The Franglo Comedy Show presents francophone comics performing in English and ran from July 9th to 15 at Théâtre Sainte-Catherine. Part of the fun in a festival like Zoofest is seeing the comedy lovers have the opportunity to run free and feast on all they can for almost an entire month. The moment I sit down, the man beside me starts probing about what else I may be seeing and bragging about all he’s seen. He even goes so far as to say “We were the stars that night,” when referring to a moment he was picked on by the comic at a show.
Host, Ben Lefebvre, takes the stage and has a rather sensual set. He opens with a French vs. English debate and establishes how he just gets away with some jokes more easily in English. Lefebvre picks on a man in the front who is holding two beers. The man tells Lefebvre he’s double fisting, which funnily gets lost in translation.
A young man named David (last name dropped), opens with a confession that he was concerned about his English until he heard Lefebvre. He follows this with a Jim Carrey impression and goes on to mention how hard it is to have his parents staying with him because he had gotten used to being happy. Sorry about missing his last name. You should really be looking out for him. I’m a sucker for a clean set.
From Le bordel comédie club, François Boulianne of Baie-Comeau says you can’t get more french than “François Boulianne”. When he says “I have a girlfriend,” a “Yay!” echos from the back of Théâtre Sainte-Catherine. He goes on to talk about being romantic and learning to be romantic. He charmingly fumbles on his last joke, but quickly recovers with a disappointed “Yea, I screwed that up. Oh, and that was my closer too.” The audience applauds the new make-shift closer, loving it.
Jérémy Du Temple, The Junkie (as introduced), recently moved to Griffintown and considers himself an optimistic guy. He has a great game that goes on for a bit in which he starts a series of statements with “Not too long ago, I saw a…” No spoilers here, though– so see his show?
Liners comic, Franky Laff, has a second show at Katacombes called Liners, Liners, in which he does a full thirty minutes. He has a very unique stage presence and although he doesn’t break stage persona, he still allows himself to be affected by the audience’s response. Laff also plays a fun little game with the audience wherein they decide what’s funny. If they like a liner it goes into the “Rire” (Laugh) box, if they don’t it goes into the “Pas Rire” (No laugh) box. Love love LOVE this bit.
Fifth up is Bruno Lee (Leigh?), another dropped name because I suck (Sorry!), and despite trying to find this guy on the internet, I couldn’t. So, if you recognize this man, please write in with his real name? Unlike the other comics in the lineup, he has no accent. He opens by talking about why he needed to break up with his poet girlfriend and segues into how Quebec isn’t racist, it’s just not inclusive: “Go express yourself where no one is watching.”
Having just won a festival in Val d’Or, JC Surrette from New Brunswick, takes the stage last. He discusses culture shock upon arriving in Quebec, not knowing what the Oka Crisis was and the subtle differences in the French and English languages. In a moment of insecurity, or as part of his schtick, he mentions being happy that the audience doesn’t determine what’s funny or what qualifies him as a comedian– other authorities do. He defends that he’s usually funny. Hard to tell if this was sincere or a joke because there was nothing wrong with his set, or there didn’t seem to be. It was probably my favourite of the night material-wise.
Overall, this sausage-fest, boys’ club show, provides a nice example of what Montreal has on its circuit. And although I promised myself I wouldn’t fixate on it, I can’t help but ask: Where the chicks at? Over the course of this year’s Zoofest, Sophie Buddle is the only female I have seen thus far. I feel like unless I see one of those “all female” shows that have been exploding these days, I won’t see a girl on stage. Is integration in our future?
Zoofest and Off-JFL continue until August 1. Click here for Zoofest tickets.