Thank you and congrats
to each and every one of our Finalists
for bringing your best to the big stage on
Sunday October 23rd, 2022
at our first ever
Rising Stars of Toronto Talent Competition

Here are the final results of
The Final Show-Off


rand Prize Winner


Sweet Prize Winner


Cool Prize Winner



You deserve a special mention for impressing the audience with your memorable performances enough to come in close, right behind the Top 3.





After a hard Summer of competition, all confirmed Finalists gathered at The Don on Danforth on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23rd to vie for their rightful spot(s) on Starlit Variety Showcase* (new date tba). Congratulations to all on a fantastic Finals featuring fabulous highly memorable performances from every act.











(*Producer's Pick Wildcard Finalists)



Abhi Pamnani

Stand-Up Comedy

According to Abhi, he is the average joe trying to live a not so average life by exploring all the things he possibly can. His passion for comedy stems from his innate desire of seeing people have a good time and take a break from the stress of every day life. When he is not on stage, you can find him on the tennis court, on a hike or just being a homebody binge watching series with his dog and girlfriend and maybe eating a little more junk food then he should. He believes we all get one shot at life and should make the best out it by doing things we love and surrounding ourselves with the right people. Abhi doesn’t know if he should be the next rising star, that’s for all of you to decide. But he knows that for the next few minutes on stage, he is going to have the time of his life with all of you and hopes you will too 😊


Amanda Custodio

Stand-Up Comedy

I have a background in theatre, did it for ten years and I hold a degree in theatre and English. I work at a restaurant part-time, I am of Portuguese descent, I’m also an actor, I raised my younger brother. I like to read and watch TV lmao


Amy Yu

Stand-Up Comedy

Once a depressed accountant, I came upon stand-up comedy by accident in 2020, and got addicted to making people laugh ever since my Second City graduation. I believe joy is a very wonderful emotion that reminds people why life is worth living, and stand-up comedy is a powerful art that turns the pains, struggles and "fuck-ups" in life into something that spark joy. I want to uplift as many people as possible through laughter, because doing comedy has saved & changed my own life during my lowest times.

In addition, as a cultural hybrid growing up in both China and Canada, I perform standup comedy in both Mandarin and English. In my act, I try to share perspectives on mental health, intergenerational differences, career choices and immigrant life to bridge cultural and generational gaps.

When I'm not performing on stage, I'm a CPA-turned-techie (product manager in tech). I also produce an international online comedy show called Asian Wonder Women to celebrate Asian female/nonbinary comedy talent from around the world.


Andy Wong

Stand-Up Comedy

Andy loves performing, and use to treat his work presentations as open mics until his boss told him his jokes were too distracting. He is inspired by storytellers and artists who are able to see more than meets the eye, while Andy only thinks beautiful paintings would make great screensavers. He is a rising star, however, from his unique perspective as a first generation Canadian who speaks about his struggles with conflicting values and identities - especially during the Olympics!

Ben Lam

Stand-Up Comedy

I started doing standup casually in 2019 right before COVID and fell in love with the thrill and rush of being on stage and making people laugh. Some zoom show experience but that’s just not the same as in person energy! When not performing I’m playing competitive scrabble, very amateur golf and even more amateur card magic. I was never allowed as a child pursue these creative avenues because my parents would have laughed me out of the room and not in a good way!

Miss Chris L

Stand-Up Comedy

"I could have been an actress but I wound up here." I always enjoyed performing and did some acting in my younger years, having attended Etobicoke School of the Arts, I thought I was on my way. Life happened and that included being banned from a comedy club for heckling as a young adult. Now I'm back and with much encouragement and multiple supporters I enrolled at Second City to study Stand up. Now I want to use this platform to share my craft, and my story to inspire, encourage, and give hope to others. I also enjoy making people laugh. It's never too late to live your dreams!




I'm a string orchestra high school teacher who has finally pursued my love of singing during covid time. I auditioned and made it into one of the largest a cappella choirs in Toronto, I"m currently learning congas, guitar, vocal and advanced violin and jazz piano. I am also currently in a band for the first time in my life where I sing, play, congas and violin with all members being much younger than I am. I live and breathe music and love performing because it makes me happy and allows me to share my passion for music with others. Music is the universal language that connects us all. Performing at this point in my life will inspire others music lovers by sending a message that it is never too late no matter your age or abilities to pursue your passions! As for being the next rising star, that would be a bonus, however, I do this for joyful experience I get while on stage and to make myself and others happy. I would say the reason I should be the next rising star is that I am multi-talented, creative, driven, and my goal is to share my stories, emotions, knowledge and love for life through my music.


Edworld B Kim

Stand-Up Comedy

It makes me feel alive, I knew it will be the thing I was going to do for the rest of my life when I first saw Kevin Hart special. What inspires me the most is happiness.I've experienced and seen many people including myself, we've already had enough things in our lives but we keep pursuing something not to make ourselves happy, like more money, more people, more of something, whatever that is.

I truly believe if we make decision to make ourselves happy, more and more good things will come to our lives, including money. That's why I'm doing Comedy, which not only makes me happy but also makes other people happy. and I want them to have happy lives as much as I want.

That's why I am doing COMEDY.


Mickey Dykeman

Stand-Up Comedy

I have been on stage my entire life. Growing up the trans, gay, oddball, priests kid in a rural Ontario town, performing was a way for me to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. During my time at film school I fell in love with writing, specifically comedy, and specialized in screenplay writing. When I found stand-up it was a collision of my favorite things and I've been hooked ever since. I feel like I have found my place in the artistic community. Being able to make people laugh is a tremendously joyful and fulfilling process. I am a radically optimistic, punch-up comic. The human equivalent of a golden retriever, my stand-up is high-energy and gleefully mischievous. My material leans more towards self-awareness than self-deprecation. Through personal storytelling and layered observations, I strive to make my life experience and perspective approachable to all demographics. Although cynical comedy is effective and plays an important role in the artform my optimism brings something unique to the table. This is why I think I should be the next rising star. When I'm not doing comedy I can be found playing softball in my Queer league, playing video games, hanging out in nature and just generally enjoying life. I'm all about stopping to smell the roses.


Nicole Benjamin

Stand-Up Comedy

As a comedian, I look like a boring oatmeal raisin cookie but I'm really that chewy chocolate chip cookie you really wanted. I was never the class clown but always had a witty sense of humour. I've been doing stand-up for 3 years and fell in love with the rush of making a room full of people laugh. I've been inspired to work hard by the many awesome female comics I've met in the Toronto scene. What drives me is my desire to keep getting better and better at this art form and to continue to surprise myself with what I can achieve. I love making people feel good through comedy but when I'm not on stage I try to do that working in healthcare. I should be the next rising star because I'm that unexpectedly funny friend and I'm ready to serve up some fresh hot jokes out the oven.

Nurhidaya Shamalisham


Born and raised in Southwestern Ontario, I'm a proud Francophone and half Malay. I came out of the womb humming. Legit. I've always loved performing and singing on stage since my elementary school days. My mother told me that when I perform, even among the other cast, it's as though the light is shining on me, that I steal the audience's attention. For a mother who seldom compliments her children, this meant a lot to me.

There's something so beautiful and powerful in the way we can guide an audience through our performance. The build up, the climax, an element of surprise and most importantly: a story to tell, these are part of what make a great show.

In primary school, I joined the choir and during one of the sessions the teacher stopped everyone to ask me to sing the same bit alone, later to praised me. During recess, I was told by some of the girls in the choir that my voice ruined the song and that I should stop singing altogether. I was bullied for having a beautiful voice but why let that stop me? Despite being told that I'm not worthy by most, there are a few individuals who have given me the courage to dream, to imagine what could be, who I could become. I have a story to tell and singing will be just one of the ways I share it.

In my free time I like to read books on psychology, finances, productivity, branding and health. I also enjoy a variety of sweaty pursuits such as ice skating, biking, camping, swimming, canoeing, etc. I love to travel when I get the chance as well as visiting family and friends.

I believe good things come to those who not only wait but who persevere. I may have not have had the opportunity to get singing lessons or have fancy equipment to record myself but at least I have a shot with this competition and I'm definitely going to make the most of it. I would love to have your support! J'aimerais ton support!


Ojonugwa "OJ"


My name is Ojonugwa and I’m a Nigerian Canadian performer from Toronto. I act, I sing, I dance, I play the guitar and I love music and the arts. I graduated from the Toronto Academy of acting for Film and TV about a year ago and I’ve done background work for multiple movies and tv shows, and I’ve had roles in various plays and musicals in Toronto. And although acting is a passion and dream of mine, singing is and has always been my first love. When I sing I just forget everything and I feel absolute bliss it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s one of the reasons I’d like to make a living off being a singer too. One day I’d like to release my own music and perform them all over the world.


Paul Wensley

Stand-Up Comedy

I'm a hyphenate with too many interests. Actor/voice actor, musician/singer/songwriter, international award winning editor (specializing in trailers and promos), squash player and cyclist. What inspires me is an "I'll show 'em" attitude. I know why I have this attitude, but I need to keep it to myself.


Robert Fulton

Stand-Up Comedy

After struggling as an actor for almost 25 years - I've decided to look into other ways to torture myself - like stand up comedy! JK! I've been eeking out my living as an actor/waiter in Toronto for many years. I'd have it no other way. I love performing. I've been in theatre, film, TV, even a little radio. But there's no substitute for the natural high of performing in front of a live audience and trying to make them laugh. I'm still pretty new to this stand up comedy thing - this show will be only my 10th or 11th time doing stand up - but I hope there is much more to come! Oh - I'm also a massive nerd. I LOVE STAR WARS!!


Tavis Aikman

Stand-Up Comedy

You know the moment you finish the first time you've been on stage if it's for you, if you step off and your only thought is "I want to go back up" then guess're a performer. I adore comedy in all it's forms but standup has a special spot in my heart and when I get a crowd to laugh from material I put together and performed I am elated, you can be selfish and selfless at the same time spreading joy and laughter that way.

When I'm not performing I'm tending to either my cat or my dog or some other member of my family and working, the endless slog. All you really need to know about me is I just want to put together some solid comedy and perform it for you, and even if I'm not the next rising star that will not impede me in this comedy journey I've finally decided to embark on.


Vinny Vinelli

Stand-Up Comedy

Vinny is a stand-up comedian, a sit-down writer, and an actor. He trained in stand-up comedy at Toronto’s Second City and in Los Angeles and is a former cast member of The Comedy Live Now Players. He’s a clean comic whose humour consists of unique observations about society and his struggles with weight gain and being a stressed-out family man.

He has recently returned from a Los Angeles tour that included shows at Flappers, Hollywood Comedy and Haha Comedy Cafe.