,” he told The Villager.
So he made a career change and with help from a few friendly nudges from friends and colleagues Nasrallah decided to take comedy classes at Second City downtown. According to the King and Dufferin comedian, his classes at Second City taught him when it comes to comedy, his perspective is the best perspective, which was a change of pace for the former theatre actor.
“As a performer you need to be putting your voice out there,” he said.
“So, it’s a huge shift from musical theatre where you’re reading someone else’s script and singing some else’s songs to where I am now, where I’m reaching an audience through my own voice.”
It’s his perspective and comedic talent that got him his newest gig with 2015 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, where comedians from all over Canada will be performing their funniest material.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival, which runs for 11 days from March 5 to 15. TOSketchfest will showcase strictly sketch comedy, which is written, rehearsed and performed by one single comedian or a cast of comedians, similar to Saturday Night Live.
Nasrallah will be doing both a solo and a group performance for his second spin at the TOSketchfest.
“It’s just such an amazing energy around the festival and it’s a great chance to reach an audience that has probably never heard of you,” he said.
His solo performance, which will be the first time he’s done one, will be on March 5 at the Theatre Centre Incubator on Queen Street West and he can’t wait. His he nervous about it?
“Not nervous, no. I’m very excited about it. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and this is the first time I’ve gotten up off my butt and applied to do it,” he said.
“I am mostly concerned about whittling it down to 20 minutes, because there are so many things I want to do.”
He admits the hardest part of this performance will be choosing his favourite performances for his audience, but he does promise wigs, costumes, songs, monologues and plenty of hilarious characters.
He’ll also be involved in a second performance with fellow comedians Gillian Bartolucci, Marshall Lorenzo and Allana Reoch that they produced themselves.
“It’s just four young voices being stupid on stage, which is fun,” he said. “It’s a broad scope of topics, there are some relationships in there, comments on society, things we find ridiculous, dating. It’s all pretty relatable.”
That performance will be on March 11 and 12 at The Theatre Centre at 1115 Queen St. W.
The Parkdale comedian said he still uses a lot of his theatre training during all his performances because they are mostly musical comedies, sketch songs and musical improvisation. He added getting into comedy wasn’t as hard as he thought it would be because the atmosphere is so inviting and friendly. He also likes that as a comedian you create your own work, which is a change of pace from theatre.
“When you’re in theatre you’re waiting to be cast. Whereas, in improve and sketch you’re making your own work,” the 34-year-old comedian said.
“I’ve been producing my own stuff for the past three years and I love it...It’s just been the best three years of my life doing comedy.”
For more information on 2015 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, visit www.torontosketchfest.com
For more information about Nicky Nasrallah, visit http://thenickynetwork.com