Do you like stories about eating discarded food, poop jokes, and tales of scandal and titillation? Of course you do; you’re human. These stories connect us through a shared sense of embarrassment and guilty pleasure. It is this awkward space that Steph Tolev’s comedy so effortlessly inhabits. It pushes boundaries both in its audacity and its social acceptability, and Tolev would have it no other way.
“To be honest, it’s just what comes natural,” said Tolev. “All the stories I tell are real and they actually happened to me.”
Tolev will be bringing her flavour of honest comedy to Pour Boy’s cozy upstairs venue this Sunday the 8th. The intimate setting will allow audience members an up-close-and-personal look at her life, with stories that span the nature of love, the 5-second rule, and various varieties of toilet-related functions. It’s an unusual venue for Tolev, whose career began in the mean streets of Toronto, Ontario.
Like many comedians, she didn’t initially intend to end up in comedy. Her route to the solo stage was marked with detours. After a long time spent in the world of highland dance competition, she made her way towards the lofty heights of the theatre stage.
“I tried to get into a couple theatres schools and didn’t get accepted,” said Tolev, “so I guess I’m funny now.”
She began to make people laugh for money in drinking establishments and comedy clubs. Soon, Toronto began to take notice, and the rest of the country followed, as is custom. In 2015, Tolev became the winner of the Female Comedian of the Year via the Canadian Comedy Awards. Soon, sensing that stardom was close, she moved to LA, the land where all dreams go to flourish and prosper, and found herself playing larger clubs than the likes of the Daily Grind, at which she played before it’s untimely demise.
But Steph Tolev is back for a tour of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and of course Edmonton. She’ll be challenging everyone’s boundaries, but especially those of women, according to Tolev. The role of the female comedian has never been a particularly simple one and Tolev has experienced some blowback at the hands of her own gender.
“People just automatically assume women aren’t funny,” she said, “and the worst are usually women themselves.”
Tolev says that women and men will approach her backstage to point out that she is funny “for a woman.” Her philosophy is to just do the best job she can and ignore this kind of bunkum, saying: “In the end if you’re funny that’s all that really matters.”
And in the end, that’s really all the Pour Boy audience will care about. And with backers such as Matt Watson of European Comedy Tour fame, Ashley Krawchenko of Just For Laughs notoriety, and Ben Hagel who won Best Newcomer of 2015, Tolev will have great backing for a show that is sure to bend at least the fabric of reality.
Steph Tolev is playing Pour Boy (upstairs, 495 Somerset) on Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 7pm. For more info, check out the Facebook event. Tickets are $15 at the door.