The Imposter

Weird art from Canada
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The Imposter



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Jun 30, 2018

Throughout season two of The Imposter, Aliya Pabani has explored the poetics and politics of comedy in her attempt to become a standup comedian. 

She's considered what makes us laugh and why, explored the implications of Improv's "yes, and" philosophy in a time of #MeToo, and asked whether comedy is worth funding as art.

She's also been workshopping her jokes about racism, but the challenge of implicating her audience without losing them has her feeling unsure whether it's possible to make meaningful jokes that are actually funny. Is comedy a tool to placate the masses, or can it be used to cut deep?

In this—very Imposter—final live show, Aliya takes to the Second City stage to perform her final stand-up set in this live-podcast-meets-The-Voice mashup featuring comedy and critical feedback from judges Nick Nemeroff & Brandon Ash-Mohammed, and a live score by Johnny Spence.

Will Aliya bomb or solve racism with jokes? Find out in this final episode of The Imposter

This episode is sponsored by Hello Fresh and Endy

Jun 20, 2018

Born in Philadelphia, Glenn came to McGill in the 60s to study music. He fell in love with Canada, released some albums, sang alongside musicians like Bruce Cockburn, and became a regular on Mr. Dressup.

Recently, his self-released album Keyboard Fantasies was rediscovered. He's since returned to the stage with a new band, pulling music from his extensive catalogue of jazzy folk, classically-influenced soundscapes and electrified negro spirituals.

Now in his 70s, Beverly Glenn-Copeland reflects on some of the moments that shaped his musical path, including his love of Star Trek, a pianistic rivalry with his dad and the experience of moving through the world as a trans man. 


This episode is sponsored by Sonos and Endy

Jun 1, 2018

With less than a month left until her final set on the Second City stage, Aliya realizes that she's not totally sold on standup. So she talks to Sandra Battaglini, a comedian who's petitioning the government to recognize comedy as an art form that's worth funding, and the art duo Life of a Craphead who discuss the evolution of their jokes, from mixing a chemical weapon onstage to dumping a colonial sculpture into the Don River.


Sign a petition to get comedy recognized as art

Buy tickets to The Imposter Presents: The Last Laugh


May 24, 2018

Montreal is home to the backend of the online porn industry, where IT gurus have been running A/B tests on desire. Stories about porn often focus on the morality and the economics of the industry, but we seldom talk about porn as a creative practice.

Esther Splett was fresh out of a creative writing undergrad when she got hired as a script writer for the premium adult film brand, Brazzers. She wanted to write porn that was inspired by her favourite classic genre films, but she found herself spiralling as the high fantasy, performative world of porn permeated her everyday life.

While working on the archives of feminist porn pioneer, Candida Royalle at Harvard, Allie Oops discovered a lifetime of diary entries that allowed her to see a long future in sex work. These days, she collaborates with her friends to make raw, DIY porn out of her Montreal apartment, and she pays them a living wage to do it.

Learn more about Veronica Vera's School for Boys Who Want to be Girls


Sound design on this episode is by Jesse Perlstein

May 3, 2018

Erin Gee created Project H.E.A.R.T; a virtual reality game that uses your emotions to power a holographic pop star, who has to sing for combat soldiers so they don't get too depressed to fight.

Since the early internet, Skawennati's been trying to make sure Indigenous people are present online; from the first Cyber PowWow in a 2D graphical chat room called The Palace, to an island in Second Life where she builds movie sets to reimagine Indigenous histories—and futures.

Visit AbTec Island


Apr 23, 2018
A near-fatal health condition put Annie Koyama out of commission for over a decade. One day, while taking her pain medication, she had an epiphany—someone was making a lot of money selling those meds. Soon, Annie was playing the stock market, turning her savings into a small fortune. 
Once she was on the mend, Annie sought out exciting emerging comic artists and gave them money to publish their first books. Her passion project became a small publishing house, and over the course of 10 years, Koyama Press became one of the most well-respected publishers in indie comics today. 
The concept of "no strings attached" may seem too good to be true, but so is Annie.
Apr 6, 2018

We consume a lot of noise, but we rarely get the opportunity to reflect on how it affects us. This is the third in a series of 5-minute immersive noise meditations by four different artists.

The sonic tone Ut from the Gregorian scale is said to alleviate guilt and free the listener from anxiety and fear. In this meditation, we wallow in Ut. 

James Goddard makes music as Skin Tone

Meditation begins at 2:00. 

Apr 2, 2018

An incident at the bar after improv class makes Aliya question the wisdom of upholding the "yes, and..." mantra at the core of improv, while our culture grapples with issues around consent. 

Aliya asks professional improvisers Kayla LoretteBecky JohnsonAlia Rasul and Ann Pornel what they do when other players' unconscious biases take over the scene. 

Intimacy Director Siobhan Richardson explains how she eliminates the guesswork from onstage love scenes by choreographing them like fight sequences. 


Mar 23, 2018

Affirmation is the key to improv. It's a way to become more spontaneous, creative, and achieve true collaboration. But at a time when Keith Johnstone's foundational text, Impro is also on Peter Thiel's employee reading list, at what point does "yes, and..." become a tool for blind compliance?    

In this episode, Aliya examines three iterations of comedian Chris Locke's joke about going to therapy to understand why improv is the multitool of comedy. After taking an 18-hour improv intensive, Aliya hires four improvisers to improvise her improv class, and Misha Glouberman remembers the days when improv was punk.  




Mar 9, 2018

We consume a lot of noise, but we rarely get the opportunity to reflect on how it affects us. This is the second in series of 5-minute immersive noise meditations by four different artists. Let the noise from this meditation weave together with the noise in your environment; this one’s meant to seep in.       


Jeremy Young makes instrumental and electroacoustic composition for recording and live performance, reel-to-reel tape collage, sound-poetry and audio-visual scoring. Find more here.   


Noise meditation starts at about 1:40. 

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