Semi-important question: what do 2014’s mayoral candidates like to drink?

This originally appeared on Toronto Life’s website on April 15, 2014.


We might not typically judge a candidate for public office based on his or her drink of choice, but considering how much we know about our current mayor’s drinking preferences—whether it be a few beers at a Leafs game, an early-morning bottle of brandy at his office, or just a few Iceberg vodkas and Tropicana grape juices with an old friend in the park—it seems only fair that we ask those who seek to unseat Rob Ford what beverages they turn to after a hard day of arguing about who did or didn’t actually save the city a billion dollars.

Sure, there are far more important issues, but there’s also something to be said for getting the candidates off their scripted talking points. There are few things more personal than how someone chooses to unwind.

And so, with that in mind, here’s what the top contenders for mayor like to drink, along with some wild speculation about what their choices say about how they might govern if they win. Continue reading “Semi-important question: what do 2014’s mayoral candidates like to drink?”

Five Rob Ford-inspired Halloween costumes that your hipster friends haven’t thought of yet

This originally appeared on on October 24, 2013

Rob Ford has been the mayor of Toronto for close to three years now, and in that time he’s been lambasted, lampooned and ridiculed by the best of them. So if you’re looking to have a little fun at the mayor’s expense this Halloween, you’re going to need to be original. In short, it’s time to step up your Rob Ford costume game.

The days of buying an XXXL suit off the rack at a second-hand store, filling it with pillows and painting your face burst-capillary red are over. Not to worry though, I’ve got you covered. Here are five great Rob Ford costume ideas that will make you the hit of any martini-sipping lefty shindig.

1. The Missing iPhone

This is arguably the key piece in a long, embarrassing saga that’s brought international attention to the city, so why not dress as the alleged missing alleged iPhone that allegedly contains an alleged video of the mayor allegedly smoking what allegedly looks like crack? It’s a terrifying apparition that might end any number of careers should it some day appear, and it’s surely caused more than a few terrified sleepless nights for the mayor (allegedly). If you really want to go the extra mile, only show your costume to Toronto Star reporters, then disappear forever!

How to reject requests for charity

This was originally published in issue number 5 of Mr. Happy Magazine (NSFW)

Mr. Happy

If you live and/or work in downtown Toronto, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually run into what is surely one of the most stressful and potentially traumatic experiences one can have in a big city, namely, being asked to donate to charity.

Charities are everywhere these days–on street corners, organizing campaigns through your office, and even obnoxiously organizing public runs and walks so they can ram their self-righteous agendas right down your dang throat.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for charity, except for when it involves me giving away money and/or things that are mine–because if I give them to someone else then they aren’t mine anymore, and I hate that.

Instead, I’ve developed three foolproof strategies to rejecting requests for charity so that I might be able to hang on to that which I’ve worked somewhat hard at earning instead of giving it to some organization that would squander it on something dumb like a book or a glass of water or a protector that keeps flies out the eyes of small children. In case you too are sick of all the requests for handouts, here are my tips. Continue reading “How to reject requests for charity”

Hey Toronto, what’s up with all the progress?

This originally appeared on the online version of Post City on October 9, 2013.


Toronto is a vibrant, progressive city, and it’s changing every single day. New tourist attractions like the Ripley’s Aquarium are popping up. Bold, architecturally interesting developments like the Mirvish+Gehry towers are being proposed. And new, innovative urban solutions to the city’s retail and residential needs are seemingly unveiled every day.

It needs to stop.

Indeed, the time has come, with our eyes so squarely focused on the future, to ask if we are losing sight of our past. That’s why I’ve founded the Committee to Keep Everything the Same Forever (CKESF).

Sure, the CKESF understands that the population of Toronto is rapidly expanding, and that the city’s infrastructure must be updated to accommodate the growth. But we’d like to counter by pointing out that hey, old buildings look prettier. Continue reading “Hey Toronto, what’s up with all the progress?”

Seven types of TTC commuters who suck

This was originally published on the online version of Post City on September 11, 2013.


It’s nearing that horrible time of year when I admit to myself that I am too wimpy to cycle and I hang up my bike in favour of a Metropass. Accordingly, it seems only fair that I issue advance notice to those people who have always made my ever-delayed commute the claustrophobic hell that it is. Offenders, consider yourselves warned: here are seven TTC commuters that I want to punch in the face.*

1. Lollygaggers. Allow me to congratulate you on the fact that you clearly have nowhere to be today. It’s evident, as I rush to get to my office by 9 a.m., that you’ve made better choices in life, affording you either a boss who doesn’t care what time you show up or the ability to spend the day bird watching and/or picking wildflowers. Have a fantastic day, but for the love of God, please consider that the people walking behind you might have to be somewhere. Find second gear or get out of the way. Better yet, just stay asleep for an extra hour in the morning. Surely the non-thing you don’t have to do today will still not be there later. Continue reading “Seven types of TTC commuters who suck”

Dear Toronto Sun

August 8, 2012

Mr. James Wallace
Toronto Sun
c/o Sun Media Corporation
333 King Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 3X5

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am long-time, loyal reader of your great publication and the reasons behind my writing you today are two-fold: Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your tireless dedication to the sort of journalism that real Torontonians like me need and appreciate, and secondly, I’d like to ask you for a favour.

I read The Sun daily because I appreciate your devotion to unbiased coverage of those politicians currently bringing some much-needed straight talk to city council. Your refusal to join ranks with Toronto’s more liberal media outlets who continue to slander the likes of the brothers Ford and Councillor Mammoliti just because they frequently speak without thinking and don’t kowtow to the wishes of their own constituency is refreshing. Too often Toronto’s other papers lazily use facts and quotes just to paint an unflattering picture of those politicians with whom their beliefs don’t align. The Sun, on the other hand, never lets facts and quotes dictate the story. Continue reading “Dear Toronto Sun”


I was part of The Second City Training Centre’s comedy writing program in 2012. We shaped scenes we wrote in order to build toward a final show that took place in August of that year where 19 actors brought our brilliance to the stage of the Second City. 

Because so many students in my class actually lasted through the entire program (nine of us in total) we each had just 7 minutes of showtime dedicated to our individual scenes. Accordingly, a large amount of the scenes we wrote never saw the light of day–which is a shame since I think some of them were at least mildly amusing. Here is one of them. 

by Ben Johnson
Draft #1
March 13, 2012


BABU and AKIL are pushing a massive rectangular block. Continue reading “Pyramid”

Realistic Resolutions

These images are from The JoinBKLYN Holiday Guide to Good.

JoinBKLYN is an independent company based in Brooklyn, NY that curates and distributes  blogs about arts and culture. It was founded by two lovely ladies I know and they asked me to contribute to their holiday guide. I came up with the “Realistic Resolutions” content below and these images are what ended up in their guide.

Traditional New Year’s resolutions have never made a lot of sense to me.

I can never understand why, as the holiday season winds down, people are expected to commit to bettering themselves or being nicer to other people. What horrendous timing for self-improvement,really.

The holidays are stressful.

You spend the first part of them worrying about what to buy people, then fighting throngs of other shoppers just for the privilege of spending a ton of your money.

The last part of the holidays is spent surrounded by your extended family—which, sure, is nice in small doses—but in reality it’s a lot of time stressing about where you’re supposed to have the next artery-clogging meal, hearing about your aunt’s ailments, and, usually, watching a handful of screaming kids run around like maniacs smashing their new loud toys around.

It’s frigging exhausting.

Continue reading “Realistic Resolutions”


The scene embedded below was one I wrote as part of Something Clever, my graduation show for the Conservatory Program at The Second City Training Centre. This video is from the original performance of that show on February 26, 2011 at the Second City in Toronto. My scene-mate is the talented and handsome actor, Andrew Ferguson and this was shot by his equally talented and handsome girlfriend, Mandy Sellers. 

The original script for the scene follows. 

Something Clever Presents “Cops” from Mandy Sellers on Vimeo.

Lights up on FITZY, buttoning up his shirt in a locker room. CHARLIE walks in, drying his hair.

Good shower Charlie?

Great shower, Fitzy.

Continue reading “COPS”

A Letter to the Old Man at the Gym Who Has the Same Underwear as Me

Dear Old Man at the Gym Who Has the Same Underwear as Me,

I’d like to sincerely apologize for the events that transpired today. I’m aware that my conduct was inappropriate and I feel like I probably had an adverse effect on your day.

Clearly, by pointing to the area near my penis, looking at you, and shouting, “Hey!” I have broken not only a number of general gym-etiquette rules, but also an unspoken understanding that you and I have always shared as we spend that little part of our daily routine together in various stages of undress.

Continue reading “A Letter to the Old Man at the Gym Who Has the Same Underwear as Me”