After intense immersion in comedy last winter in Toronto, George Maratos has returned with a program that is making its second appearance Thursday night.

The Stand Up Stand Off begins with a number of comics riffing on the same topic for two minutes.

The audience decides who will go to the second round to present a three-minute set on another topic.

Then, the winner is decided from those who make it to the third set and give the best five-minute routine on yet another topic.

“They’re timed rounds,” says Maratos, “So you don’t get a lot of babbling.

“They only have a certain amount of time to bring the funny.”

But the format leaves some comics with material they don’t get to present.

“But you have it for Coasters and The Guild because they have comedy nights,” responds Maratos.

Last month, on The Stand Up Stand Off’s regular night of the last Thursday of the month, more than 50 people showed up to see the comics. Northern Lights School of Dance ran the bar and made some money and that made it a successful night in Maratos’ estimation.

As for the venue, Baked Café, Maratos says it is just the right size to make it “nice and intimate”.

“You quickly find out that if you talk while a comic is performing, it ruins it for everyone.”

And that is not what the audience wants. Indeed, Maratos says the audience is more receptive and they want the comics to do well.

The topics for Thursday night, May 28, are secret to maintain that What’s-under-the-Christmas-tree? feeling.

Last month, the topics were pirates, romance and the Yukon.

The Stand Up Stand Off begins at 8 p.m. at Baked Café.