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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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The best kept secret in music


"Comedy Q&A: 2-Man No-Show - Glenn Sumi"

Comedy Q&A: 2-Man No-Show
Performers, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival
By Glenn Sumi

Let’s be honest – part of 2-Man No-Show’s appeal is purely visual. Isaac Kessler is incredibly tall, Jewish and bearded; Ken Hall is a little guy, WASPy and clean-shaven.

But as they proved last summer in their sold-out Fringe show, their shtick goes beyond the visual to encompass gut-busting bits about music (percussion’s a big part of their act), movies and the singles scene. Hall’s wordless dance with a chair is easily one of the year’s funniest sketches. The pair perform Sunday (November 15) in a Sketch Fest triple bill at Passe Muraille. See listings.

During the Fringe, NOW’s reviewer gave you 5 Ns. Did it go to your heads?

Kessler: If you mean “Do you think about Debbie Fein-Goldbach all day?” then yes.

Hall: NNNNNot at all, GleNNNNN.

If you could go on a double date with two female comics, who’d they be?

Hall: Alana Johnston, because she’s more than both of us can handle.

What’ll you be doing during the Pan Am Games in 2015?

Kessler: Is this a trick way of asking me where I see myself in five years?

Hall: 2-Pan-Am No-Show at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival.

How’d you find the right prop for the chair sketch?

Hall: Lavalife.

Kessler: Auditions were held at Ikea. Ken is never allowed back.

What do you want people to be saying on their way out of your show?

Hall: “Oddville was great!”

Kessler: “That Ken Hall is somethin’ else!” - NOW Magazine - Glenn Sumi

"REVIEW - TimeOut Chicago"

They opened for Toronto’s 2-Man No-Show, one of my favorite groups to perform at the Fest. Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler ran around the tiny stage at Chemically Imbalanced creating madcap scenes that included imagining composer Phillip Glass as a boxer and Ronald McDonald as a murderer. Their acting was physical and first-class, their object work immense and their plot lines outrageous. My favorite moment was the opening scene between a highway patrol officer with a glass eye and snarky guy he pulls over. It was great improv. - TimeOut Chicago - Jason Heidemann


“If David Lynch married Mr. Bean, their love child would look a lot like 2-Man No-Show.
Its stars, Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall, are the oddest couple of the Fringe. Kessler is big and moppy-haired. Hall is tiny and tattooed. Together, they perform an hour of hokey, endearing sketches that highlight the pride they share in their differences.
The show opens with a ventriloquism bit, Hall sitting on Kessler's lap. Then they dance to the song "Hungry Eyes" and pretend they're going on a date together. Eventually, the date morphs into a surprisingly poignant re-creation of the movie Jurassic Park, complete with the John Williams score.
After Hall humped a chair and Kessler pretended to be a clothes hanger, a woman in the audience turned to her friend and asked "What was that?!"
Who cares? All you need to know is that 2-Man No-Show is a truly original, unexpected hour of Fringe fare -- and you should go.”
4 STARS - **** - CBC

"REVIEW - The Torontoist"

“Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler have become bona fide Fringe rock stars. the oddly matched duo have lost none of the madcap energy and absurd wit that made their first show a smash success, and have also stepped it up a notch with their writing. Aware that they'll be judged much more critically this time around, they've put more work into their collaborative scenes (though some solo work, like Hall's follow-up to last year's chair romance, remain highlights). We're confident Hall and Kessler have another hit on their hands.” - The Torontoist - Steve Fisher

"REVIEW - EYE Weekly - 4 STARS"

“From the first sketch to the last, Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler work brilliantly together to ensure a minute doesn’t pass without the audience keeling over in laughter. Although all of the sketches are well executed, the sterling moments come when the focus is on popular entertainment; most notably, Kessler’s five-minute reenactment of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and the duo’s African-drum cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Definitely a Fringe jewel.” - EYE Weekly

"REVIEW - NOW Magazine - 4 STARS"

“Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler's hilarious and physical sketch comedy easily rivals anything currently on late-night TV. Their new batch of comically-weird Looney-Tunes-like setups (Nazi Pinocchio and gay Geppetto, corrupt cops and robbers, Jesus and his Roman executioner) all inevitably end up with Kessler chasing the smaller-sized Hall manically around the stage, but the duo's knack for timing scores big laughs each time.”
4 STARS - **** - NOW Magazine

"REVIEW - Edinburgh Festival Fringe - 4 STARS"

This zany comedy hour is a pleasant relief from the never ending round of men in plaid shirts and jeans talking about masturbation and drinking. Operating under the banner of a vaudeville act this show is vigorous in its execution. Even though the audience on the night I attended was small the duo had every member in fits of laughter throughout.
2-Man- No Show is the vehicle for Canadians Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall and it is one that they charter through surreal terrain. Playing heavily on distinguishable visual characteristics- Kessler is Jewish whilst Hall is of exceptionally diminutive stature. It is certainly a moment not easily forgotten when you see a-not fully- grown man performing cunnilingus on an Ikea chair.
Nineties blockbusters such as Jurassic Park and Total Recall are enacted out to the audiences amazement and bewilderment in equal measures.
This duo also work hard at keeping you entertained and as a reaction to seeing someone hunched over a microphone waiting for the expectant laugh they serve up a cruel but necessary antidote. If you could imagine David Lynch doing a 2 man stand up show it would be a bit like this.
Rife with moments of hilarity, you will find yourself savouring the delicious moments they serve up as a guilty pleasure. - All The Festivals

"INTERVIEW - 8th Annual Charleston Comedy Festival"

The cartoonish antics between Hall and Kessler occasionally resemble those of classic comedy duos like Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy — especially the physical comedy aspect between two different-looking characters.

There's even the verbal sparring and rhythm of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau or the Smothers Brothers. At their most slapstick moments, they come off like such animated duos as Tom and Jerry, Ren and Stimpy, or Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

"When people ask us to describe the show, we have a really hard time with it,” says Hall, whose grimaces and grins can remind some of the devilishly charming comedy of late actor Billy Barty.

“Some people told us they thought it was so vaudevillian, which was something we never intended it to be. Improv is a game that's very unique. We do a lot of character work and things that require a lot of physicality, which helps separate us from other acts."

— T. Ballard Lesemann - Charleston City Paper

"REVIEW - Chicago Tribune"

2-Man No-Show: Composed of Isaac Kessler (tall and cuddly) and Ken Hall (very short and pugnacious), this act specializes in exploiting the physical differences between its performers — who manage a pretty decent parody of the most famous moment from James Cameron's “Titanic,” as well as a bit of amusing business wherein Hall sits on Kessler's shoulders as the pair create uncommonly tall impersonations of short celebrities. There were tighter shows at the festival, but Hall in particular runs himself ragged all over the theater, poking cathartic fun at his own affliction with “a touch of sclerosis” and displaying the kind of restless intelligence, physical curiosity and potent vulnerability that keeps the stakes high and the gags appealing.
— Chris Jones - Chicago Tribune - Chris Jones (Head Theatre Critic)

"REVIEW - NOW Magazine - 5 STARS"

“Imagine Chewbacca paired with a worldly, tattooed version of Opie from Andy Griffith and you get the picture of Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall, who modernize and re-establish the vaudeville revue with unabashed lunacy. They trustingly play off each other in a consistently hilarious and physical act that includes ventriloquism, movie re-enactments, dance routines and musical references from Broadway to Iron Butterfly. Best bits include a blind date scene in which Kessler explains Jurassic Park and Hall’s absurd chair dance to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Changes Everything. Like all great shows, it has a joyous musical finale. One of the year’s funniest!”

5 STARS - *****
- NOW Magazine

"Miscellaneous Quotes"

“Ken and Isaac, as 2-Man No-Show, deliver a unique and unforgettable comedy experience. They have a bold approach to comedy that runs the gamut of style and content keeping the audience fed with hilarious and surprising little treats throughout. These guys are great to work with and loads of fun to watch.”

- Julianne Snepsts (Associate Producer, Second City)

“Ken and Isaac are the future of comedy…”

– Rich Talarico (Writer, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno/MADtv/SNL)
- Second City, Rich Talarico

"REVIEW - Plank Magazine"

“Another duo whom I’d heard quite a bit about, Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler lived up to their reputation in spades. This 2-Man show proved they could go well beyond the 1-note joke of their marked physical disparity (Kessler towers over the impish Hall by at least a couple feet) with a blend of musical comedy and an eerie number of dance sequences. Kessler and Hall had some of the best on-stage chemistry I’ve seen, with a fraternal sort of air between them that really drove their humour home.” - Plank Magazine

"REVIEW - Mooney On Theatre"

“20 thumbs up! Oh, we don’t do thumbs up and even if we did, I only have two thumbs.
Did you see 2-Man No-Show at last year’s Fringe? If you did you’re probably already planning to see 2-Man No-Show-2 this year. If, like me, you didn’t see Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall last year make sure you see them this year.
I’ve seen the show described as vaudeville but I thought it was improv and sketch comedy. Bizarre, absurd premises. Very physical. Very very funny.
Kessler and Hall are brilliant. Not much else to say other than go see the show!" - Mooney On Theatre

"FRONT PAGE of the Charleston Comedy Festival Guide!"

This year’s festival is longer than ever — now five days — and packs more acts into every night than ever before...We’ll also see some acts that are brand-new to Charleston, like Florida’s boundary-pushing Screw You Revue with Wayburn Sassy and Canada’s dynamic duo, the 2-Man No-Show...You can count on most of the shows being suitable for mature teens, but leave the kids at home. - Charleston City Paper



OFFICIAL SELECTION - Comedy Festivals:




Currently one of the hottest Canadian acts around, 2-MAN NO-SHOW has been an Official Selection of the San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Charleston, Chicago, Boston and Toronto Sketch Comedy Festivals.

They have delivered undiluted hilarity on the North American Fringe circuit, performing to sold-out audiences and critical acclaim in New York (FRIGID Audience Choice Award), Montreal, Winnipeg (4 Stars, CBC), and Toronto (5 Stars/ Critic’s & Patron’s Pick). They completed their wildly successful world tour with a full 25-show run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the world’s largest Fringe fest.

2-Man No-Show combines comedy, percussion, character/ sketch, physical theatre, and performance art to create what’s been called a “unique and unforgettable comedy experience. They have a bold approach to comedy, keeping the audience fed with hilarious little treats.”

Nominated for a 2012 Canadian Comedy Award as Best Improv Troupe, and critically acclaimed internationally and across North America, 2-MAN NO-SHOW will astound and amaze!



"Hilarious and physical sketch comedy that easily rivals anything currently on late-night TV" - NOW Magazine, *****

"If David Lynch married Mr. Bean, their love child would look a lot like 2-Man No-Show" – CBC, ****

“Their acting was physical and first-class, their object work immense and their plot lines outrageous” – Time Out Chicago

"2-MAN NO-SHOW’s Ken Hall and Isaac Kessler are the future of comedy…" – Rich Talarico (MadTV/Saturday Night Live)