Ron Sparks (comedian)

Ron Sparks (born May 20, 1977) is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer and producer. He was born in Chatham-Kent, Ontario and lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is best known as an alternative comedian and frequent guest on CBC Radio's The Debaters, and on TV as a regular and favourite juror on MuchMusic's highest-rated show, Video on Trial, also starring as The Judge in the Stars on Trial Christmas special and various other VOT spin-offs.

Ron Sparks
YYC 2013 - Ron Sparks.jpg
Ron Sparks performing at the 2013 YYComedy Festival in Calgary.
Born (1977-05-20) May 20, 1977 (age 45)
Websitemyspace.com/sparksnation

ComedyEdit

TheatreEdit

Sparks enjoyed performing in plays and sketches as a student, and at CKSS began writing scripts to perform in drama class and at assemblies. He did a sketch with fellow student Corey St. Peter about a refugee applying for Canadian citizenship at a televised swearing-in ceremony which he claims was met with total silence, saying "we were sure it was because they didn't understand English, but I've come to accept that we probably just stunk."

In high school and university he found success as a playwright. His farce Chuck Sent Me won the Grand Theatre Stage Presence Competition for young playwrights in 1997.[1] His one act plays Richard Keats' Apartment of Doom and Home to Mother, a dramedy, both won the York University competition for playwrights in 2000 and 2001.[2] Other works include A Thanksgiving That Would Even Make Great Aunt Gladys Proud (2nd place, 1999) and My Favourite Aunt (3rd place, 2001).[3] Apartment of Doom and My Favourite Aunt would both be remounted as Toronto Fringe Festival shows.[1]

At York University, Sparks wrote humorous articles and reviews for the student newspaper The Vandoo and was promoted to an editor, but quit after complaints and new guidelines from college administration made the job too constraining to be fun.

Improv and sketchEdit

Sparks first began performing comedy regularly with York University's Vanier Improv Company as a student,[4] where he became a standout and met his sketch troupe mates The Minnesota Wrecking Crew. They would go on to be nominated four straight years (2003–2006) for the Best Sketch Troupe Canadian Comedy Award, winning in 2003 and 2004. In 2006 they won again for Best Taped Live Performance for the CBC special Sketch with Kevin McDonald.[5]

The MWC became the "house troupe" at Second City Toronto's Sketchy at Best showcase,[6] where they would perform sets of mostly new sketches every week.

After his first year with the VIC and Vanier College Productions, Sparks was asked to perform in the following year's annual frosh week orientation show for new students. He got a lot of laughs and his first ever requests for autographs from the audience, "unfortunately I was playing a date rapist and it wasn't supposed to be funny, so the director got an earful and they never produced that play again".

Sparks was also a member of the sketch troupes Rocket 9, Gazebo Pals[7] and the CCA-nominated Shoeless.

Stand-upEdit

After performing on the show with the Wrecking Crew a few times, he began working the door for Toronto's legendary ALTdot COMedy Lounge at the Rivoli in 2002. At show producer Zoe Rabnett's urging, he tried performing stand-up in 2003 at The ALTdot COMedy Lounge and then won that year's Tim Sims Award,[8] given to Toronto's most promising new comedy act,[9] in just his 20th set. He then also won the 2004 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Stand-up Newcomer, becoming the first person to win both. Frank Magazine described him as "the next stand-up wunderkind". After his Tim Sims Award winning Cream of Comedy showcase, he was invited to write and star in his own series of shorts for The Comedy Network, From the Desk of Ron Sparks.[10]

Stand-up credits include Just for Laughs as well as the Halifax, Winnipeg,[11] Laughing Gas[12] and YYC Comedy Festivals. He was JFL's Toronto Homegrown Champion in 2007 and has performed in various JFL and JFL-42 shows including Set List, The Alternative Show with Andy Kindler and The Debaters. He has opened for such comedians as Kyle Kinane, Moshe Kasher, Russell Peters, Kevin Pollak, Marc Maron, Janeane Garofalo, Norm Macdonald, Joan Rivers, Brian Posehn, Mike Wilmot, David Cross, Andy Kindler, Tom Green, Doug Stanhope and Todd Barry.

His 2008 CTV Comedy Now! stand-up special won a WorldFest Award and two Canadian Comedy Awards.[13]

When the ALTdot added a second weekly show, the SketchDot COMedy Lounge, Sparks was invited to do a weekly Weekend Update style segment, The News Desk with Ron Sparks.[14]

He is not related to fellow stand-up comedian Hal Sparks.

Film & TVEdit

On television he starred in MuchMusic's highest rated show Video on Trial and its spin-off, Stars on Trial, also writing for those and other MuchMusic series. He co-wrote and starred as Chris Christie in the series You Got Trumped, for which he won multiple awards. He was also a regular panelist on the Super Channel series Too Much Information and has been a regular on various Ed the Sock series (including co-hosting the cult hit This Movie Sucks!), and T1's The Toronto Show as Ron the Hollywood Reporter and other characters.

Other TV credits include NBC's The Firm, The Beaverton, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Meet the Family, Straight Man, Clumsy & Shy, Dark Rising: The Savage Tales of Summer Vale, The Jon Dore Television Show, Sox in a Box and The Invasion Report. He was invited to audition for Saturday Night Live. He also auditioned for The Daily Show but didn't get the job and claims to be their shortest audition ever.

He has also appeared in such films as Medium Raw, Dark Rising, By George, Sweetener and Ham & Cheese.

He is the subject of The Essential Actor's Guide: Spotlight on Ron Sparks,[15] part of a series of 32 books about actors. Other subjects include Javier Bardem, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Tommy Lee Jones, Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet.

Uwe BollEdit

In 2006 Sparks offered to fight Uwe Boll, who had challenged his critics to a series of boxing matches leading up to the release of his movie Postal.[16]

RadioEdit

Sparks is a regular and favourite guest on CBC Radio's The Debaters (which he also writes for). He has also appeared on Brave New Waves, Definitely Not the Opera and Out Front. He had his own weekly segment The News Desk with Ron Sparks on 102.1 The Edge,[17] based on his live News Desk with Ron Sparks shows.

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role
1999 Yellow Jacket The Suit
1999 Let's Get Real! Captain Amazing
2000 Fangs of My Heart Voice
2002 Sweetener Businessman
2002 Frequency Zero Oke
2003 The Toronto Show Ron the Hollywood Correspondent
2003 Ed & Red's Night Party Himself
2003 Cream of Comedy Nominee/Winner
2004 Ham & Cheese Comedy Club Patron
2005 From the Desk of Ron Sparks Various Characters
2005 Ed's Nite In Park Ranger Ron
2005 Canadian Comedy Shorts Various Characters
2005 – present Video on Trial Himself
2005 Reel Review Correspondent
2005 Stars on Trial The Judge
2006 The Ha!ifax Comedy Festival Himself (Stand-up)
2006 Sketch with Kevin McDonald Various Characters
2006 2006 MuchMusic Video Awards Presenter
2006 Video on Trial: Holiday Crap Juror
2006 Video on Trial: 80s Videos Special Juror
2007 Canadian Comedy Awards: Nice Special Stand-up
2007 Dark Rising Soldier
2008 The Jon Dore Television Show Farting Writer
2008 Comedy Now! Stand-up
2008 Sox in a Box Beans
2008 Crazy Hobo Hobo Expert/Narrator
2008 Other People's Stuff: Jan & Wayne Skylar from Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! Dr. Steve Brule
2009 The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks News Anchor Ron Sparks
2009 Snuff: The Film Snuff
2009 Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf Greg
2010 How to Fry a Turkey The Chef
2010 This Movie Sucks! Co-host
2010 The Desk Vice Principal Rucker
2011 The Debaters Himself
2011 The Invasion Report Blirn!
2011 The Trial Mr. Testman
2011 iMobiles Gary the Penguin (voice)
2011 Dark Rising: The Savage Tales of Summer Vale Cartright
2011 Flu Bathrobed Dancer
2012 The Firm Bailiff
2012 The L.A. Complex Patient (one episode)
2012 By George Alan Ladd, III / Chewbacco / Nien Nund
2012 The Train Alfred
2013 Straight Man The Doctor
2014 Flickers! Various (6 episodes)
2014 Satisfaction Lawn Tractor Customer (1 episode)
2014-2015 Meet the Family Various (3 episodes)
2015 Captain Blast! The Vice President
2016 The Beaverton Food Scientist
2016 You Got Trumped Chris Christie

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Nominated work Event Award Result
2003 Ron Sparks Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award Tim Sims Award Won
2003 The Minnesota Wrecking Crew Canadian Comedy Awards Best Sketch Troupe Won
2004 Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best Stand-up Newcomer Won
2004 The Minnesota Wrecking Crew Canadian Comedy Awards Best Sketch Troupe Won
2005 The Minnesota Wrecking Crew Canadian Comedy Awards Best Sketch Troupe Nominated
2005 From the Desk of Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best One Person Show Won
2006 The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Sketch with Kevin McDonald Canadian Comedy Awards Best Taped Live Performance Won
2006 The Minnesota Wrecking Crew Canadian Comedy Awards Best Sketch Troupe Nominated
2006 The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best One Person Show Nominated
2007 Plan LIVE from Outer Space Canadian Comedy Awards Best Play Won
2008 The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best One Person Show Nominated
2009 Life's A Zoo Banff Rockie Award Best Music or Variety Program Nominated
2009 Ron Sparks, Comedy Now! Canadian Comedy Awards Best Taped Live Performance Won
2009 Ron Sparks, Comedy Now! Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing – TV Won
2009 Himself, Comedy Now! Worldfest Bronze Award Best TV Special, Comedy Won
2010 Debaters, Monotheism vs. Polytheism (Ron Sparks vs. Sean Cullen)[18] Canadian Comedy Awards Best Radio Program Won
2011 This Movie Sucks! Canadian Comedy Awards Best TV Show Won
2012 The Trial Canadian Comedy Awards Best Film Nominated
2012 The Trial (Kevin MacDonald & Ron Sparks) Canadian Comedy Awards Best Direction – Film Nominated
2012 The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best One Person Show Nominated
2012 Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-up Won
2012 Ron Sparks' Celebrity Roasts Canadian Comedy Awards Best Comedic Play, Revue or Series Nominated
2012 Debaters, Fast Food is Evil (Alan Park vs. Ron Sparks) Canadian Comedy Awards Best Radio Program or Clip Nominated
2013 The Newsdesk on The Edge 102.1, shared with Fearless Fred Kennedy Canadian Comedy Awards Best Radio Program or Clip Nominated
2013 Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-up Nominated
2014 This Hour Has 22 Minutes WGC Awards Best Television Series – Comedy Nominated
2014 Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-up Nominated
2014 Meet the Family Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing – Television Nominated
2014 This Hour Has 22 Minutes Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing – Television Nominated
2014 Meet the Family Canadian Comedy Awards Best TV Series Nominated
2015 Ron Sparks Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-up Nominated
2015 Meet the Family Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing – Television Nominated
2015 This Hour Has 22 Minutes Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing – Television Won
2015 Meet the Family Canadian Comedy Awards Best TV Series Nominated
2015 This Hour Has 22 Minutes WGC Awards Best Television Series - Comedy Nominated

Canadian Comedy AwardsEdit

At the 2007 Awards' "State of the Industry" event, Ron was unofficially voted "North America's Sexiest Comedian" by acclaim after host Harry Doupe ran his name against Nicole Arbour. This was in response to Arbour having billed herself with that title despite never actually having won it anywhere. Neither comedian was in attendance.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Ron Sparks". doollee.com.
  2. ^ "Vanier College Productions". York University. June 2000.
  3. ^ "Vanier College Productions". York University. May 2001.
  4. ^ "Vanier College Productions, 258 Vanier College, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON (2022)".
  5. ^ "Premier Comedy". liveact.ca. December 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "Sketchy Behaviour". NOW Magazine. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  7. ^ TRNTO, Brianne Hogan for (July 30, 2012). "Meet a Comedian: Ron Sparks".
  8. ^ "Vanier sparked winning comedian's career". yorku.ca. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  9. ^ "Meet a Comedian: Ron Sparks". postcity.com. July 30, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  10. ^ "From the Desk of Ron Sparks". IMDb.
  11. ^ "Winnipeg Comedy Festival". Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  12. ^ Regina Leader-Post, October 6, 2007, by Jeff DeDekker
  13. ^ "Comedy Awards". ronsparks.ca. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  14. ^ "Laugh Lines". NOW Magazine. August 23, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  15. ^ "The Essential Actor's Guide: Spotlight on Ron Sparks". Chapters/Indigo Books. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  16. ^ "The Oddly Hilarious Tale of Uwe Boll". Cheat Code Central. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  17. ^ < "Ron Sparks". Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  18. ^ "Comedy awards pick Less Than Kind, Trotsky". CBC. October 19, 2010.

External linksEdit