Montreal’s Zoofest fits somewhere between Just for Laughs, Montreal Completement Cirque, and the Fringe Festival. It combines comedy, circus, cabaret, music, and theatre from the independent crowd. While Zoofest shows started July 10, most really begin on July 15 and there are still a few shows running until August 3. Most events clock in at a cool $20 a ticket, far less than Just for Laughs entertainment, and more than what one pays to see a show at the Fringe. However, the all access Zoopass is just $50. A bar-goon! Or, you can add 20 beer coupons and an official t-shirt to that all-access pass with the Goldpass at $150. With around 150 different acts, it can be hard to decide what to see, so here are our picks for a few things to catch.
Anything with Jon Bennett
I love this little Aussie storyteller. He spent a few years turning things around the world into photo cocks, showing that bigger is better (or at least, more is better). He has two shows at Zoofest. I saw Fire in the Meth Lab last year at the Fringe Festival, Bennett’s exposé of growing up in Nowhere, Australia with a religious family and a brother who liked to stick his dick in Jon’s ear. I haven’t had the privilege of seeing his other show, My Dad’s Deaths, about his relationship with his conservative father. Do not skip Bennett. You’ve been warned.
Fire in the Meth Lab plays from July 15 – 17 at 10:30 p.m., and My Dad’s Deaths plays from July 18 to 27 at 9 p.m. Both are at Cafe Cleopatra (1230 St. Laurent). $20
Slalom to Salomon
The lady who gave up law for comedy Jess Salomon continues to shock her family and her audiences with her self-effacing reveals. Pretty Semetic features Salomon and Eman El-Husseini, “bringing Jews and Muslims together before the Quebec Charter of Values made it trendy.” Lovely lesbian lass Deanne Smith, Palestinian with the mostest Eman El-Husseini, and Jess Salomon make up the three Queens of Comedy. As for the kings, laugh heavyweights Mike Paterson, Massimo, and Tim Rabnett will battle to protect (or at least share a stage with) Queen Jess Salomon in Kings of Comedy.
Pretty Semetic runs July 17 at 7 p.m. at Les Katacombes (1635 St. Laurent). Queens of Comedy is July 18 and 28 at 10 p.m., July 26 at 8:30 p.m. and August 1 at 11:30 p.m. at La Chapelle (3700 St Dominique). Kings of Comedy takes place July 18 and 28 at 8:30 p.m., July 26 at 7 p.m., and August 1 at 10 p.m. at La Chapelle (3700 St Dominique). $20
A slew of comedy folk are in town for Just for Laughs or other reasons. Al Madrigal Latino correspondent from the Daily Show tells comedy drawn from his own life — stiff necks, a rich college roommate’s maid, and stories about his own kids. Al Madrigal show is July 22-26 at Cabaret Underworld (1403 St Elisabeth).
Second daily correspondent Michael Che also is in town. His celebrated rise from the mean streets of New York to SNL writer is well recorded elsewhere (he’s also trained as a fine arts painter!). He doesn’t mind a dirty joke or a thousand. His life experiences become the stuff of his comedy. Michael Che performs July 24 to 26 at Theatre ST Catherine (264 St Catherine E). 10:30 p.m.
Jerrod Carmichael is an up-and-coming comedian with an HBO show in the making (a Spike Lee joint, yo). He tells his jokes that fit into a kind of identity humour with a naturalness and ease. Jerrod Carmichael’s show is July 21-26 at Theatre St. Catherine (264 St Catherine E) at 7:30 p.m.
The Not-Flying Circus
The circus cabaret group Slightly Fat Features are absurdists. Their zany humour comes through as they juggle, play pranks on the audience, and physical humour. Count on costumes and the feel of a Monty Python sketch. Slightly Fat Features in Vareity Soup plays at Agora Hydro QUebec (175 President Kennedy) on July 15, 20, 22-27, 29-31, and August 1-2. 7 p.m.
Sunday Night Naughty
Any chance to catch the electro-swing DJs sounds like a good one to us. This one throws in the goodness of Thea d’Ora, graceful burlesque goddess of Montreal. Apparently, they’ll be recreating roaring prohibition speakeasiness with Al Capone and the stock market. Other burlesque acts are in the mix too. Burlesque Party takes place July 19 and 26 and August 2 at 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. at Agora Hydro (175 President Kennedy). $13.
For the other acts at Zoofest, please see their calendar HERE.