It’s that time of year again, Montreal! We’re in the heat of festival season, having survived Les Francofolies and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Now, we tune our senses for the international comedy festival, Just for Laughs. This massive spectacle brings together some of the biggest talents in comedy from all across the globe. It’s also a perfect time to showcase some of our homegrown laugh-masters as you sit in on some comedy legends. Here is a compiled list of some of our favourite acts. Humour is highly subjective and mine tends to lean a little on the vulgar, ridiculous, and socially sharp side. In other words, not normally PG 13 and ready to rattle some cages. I appreciate diversity in my comedy, and this list undoubtedly reflects that.
1. Miranda Sings
When / Where: Saturday July 26th, Métropolis
Miranda Sings is an international YouTube star who has been making spit-take quality videos for years now. Miranda is a character inspired by homeschooled, self-adoring, painfully oblivious, over-confident “singers” that “Miranda” actress Colleen Ballinger has taken cues from. Miranda is essentially the best and worst person you’ve ever met. Her show focuses on her claimed talents: singing, dancing, modelling, magic, acting, having a lot of boyfriends. The cherry on top is her dramatic recount of her hate-mail. Haters, back off! Watch one of her YouTube videos and you’ll understand why she’s racked up tens of millions of views. It’s a beautiful mix of laughing at and laughing with, leaving you wondering the entire time, is she really acting?
2. Hannibal Buress
When/Where: Wednesday July 23rd, Club Soda
I was very happy to see Hannibal Buress’ name on the Just for Laughs list. I was a fan of his on 30 Rock with Tina Fey, and coincidentally his role on Broad City (to be mentioned later), where he plays a relationship-hunting dentist and friend-of-benefit to one of the lead characters. Hannibal Buress has an unmistakably smooth delivery that makes everything he says funny. The pace of his comedy is a is taken down a notch, almost conversational, and his tone is killer. He comes off as a guy you’d kill to have a beer with… often.
3. Broad City
When/Where: Tuesday July 22nd, Club Soda
Broad City consists of two actresses, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jaconbson, which also happens to be the name of their Comedy Central show, produced by Amy Poeler. The show which aired at the beginning of 2014 is a loosely autobiographical interpretation of these two improv actresses lives as broke, modern, uninhibited 20-somethings in NYC. The description may come off as generic, but their “blunt”ness (yes, I’m being punny), vulgarity, and refusal to abide by “typical womanhood” expectations has brought to the mainstream some very progressive comedy. These are two women to watch out for, and if their standup is anything like their television program (which they write), you’re in for a treat.
4. Amy Schumer
When/Where: Saturday July 26th, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
Oh, girl. If you haven’t heard of Amy Schumer, you can officially begin self-labelling as “out of the loop”. If that’s the case, you’ve been saved from some very explicit mental images. She’s crude, crass, and really doesn’t care if you’re not that into it. An ex “Last Comic Standing” alumni, Schumer now has her own show appropriately titled “Inside Amy Schumer” that airs on Comedy Central. I’ll put a disclaimer, it isn’t likely you’ll leave her show without feeling a offended and/or uncomfortable at one point or another. Although, her self-deprecating humour makes up for your discomfort but keep in mind, she takes no prisoners.
5. Aziz Ansari
When/Where: July 16th, TBA
Easily the act that I would sell a kidney to see. Aziz shot into the public eye as Tom Haverford in the Amy Poeler comedy “Parks and Recreation”. His metro, energy-pumped, misled-21st-century-millennial-capitalist demeanour made him easily one of the funniest characters on the already hilarious show. His standup is pleasantly different from his TV character, relying on smart, progressive, and socially critical material. With marksman-like precision, he calls out double standards while making you keel over from laughing too hard. It’s a show that makes you think.
Tidbit: Free entertainment
From July 12th to 26th, Place des Festivals is packed solid from morning till night with free comedy, music, and amusement rides for children. If you can’t make it to any of the mentioned comedy shows, spend an afternoon or evening enjoying the atmosphere being joyfully entertained FOR FREE.