Toronto’s Tinder Tales encourages dating disclosure

Where private embarrassment becomes public entertainment

Tinder Tales is the type of show where a member of the audience is overheard saying “maybe I should actually respond to my Tinder messages.” Host Dean Young, wearing a blue “Hot Mess” hoodie, describes Tinder Tales as “stuff we can relate to, being single and experiencing dating and approaching dating in the digital age.”

That description sums up the niche familiarity of the show’s humour, as the storytellers connect to the audience through a shared experience of bad online dates.

Each show features about 7-8 performers, with a lineup of comics that are a mix of different ages, races, sexualities, and levels of experience. While the name “Tinder Tales” might indicate that the night focuses exclusively on stories regarding the app, Young explains that while Tinder Tales is “rooted in stories about online dating,” the performances have expanded to include “experiences with dating, breakups, love, sex, everything that happens in that realm.”

The stories aren’t always comedic either, even if the subject matter normally skews that way. Sometimes, Young recalls, people will tell breakup stories and start crying onstage.

“Some storytellers are comedians, some are performers, some are people who have similar experiences to share, so the stories range from insightful to hilarious, raunchy, awkward, and sometimes sad,” he says. There’s only one subject not tolerated at Tinder Tales, which veteran storyteller Elaine Gold emphasizes during her set: “we do not slut shame at Tinder Tales. Ever.”

This comedy show differs from others around the city in that it focuses specifically on storytelling. This ensures that the performers, especially the professional comedians, aren’t just slinging out one-liners, but instead telling complete stories.

Everyone in the audience “on a Tinder date right now” was asked to applaud. No one did. This is not a suitable date location for the faint of heart.

As Young assured the audience, no matter what status your love life is in, you’ll leave the event marvelling about how great your love life is in comparison to that of the performers. Tinder Tales is the kind of show that guarantees that your subway ride back to campus will be filled with friends exchanging their own embarrassing dating stories, while secretly wondering if they could brave the stage.

Tinder Tales will be held at The Paddock Tavern on January 18, and at the Drake Hotel on January 25. Tickets are available at

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