10 Comics to Watch: The Imponderables

Canadian foursome puts sketch skills to work for MTV

Hannibal Buress | Deon Cole | Lucas Cruikshank | Garfunkel & Oates
Brett Gelman | Chris Gethard | The Imponderables | Kyle Kinane
Chelsea Peretti | Jack Whitehall

The four-man Canadian sketch troupe’s comedy DNA has strong links to such revered ancestors as Monty Python, the Kids in the Hall and “SCTV.” There’s Python’s surrealism and heightened physicality, the Kids’ charisma and energy, and “SCTV’s” carefully honed character development. The result? A comedy mash-up that allows the four childhood friends — Eric Toth, John Smith, Tony Lombardo and David Brennan — to showcase their gift for “silly, random, absurdist comedy,” notes Toth.

The Imps, who recently celebrated their 500th live show, all hail from Hamilton, birthplace of their “SCTV” heroes Martin Short and Eugene Levy. Maybe it’s something in the water? “Yeah, pollution,” deadpans Brennan who, like the others, grew up doing standup. “We all met at high school and then joined forces 10 years ago.”

Touring and building their live act “was our first goal,” adds Toth. “Then a few years ago, we began making our own films and putting them on YouTube.”

Their clever shorts (including Jason Bourne sendup “The Waldo Ultimatum”) and ballsy set at Just for Laughs last year (which involved Smith running onstage naked) got Hollywood’s attention. The troupe have just been signed by MTV to do their own show, “mostly a digital shorts variety show, like the videos we’ve already done,” Brennan says. “It means we’ve had to pull out of (Just for Laughs) Toronto, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for us, especially as MTV’s letting us be us.”

Getting their own show after a decade-long slog through damp basements and ratty clubs is “so exciting,” agrees Toth. “We’re no overnight success, but now it’s all coming together.”