With the yearly offerings of the Nasty Show and the Ethnic Show already underway, JFL is back with big names and big shows, as well as many hidden gems and up-and-comers worth catching.
The biggest name this year is probably Jerry Seinfeld, who is appearing with Gad Elmaleh at the Bell Centre. There are also galas this year hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, Sugar Sammy, Joel McHale, Lilly Singh, Laverne Cox, Howie Mandel, Rick Mercer, and David Spade. The closing night gala celebrates 35 years of JFL with Montreal: An Intervention Gala that will include Rachid Badouri, Caroline Rhea, Jimmy Carr, Alonzo Bodden, Mark Critch, and DeAnne Smith. As if that weren’t enough for the closing gala, Jay Baruchel, Corey Hart, Brittany LeBorgne, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin, and Vanessa Grimaldi will make an appearance in some form (July 31, 7 p.m., Salle Wilfrid Pelletier).
Tonight, though, is the start of the festival’s heart with Place des Arts opening its free shows and general mayhem downtown. We’d like to recommend a few shows among the many on offer.
Whether you’re a fan of the Moth or Netflix, you probably know the name Mike Birbiglia, who is here with his show The New One (July 24-29, Gesù, 7 p.m.). He’s also hosting a Just for Laughs All Access live TV taping (July 26, Club Soda) and appearing at the Just for Laughs Awards Show (July 28, Hyatt). Gina Yashere is hosting this year’s Brit(ish) which brings forward Aisling Bea, Joe Lycett, James Acaster, Seann Walsh, and Sarah Millican (July 26, 27, and 28 at L’Astral). Gina Yashere will also appear at the Howie Mandel all-star comedy gala (July 29, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier).
The club shows are where you can catch the funny people at their best. Try super funny California babe (baby momma) Ali Wong’s show (July 27, 7 p.m. Maison Symphonique), or perhaps the political genius of Wil Anderson (July 25-28, 7:15 p.m., Monument National). Another ever funny person to see is Debra DiGiovanni who makes the personal the unpolitically correct (July 24-28, 7:00 p.m., Salle Calude Léveillée),
For edgy humour, DeAnne Smith’s Post Joke Era (July 20-28, various) and Kristen Rasmussen’s Full Time Idiot (July 20-22, The Wiggle Room) are always great to catch. Or perhaps watch Crazy Sexy 90s, featuring Tranna Wintour and Thomas Leblanc and their homage to music made by women in the 90s (July 20-22, 10 p.m., The Wiggle Room).
Podcasts kind of rock and comedy podcasts especially. JFL always makes space for the podcasters. With James Cooper and Alice Levine, Jamie Morton of My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast will read a chapter of his dad’s work live (July 27, 11:30 a.m., Hyatt). Yamaneika will be around taping Rantin’ and Ravin’ with Yamaneika and friends as she lets everyone know what she thinks about current events and pop culture (July 28, 12 p.m., Hyatt). Finally, Guys we F@#ked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast featuring Krystyna Hutchison and Corinne Fisher talking about relationships and sexuality is moving from earbuds to the stage with their comedy tour Guys we F@#ked: The Epxerience (July 28, 9:30 p.m., Maison Theatre). You can also catch a live taping of their podcast (July 28, 5:15 p.m., Hyatt).
General awesome comedians that we’re excited to see include Ari Shaffir who will be at The Nasty Show, All Access Live TV taping with Natasha Leggero (July 28, 7 and 10 p.m., Club Soda) as well as presenting his comedy longform interview podcast Skeptic Tank (July 29, 3 p.m., Hyatt) and his storyteller series, the Renamed Storytelling Show (July 25, midnight, MainLine Theatre). Big Jay Oakerson, another fave of the Nasty Show and appearing at Natasha Leggero’s taping, will be performing his show, What’s Your F@#king Deal?! (July 25-29, midnight shows, Cafe Cleopatra).
The list goes on and on and on. Everyone has someone they want to see… Chris Flemming, Godfrey, Jessica Kirson, Jim Norton, Jimmy Carr, Laverne Cox, Mike Rita, Robert Kelly, Steve Byrne, The Doo Wops, The Lucas Brothers, Trevor Noah, and Vlad Caamano.
Stop reading and go get yourself some tickets to laugh all the way to the end of July. Just for Laughs is on now until July 31. Tickets and schedule can be found HERE.