Ron Sparks (comedian)
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Ron Sparks performing at the 2013 YYComedy Festival in Calgary.
May 20, 1977 |
Ron Sparks 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 1'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.
Improv and sketch
Sparks first began performing with York University's Vanier Improv Company as a student. His sketch troupe, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, were nominated four straight years (2003–2006) for Best Sketch Troupe Canadian Comedy Awards, winning in 2003 and 2004. In 2006 they won again for Best Taped Live Performance for the CBC special Sketch with Kevin McDonald.
He began performing stand-up in 2003 at The ALTdot COMedy Lounge and other venues around Toronto, and won that year's Tim Sims Award, given to Toronto's most promising new comedy act with less than two years of experience. 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".
Stand-up credits include the Halifax, Winnipeg and Just for Laughs 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, The Debaters, and opening for such acts as Kyle Kinane, Moshe Kasher, Tom Green, Russell Peters and Kevin Pollak.
On television he starred in MuchMusic's highest rated show Video on Trial and its spin-off, Stars on Trial. He plays Chris Christie in the 2016 series You Got Trumped. He was also a regular panelist on the Super Channel series Too Much Information. His CTV Comedy Now! stand-up special aired in 2008 and won a WorldFest International Film Festival Award and two Canadian Comedy Awards. He has also been a regular on various Ed the Sock series (including the cult hit This Movie Sucks!) and The Toronto Show.
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 has also appeared in such films as Medium Raw, Dark Rising, By George, Sweetener and Ham & Cheese.
Sparks is a regular and favourite juror on CBC Radio's The Debaters (which he also writes for), and has also appeared on Brave New Waves and Out Front. He had his own weekly segment The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks on 102.1 The Edge, based on his live news show.
Ron has written for such series as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Little Mosque on the Prairie, You Got Trumped, Meet the Family, Still Standing, Spun Out, Life's a Zoo, Satisfaction, Crash Canyon, The Debaters, This Movie Sucks and Really Me. He also wrote his own series of shorts for The Comedy Network, From the Desk of Ron Sparks.
Before working in television he was an award-winning playwright, with titles including Home to Mother, A Thanksgiving That Would Even Make Great Aunt Gladys Proud, Chuck Sent Me, My Favourite Aunt and Richard Keats' Apartment of Doom.
He is not related to fellow comedian Hal Sparks. He is the subject of The Essential Actor's Guide: Spotlight on Ron Sparks, part of a series of 32 books about actors; other subjects in the series 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.
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. After exchanging several emails Boll ultimately declined after finding out about Sparks's size advantage, due to the fact he would be fighting five boxers back-to-back.
Canadian Comedy Awards
At the 2007 Awards' "State of the Industry" event, Ron was unofficially voted "North America's Sexiest Comedian" 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.
Video on Trial
On Video on Trial he began listing himself as having fake occupations instead of just "comedian", which became a regular joke on the show. He has been billed as such things as (in order of use):
- a handsome bachelor
- a movie star
- a hand model
- a member of the Justice League
- the president of the Shawn Desman Fan Club (an in-joke, as Ron often made fun of Desman)
- a man about town
- a Ghost Whisperer
- a haberdasher
- a vampire hunter
- the inventor of techno music (during an episode featuring a techno music video)
- a Crocodile Hunter
- a Ninja Assassin
- a macaroni artist
- a non-union stunt man
- star of "Sorority Shootout"
- a birdhouse architect
- "Not Cool in the '80s" (During the "80s Supertsars" episode)
- Santa's Biggest Elf (During the "Holiday Crap" episode)
- Benson's Butler (Totally 80s Video on Trial)
|1999||Yellow Jacket||The Suit|
|1999||Let's Get Real!||Captain Amazing|
|2000||Fangs of My Heart||Voice|
|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||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|
|2008||The Jon Dore Television Show||Farting Writer|
|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 Invasion Report||Blirn!|
|2011||The Trial||Mr. Testman|
|2011||iMobiles||Gary the Penguin (voice)|
|2011||Dark Rising: The Savage Tales of Summer Vale||Cartright|
|2012||The L.A. Complex||Patient (one episode)|
|2012||By George||Alan Ladd, III / Chewbacco / Nien Nund|
|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 nominations
|2003||Ron Sparks||Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award||Tim Sims Award||Won|
|2003||The Minnesota Wrecking Crew||Canadian Comedy Awards||Best Sketch Troupe||Won|
|2003||Laughing Matters||Canadian Comedy Awards||Best Writing – TV Special or Episode||Nominated|
|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)||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|
- Winner of York University competition for playwrights, 2000 and 2001. 2nd place in 1999. 3rd place in 2001.
- Grand Theatre Stage Presence Competition winner for young playwrights in 1997.