Thinking it must be way past most people’s bedtime, I get to Theatre Sainte-Catherine for Todd Glass’ Midnight Surprise to find a line out the door and down the street. It’s a packed house at midnight and the lineup is awesome — the lineup of comics. Surprise!
Running up to the stage to ‘Bim Bam Bum’ by Xavier Cugat, Todd Glass (The Daily Show, Louis) opens the show by singing along. Glass appeals to the audience easily, letting them know he’s against comics who pick on the audience because life’s already hard for all of us. He positively and respectfully warns that if we turn off our phones, the comics will send that love right back: “So, be aware if your resting face is not a happy one.” A woman in the front cracks no smile. She makes herself a target the rest of the night. Maybe it’s past her bedtime.
Sitting with friend, Laura Flynn, she turns to me and says, “Jimmy Carr is here. I hear his laugh. He’s practically Irish.”
Glass introduces the first comic, “With 44 appearances on Letterman, Paul Sandwich!” Jimmy Carr jumps onto the stage. “For tonight and tonight only, I am Paul Sandwich.” He prefaces that sometimes you don’t need to write material, you just need to report it…” and launches into something he has witnessed. Upon mentioning that his father is Irish, he gets a “yay” from Laura Flynn to whom he directs his next joke: “For me and you. Fuck the rest of you,” he tells her and continues with his classic one-liners. You can also catch him in The Nasty Show until July 26.
The second surprise, Glass introduces as Zippy on The Tonight Show, Chip Crisper, otherwise known as Alonzo Bodden. Once again, Flynn grabs the comic’s attention by “awwing” when he mentions his broken foot. He warns her to save her awes for those that really need it because you can’t awe for everything. He later talks about gay men and penises and turns back to Flynn and says “See why I said to save the awes?” Bodden can also be seen hosting The Ethnic Show at Club Soda and will be at Comedyworks on July 21 for a full hour.
Third surprise guest, Glass introduces as the guy from Golden Girls, Chip Chippleflix, but you probably know him as Mike Ward. He confirms, “I was Bea Arthur” upon taking the stage. He wears a #JE SUIS NASTY t-shirt and can be seen hosting The Nasty Show from July 16th to 25 at Metropolis. And he lives up to that nast. When the audience responds accordingly, he pushes further with, “You fuckers… I got a joke that’s worse than that one,” and leads us into a nasty story of personal satisfaction, which satisfies all, or at least most.
Surprise number four is Mampi Pampers, who you’ll know as Ahmed Ahmed. He quickly launches into ethnic jokes, which you can hear more of in The Ethnic Show, about how he “can’t even fly a kite anymore,” being an arab. He brings the audience back to the woman in the front row, who cannot smile and asks the man next to her, “Are you alive?” Ahmed’s charm elevates when he gets away from his prepared material and the audience loves it. Lots of very enthusiastic “Whooooo-ing” escorts him off stage at the end of his set.
Glass gives the final surprise of the night the alias: Lana Turner. She slowly saunters up to the stage and corrects, “I am not Lana Turner. I am Luenell.” Luenell warns us that she’s had a few backstage and may slur, “Please forgive me”. In her defence, it is 1 a.m. on a Friday night, by this point. She mentions that it’s her first time in, forgetting the city’s name, Montreal. She lives up to the title of nasty and rowdies up the crowd. In her twelve days here, she hopes to at least see a penis: “It’s a festival. What else you gonna do? — be festive!” And ends with a mic drop! She ended with a mic drop! She does a mic drop and leaves!! What a fricken star!!
Glass returns to close the show and runs us through all the bits he didn’t get to that night because he feels he owes us at least that. He also goes back to the unhappy woman in the front and let’s her know he will find her outside and they will get to the bottom of this– in a sweet way, not at all threatening. Swear! He is lovely and warm and just an all-round ideal host.
The Midnight Surprise has surprise guests each night. Follow OFF-JFL on twitter to see the lists of previous lineups and you’ll see that you need to let yourself be surprised at least once. It’s sure to be a more than pleasant one!