Ryerson graduate Peter Hill is performing at the ninth annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival as part of a duo called Beggar’s Canyon. PHOTO COURTESY TARA NOELLE

Laughing it up at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival

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By Alex Heck    

This week, Ryerson grad Peter Hill will be performing in the Ninth Annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival for his eighth year in a row, as part of a Star Wars inspired duo.

Beggar’s Canyon, a comedy skit duo with long-time friend Ian MacIntyre, is inspired by the scene in Episode IV: A New Hope, when Luke Skywalker is flying over a canyon in the Battle of Yavin. He says “It’ll be just like Beggars Canyon back home!”

Hill says that the pair are trying to ‘out geek’ Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki. The reference, he says, “is a perfectly apt description of our geekiness.”

As Comedy Festival veterans, Hill and MacIntyre have worked together before. Their previous group, Aproximately Three Peters, was part of Hill’s earlier work as a sketch comedian.

Hill studied Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University, and currently works in the television industry. Comedy has always been a hobby for Hill, but after joining the Sketch Comedy Festival, he gained much more recognition for his pastime.

He had always had a knack for performing and even while at Ryerson he was on his way to becoming a comedian. In 2001, Hill performed in Riot, the RTA annual comedy show. He was even mentioned in the Eyeopener for his involvement.

However, after graduating and entering the work force, Hill said he found himself in need of an outlet. Sketch comedy had always sort of stuck, he said, and he decided to explore it further.

He remembers the night that things really began to take off for him in Comedy. He was performing at the Second City theatre in Toronto, in the middle of a snow storm.

“We didn’t think anyone would show,” says Hill. When they started, the curtains drew open across the stage and Hill saw a full crowd cheering him on in the audience.

For Hill, the comedy festival is about putting up good work, and supporting other people professionally. His aim to have an audience walk away thinking that their time and money was well spent.

“You get to create situations and take an audience for a ride,” he said. “You can feel the energy from an audience, and when it goes well it’s a beautiful reciprocal moment of joy.”

Beggar’s Canyon will be performing Mar. 7 and 12 at the Lower Ossington Theatre.

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