Comedy Can Be Murder

by Neil Ross
Ancient Athens. Up-and-coming comic playwright Aristophanes is accused of murdering his leading actor. With only his one-liners, his brilliant slave Jeevus, and the strong arm of the leggy Lysistrata, he must solve the murder, dodge arrows, and produce the first known comic masterpiece -- against the backdrop of an absurd war. Learn more...

Born in Powell River, British Columbia, Neil passed briefly through the University of British Columbia, (he seems to recall it was on a bus tour.) He began as a stand-up/sketch comedian at Punchline’s in Vancouver before hitch hiking and taking the train to Toronto where he formed the comedy trio Sledgehammer Pie, once opening for Jim Carrey. Introducing them, Long John Baldry said: "These lads make me homesick in a way; they remind me of a young Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, or Monty Python, ladies and gentlemen . . . Jackhammer Pie!"

Neil worked with the youth theatre company KYTES, teaching stand-up comedy to street kids and was the founding director of Puzzle Factory, teaching improvisational comedy to psychiatric survivors.

With Louis Del Grande, he co-wrote the CBC feature comedy/drama 'Sanity Clause.' “Gleefully overturns expectations and smashes conventions . . . riveting, raucous." -- Globe and Mail. In her introduction to the script on its publication in 'Canadian Theatre Review,' Professor Mary Jane Miller called it "one of the best television dramas in Canadian television history."

He is the co-author, with Pierre Tetrault and Jeremy Wright, of 'Gandhi High' for Carousel Players/Theatre Passe Muraille, and with Pierre Tetrault of 'Crack Diary' for Theatre Outreach. He is the author of 'Peace, Rights and Freedoms: A Live History of Canadian Democracy,' developed with Cara Reeves and Suzanne Coy for the Sharon Temple National Historic Site. He created 'Jumpstart My Parachute,' a job hunting workshop for youth at the Learning Enrichment Foundation -- adapted from Richard Nelson Bolles’ 'What Color is My Parachute?'

He was once night man at a speakeasy.

Neil wrote/performed 'Stephen Leacock's Whirlwind Campaign to Cheer Up Canada!' a national tour for local literacy with saxophonist/comedian Aaron Duncan, and summers at the Stephen Leacock Museum, Orillia. He wrote for television programs 'Not My Department!' (CBC) 'My Secret Identity' (CTV) and the 'National Quiz with Peter Mansbridge' (CBC).

With the West Toronto Junction Historical Society, Neil mounted the 'Legends of the Junction Historical Talk Show,' hosting as Junction journalist A.B. Rice. With artist Brendan FitzPatrick, he writes the graphic novel series 'Justice in the Junction: The Life and Times of Josiah Royce.' He was commissioned by Congregation Knesseth Israel to co-write 'One Hundred Years of the Junction Shul' with Lorne Miller.

Neil is currently producing historical/hysterical videos under the auspices of Boom Times Cabaret in collaboration with Trevor Parkins-Scebarris and SteamPunk Junction.

Over time, he’s done several day jobs which, with characteristic perversity, he did at night.

He lives in West Toronto Junction, Ontario, Canada.