Comedian Michelle Riutort, whose stage name is Michi, has always been unsure about how people would react to her comedy coming from a Hispanic background.
“Being a minority, being Hispanic, talking about my life as a Hispanic and things that are very Hispanic, you don’t know how the crowd is going to engage with that,” Michi said. “And that’s our job as comedians, to take something so personal and make it relatable. And when you do that, you know people connect with you.”
However, her uncertainty changed at the TESTING: ATTENTION PLEASE! comedy competition when she won first place in the Audience Pick category.
Advertised as “Toronto’s Friendliest Comedy Competition,” the event sponsored by Black Sheep Entertainment took place at Mandy’s Bistro on March 17.
TESTING: ATTENTION PLEASE! takes place every third Friday of the month for new and experienced comedians to come together to perform onstage.
It was conceptualized about four years ago by Cathy MacPherson and Darcia Armstrong, co-founders of Black Sheep Entertainment.
“We kind of wanted to provide a much more inclusive and friendly environment, like something that’s really comedians supporting other comedians and the audience supporting all comedians,” Armstrong said.
Eleven comedians participated in the event headlined by Moe Ismail, an elementary school teacher during the day and a stand-up comedian at night.
Ryan Zeitz won Staff Pick and got a $25 gift certificate courtesy of Mandy’s Bistro and a spot on a Black Sheep Comedy Show.
Michi won a photoshoot with @jovi11photography and $100.
‘The win today was such a big deal for me’
“I’ve been writing for about four months. And you write four months, like five hours a day, eight hours a day to get to five minutes,” Michi said.
She explained how cultural differences can have an impact on how a crowd reacts to your act because every person has a different background, and experiences different things that other cultures may not know about.
Black Sheep Entertainment also organizes several other events throughout the year.
“We do several comedy like anywhere between 30 and 50 events per month now, including trivia, music, bingo, and private and corporate events,” Armstrong said.
To see what events Black Sheep Entertainment is having next, visit www.blacksheepentertainment.ca or www.blacksheepcomedy.ca.
“Whatever it is that you have a feeling to do, just do it. Like, we complicate life so much. And I just think like, God, if I had done this when I wanted to at the beginning, where would I be now, you know?” Michi said.