The Underground Comedy Railroad is the first ever all black comedy tour in the country, bringing diverse perspectives to regions who have never experienced this kind of unique cultural event. The comedy tour was created by Rodney Ramsey and Daniel Woodrow in 2012 to create opportunities and introduce the voices of black Canadian comedians to new audiences abroad. Every year a new line-up of incredible comics, including Toronto’s Tamara Shevon, is selected for their hilarious and uniquely Canadian comedic perspectives on everything from race to everyday life.
This February, The Underground Comedy Railroad: Month of the Black Dragon, is a five city stand up comedy tour with eight shows happening from February 3 to 24. Shows will happen in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.
Beginning February 3 with two shows in Toronto, the Underground Comedy Railroad will hit the road with Black comedians from across Canada including tour co-founders Rodney Ramsey and Daniel Woodrow, plus Tamara Shevon, and Keesha Brownie, with special guests Travis Lindsay, Violet Gray, Akeem Hoyte-Charles, Simone Holder, and Peter Bowen. (pssst…we have a pair of tickets to the Toronto show to giveaway! See below)
Comedian Tamara Shevon:
Toronto-based comedian Tamara Shevon started her comedic story-telling through wine-coloured glasses in Bejing, China. Since then, she has been blazing through the Toronto scene with her characteristic wit and her lovable ability to flirt with the boundaries of socially acceptable. Tamara produces and hosts the very popular SOS Comedy Show. Tamara has performed stand-up all over China, Canada, and the United States and was second runner-up in the Beijing Improv Comedy Festival. More recently, Tamara has performed at NXNE and JFL42. In 2018, Tamara toured across Ontario with Shawna Edward for the Irritable & Confused Comedy Tour where she was the only black person at each stop.
We recently chatted with Tamara to learn more…
Congratulations! We learned this is your tenth year of doing stand up! What is your proudest moment on stage to date?
Tamara: Thank you so much! It’s been a wild ride so far. I think that my proudest moment to date was when I released my first album ‘Purse Wine’ and my mom came out to my album release shows. She was always such an advocate of keeping a 9-5 job so when I started leaning more into comedy, she was pretty disappointed because she felt like I was wasting my university degrees.
Despite this, she came to my album release shows to see what I had been putting 8 years of my life into and witnessed me getting 5 applause breaks for my closing set (which had never happened in my career at that point). She got emotional after the shows and told me how proud she was of me. The most important thing she said was that she was wrong for trying to tell me that I shouldn’t pursue my comedy career. Hey, I’ve accumulated a lot of credits through comedy, but no credit has been better than my mom admitting fault, even if that’s the only time I think it will ever happen.
Conversely, Is there a show that didn’t go according to plan but now you can look back on and laugh?
Tamara: I often get hired to do corporate events which is usually an in and out process and you do about 30-40 minutes of material and you’re on your way home. I showed up to this event to do comedy a couple years ago and one of my exes worked for the company and was sitting in the third row. I didn’t even realize it was him until we made eye contact while I was doing a joke about him and our past relationship. It was the most embarrassing and satisfying thing that could have happened to me in a corporate setting especially because we hadn’t seen each other in years.
Surprisingly, the rest of my set went well, and he came up to me after the show and told me that he was the one that requested me to be the comedian for the company event but thought it would be weird if I knew that. There was no bad blood, and he actually thought the jokes were funny but now I do a little extra research every time I get booked for a corporate gig.
Okay, that’s priceless! We also have learned that you first started doing comedy in China! What was that experience like?
Tamara: Starting comedy in China was a surreal experience. I am always so grateful that I got to start my comedy career in foreign country because it really enhanced my ability to develop my observational humour. Everything was different than what I was used to from living in Canada and comedy became a way for me to process what I was experiencing in Beijing, in real time.
I think people appreciated comedy so much in China because it was an outlet for expats to share their experiences of what it was like to live abroad; going to the only weekly comedy show down an alley in the busy streets of Beijing felt like our church.
The audiences were always full, everyone was always excited to laugh, and I got to share stages with some of the funniest people I have ever met from countries all over the world. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
You are about to embark on a month-long cross-Canada tour with the Underground Railroad Comedy Tour. What can people expect from this tour?
Tamara: The Underground Comedy Railroad Tour is celebrating its 12th year this year! The tour follows Black comedians from all over North America as we make stops across major Canadians cities in a series of showcase style shows. This year is particularly special because in addition to shows, we are also recording a compilation comedy album featuring some of the hottest Black comedians right now, so we are really excited about that!
Coming to a show, people can expect an electric lineup of respected headliners all together on the same show which is something that rarely happens. The reality is that we are all usually so busy that we hardly get the chance to all be on the same show together so every year when we tour the energy is unmatched, the audiences are so engaged and supportive, and it feels like a month-long comedy party.
On February 3rd, we have a stacked lineup to kick off the tour featuring Travis Linday from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Violet Gray from Baltimore, Maryland, Rodney Ramsey from Montreal, Quebec, and Daniel Woodrow and myself from Toronto.
Since we are doing a fun night out contest for tickets to this show, please let us know why stand up comedy makes for a great “night out” .
Tamara: Stand up comedy makes for a great night out because seeing a comedy show is fun for everyone in any capacity. Whether it’s a first date, or a birthday, or a catch up with an old friend, comedy shows always put people in a good mood. This show in particular, will be a great night out because it will feel like a celebration and a comedy show all in one. Comedy is such a great stress reliever and a great way to take your mind off the list of things you need to do. Even if it’s just for a couple hours, a comedy show is a great escape and a great way to relax and reset.
Enter for a chance to WIN a pair of tickets to see the Underground Comedy Railroad in Toronto at the Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West) on February 3, 2024!
ON THIS POST: Comment below and tell us why you need a night out!
PRIZE: Two (2) tickets to see the Underground Comedy Railroad Show in Toronto on February 3, 2024 at the 9 pm EST show. This is a 19+ event.
CONTEST CLOSES on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 9pm EST
No purchase necessary to enter or to claim the prize. There is one grand prize available to be won. The prize consists of two (2) tickets general price admission to the Underground Comedy Railroad at the Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West) in Toronto on February 3rd, 2024. Total value of the prize is approximate $44 Canadian. Contest is open to Canadian residents who have reached the age of majority in their province. Enter as often you like. Winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries. Winner will receive an e-mail or direct message from our administrative team that will include information to claim the prize. The prize must be accepted as awarded. Prize DOES NOT include transportation to, or from, the venue. AuburnLane.com and affiliated partners have the right to discontinue this contest at any time. AuburnLane.com and affiliated partners will never ask for any payment information in order to enter or claim any prizing.