It’s impossible to go too far at Rap Battlez.
The brainchild of brothers Miguel, Freddie and Thomas Rivas, Comedy Bar’s monthly Rap Battlez pits quick wits against each other in a series of rhyming slurs. It’s a comedian’s comedy show, a place to test the limits of insult humour. The battles can be hit-or-miss, and the number of dick jokes seems to increase exponentially each month, but the energy in the room is infectious and hosts Miguel and Freddie (a.k.a. Big Migga and Dext Vocab) work hard to keep the audience engaged.
For all its swagger, Rap Battlez is a quaintly hometown event. Raps are littered with references to local events and people (last month’s highlight had two comics battling as Davenport NDP candidate Andrew Cash and Liberal Mario Silva). Last Friday, newcomer Actual Dracula (a.k.a. The Sketchersons’ Jon Blair) took on Cannabill (a.k.a. fellow Sketcherson Alex Tindal). “They’re trying to track you down, but not ’cause you’re a competent creep,” Blair jabbed, “they’re just trying to find out what stank in Toronto this week.” Blair then used his comedy-writing skills to dismantle Cannabill’s shock tactics: “You just make gross boasts and hope it provokes/ In the ’90s your name was MC Dead Baby Joke.”
Rivalries span over months, rewarding the regulars and enticing first-timers to return. By this show, Rap Battlez’ 14th, almost everyone in the audience was well-versed in the characters and storylines, which may have accounted for sporadic sloppiness. Some performers were quick to break character or apologize for a weak joke, a syndrome that affects too many Toronto comedians. But Kayla Lorette’s commitment to her alter ego, Killerette, set her apart from the other contenders: she pummeled former champ MC Docile (Thomas Rivas). She’ll have to defend her title at the next Rap Battlez on June 3.