Zoofest. JFL. Off JFL. Who can tell the difference at this point. While these festivals have been going on since about mid-July, we are now getting into the meaty week, the week where all the international acts come in to town to Wow us. I hope that you went to the free Weird Al show, and I hope that you have found the little nook filled with food trucks on Ste-Catherine just west of St-Laurent, which if you have not, is your absolute best dinner option or your snack or your fancy rosemary-lemonade-vodka option in between the shows. If not, get to it, as I will be around there all week long and want to hang out with you between rushing off to see the next big thing.
Chris Locke, Cats Man, playing under the Zoofest umbrella, is a typically standard fun stand-up comedy show. He delights with his tales of Wolfman and Bernadette, and of his slow transformation into a cat himself when his wife goes away for work. His strengths mostly reside in the fact that he is really comfortable playing with the crowd, but not in that way that makes people uncomfortable and wish to be elsewhere, and he created a fun complicity in the room. Also, the man made me crave Indian food at the end of the show, and now all I want is to hit a buffet, something that I have not wanted to do for about a decade. The one thing that I would say though is that the show could be tighter (and feature a bit more cat content, which is the expectation). At one point in the evening, Locke mentions that the show is still being written. Considering that people are paying a reasonably high ticket price for Montreal, I expect a finished product. He is very talented and funny, and I look forward to seeing him in Montreal again.
I then went to go catch Sam Simmons’ Spaghetti for Breakfast, billed as an Off JFL show. No words. This is a brilliant show. The things that annoy Simmons will keep you entranced and his rapid fire vignettes are as unpredictable as they are on point. His show is not your standard stand-up format, but rather a stream of consciousness rant that touches upon insecurities (which are entirely relateable), to horrible childhood episodes and material that I can only categorize as ”Other”. I had never thought that I would stop paying attention to the piece of iceberg lettuce sitting atop someone’s head, but the fact is, there is so much coming at you during this show that the fact that he is wearing a vegetable as a toupee pales in comparison. See this quickly and get your tickets early and see it see it see it. It’s weird, it’s interesting, and I highly encourage you to wear jeans when you do, you will thank me later, just do it, shhhhh.
Chris Locke, Cats Man, is playing at La Balustrade at the Monument National (1182 boulevard Saint-Laurent) at 7:15 p.m. July 20-23, tickets 25.01$. Since this is Zoofest, no tickets at the door, you have to go to La Vitrine on the corner of St-Laurent and Ste-Catherine to buy tickets in person or purchase online here. Please note, venue is not wheelchair accessible.
Sam Simmons’ Spaghetti for Breakfast is playing at the Montreal Improv (3697 boulevard Saint-Laurent), at July 20 at 9 p.m., July 21-22 at 7:30 p.m., July 23-24 at 9 p.m. and July 25 at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are 24$, available at the door or online here. Please note, venue is not wheelchair accessible.