Updated: Oct 31
I was one of the lucky ones to get a seat for Frances, Schulich AM&E alumna Laura Ramoso’s sold-out revival of her hit show at Toronto’s Danforth Comedy Club this month. (The show had premiered in August 2022 at Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre and subsequently toured to great success.) Yet even with the addition of an extra performance at the Club, it wasn’t enough for Laura’s adoring fans. (She has over one million followers across social media!)
Those lucky enough to attend wept with laughter – at Laura’s incredible development of character and her brilliant delivery and staging. The audience was mesmerized as she took on the role of her ex calling to meet up after two months of silence! Switching seamlessly to the role of Frances, she consulted audience members for strategic advice and next steps. And the crowd went wild when Frances’ mother started going through her cupboard. (Who hasn’t been there?)
With a theatre degree from U Vic and a determination, born in 2017 when she attended a Second City performance in Chicago, that sketch comedy was her destiny, Laura’s course of action was confirmed.
Sketch comedy and Schulich’s MBA in Arts, Media & Entertainment Management drew her to Toronto that year and, by 2019, she had written and performed her first special, diane, which went on to win the Best New Show of the year award at Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre. (I, with many of Laura’s fellow AM&E students, were among the audience for that remarkable show.) Featured in both the Chicago and San Francisco sketch comedy festivals, diane was the first solo show to win the 2020 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival’s Best of the Fest award in its fifteen-year history.
In 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic and performance venues shuttered, Laura began making short-form sketch and character videos for Instagram and TikTok and she has never looked back. She was invited to perform in Just for Laughs character showcases in 2019 and 2020. And (in her spare time!!!!), she produces the hilarious improv show Laura & Friends featuring some of Canada’s most popular comedians. Her on-screen credits include season four of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (FX) and the Showtime series FELLOW TRAVELERS.
In August this year, Laura took Frances to the Edinburgh festival. The Guardian’s reviewer wrote: “A stellar performer, Ramoso throws this every inch of her towering 6 foot 1 inch frame [into her performance]… Its theme is breakup but Frances looks like love at first sight between fringe audiences and this impressive all-rounder.”
Asked about the value of her MBA, Laura says “Since I now run my own business and manage my own career, there's not a day that goes by where I don't use my MBA. I have to make both macro and micro strategic decisions constantly, and I feel so much more at ease having my rock-solid Schulich foundation to support me.”
For those who didn’t make it to Edinburgh, you can turn to Laura’s online hilarious performances on Instagram and TikTok!