Toronto comedian fined for hosting socially distanced outdoor comedy event

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Did you hear the one about a comedy concert that entertained hundreds of people, but infuriated bylaw officers…? 

Well, unfortunately, it’s no joke.

Indeed, welcome to the City of Toronto, where having fun is strictly prohibited under penalty of law during these dark days of the Wuhan virus.

Just ask Ben Bankas, a Toronto-based professional stand-up comedian. He decided to give back to the community via spreading some mirth and merriment by staging comedy concerts at Christie Pits Park while the comedy clubs remain in lockdown mode.

The concerts attracted a few hundred people (all of whom practiced social distancing) and they had a good time laughing it up.

But a couple of City of Toronto bylaw officers were not amused. They dropped by the park too, not to take in the show but to tell Bankas that such a gathering was strictly verboten.

Too bad the comedians hadn’t branded their comedy fest as a Black Lives Matter protest  then the bylaw officers would’ve probably offered to buy everyone ice cream. But I digress…

In any event, Bankas and company were told to vamoose – or else. That’s not the sort of ultimatum you want to make of comedians, who instead openly mocked the bylaw officers.

Being the butt of several jokes, the bylaw officers were royally triggered and called in the real police for back up. When those cops dropped by, Bankas says they took in the show, had some laughs along with the crowd, and then promptly left, leaving the bylaw officers “beyond humiliated.”

Still, hell has no fury than a bylaw officer scorned!

That’s because the bylaw cops slammed Bankas with three tickets totalling about $2,000 (yes, one being that dreaded $880 Wuhan virus ticket). Just for telling jokes in a park!

Well, as the saying goes: the show must go on. And on it will go, just at different parks in Toronto.

In the meantime, we must ask: how downright cowardly is it for Toronto bylaw to issue tickets to people who are merely trying to make people laugh in these oh-so-unfunny times?

And why do they continue to turn a blind eye to certain demonstrations that are rife with violence and vandalism? Yes, why indeed?

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  • By Ezra Levant


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