When it comes to commenting on the American political scene, no one does it better than Lewis Black. The former playwright has been on the comedy scene for almost twenty years, providing scathing political commentary while peppering his material with none too subtle rants about the stupidity of daily life. His bit about soy milk being in fact soy juice because “there’s no soy tit” is widely considered a classic.

On July 27, Lewis Black gave a show at Place des Arts called The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth Tour.

This show was Black at his best, for unlike past Just for Laughs Galas where he has had to censor himself to make the show appropriate for TV, Black didn’t have to hold himself back for this one-man show. He could use all the words people consider bad, words that Black calls the ones adults use to express anger, frustration, and rage so we don’t grab a tire iron and kill each other.

The expectations of the crowd that night were clear. They all wanted to hear Black’s take on Donald Trump and the upcoming election. He gave the people what they wanted, but not in the way they’d expect.

On a dark stage with a single spotlight, Lewis Black, clad in pale shirt, jacket, and jeans approached the microphone and said one word:

“Help.”

His clear nasal voice was higher pitched than ever before as he told the audience:

“Please help us”.

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He said his career in comedy was over, citing the comments and speeches made by Republicans as far better than any joke he could come up with. As proof, he spoke of Tina Fey’s most recent appearance as Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live at which instead of writing her a speech, the SNL writers put Sarah Palin’s actual Trump endorsement speech into the teleprompter for Fey to read. Black nipped any hopes for a Trump joke in the bud saying that everyone there knew at least three he hadn’t heard before.

Most of Black’s humour that night was political and self-deprecating. He went through every Republican candidate, ruthlessly mocking the way they speak, the absurdities they say, and how they dress and groom themselves. He started with Ben Carson whom he compared to a lizard with eyes so heavy lidded he probably doesn’t even know he’s black.

Lewis Black’s take on Hillary Clinton was unique. He said the only reason she is disliked is because she’s been around the political scene for so long people are sick of seeing her. Though Black is a socialist and a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter, he was kinder to Clinton than he was to all the Republicans he spoke of.

Black surprised me that night. He showed that he too is blessed with a skill all great comics have: the ability to evolve and change with the times. Though his comedy has in the past been about the experience of men, he spent a great deal of time joking about women’s issues in a way that acknowledged the struggles and contributions of women while still keeping it funny. He remarked that he couldn’t understand why a man would ask a woman to get a boob job because he himself has never been in bed with a woman and upon seeing her breasts let out a disappointed sigh. Black said that any man who is lucky enough to get a woman to show them to him should be down on his knees every night thanking God, earning him uproarious applause.

Black’s bit about makeup was a treat and a half. He spoke of how much pressure women have to look good and marvelled at our dexterity at putting on makeup. He called eyeliner an instrument of death and talked about how cool he’d look in an eyepatch should he ever attempt to apply it.
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On the transgender bathroom issue Lewis Black said that with all the other problems in America, the last thing people should be worried about is who is peeing next to them.

Though he said he wouldn’t make a Trump joke, it seems Black couldn’t resist sneaking in a jab or two, speaking of how Trump’s lack of business acumen can be seen in the fact that he bankrupted a casino and his alleged success in business has nothing to do with skill and everything to do with nepotism.

People went to the Lewis Black show expecting him to tear apart the American political system with his raging commentary. Black did that and more, showing deference to groups he’d never mentioned in his comedy before while at the same time maintaining his signature angry style. When Black is allowed to swear and scream he shines, and the worse the political system in the States the better his comedy. With the US sliding into an abyss of bigotry and despair, Black’s comedy is better than ever. Though he says he’s done, I say his best is yet to come.

All photos courtesy of Just for Laughs festival.

It’s no secret that Montreal is probably the comedy capital of Canada (if not the world). The city alone is full to the brim with funny people, and maybe that’s why hilarious folk from all around the world just keep coming back here.

Right now, we are in the middle of the Montreal Sketchfest, the annual celebration of sketch comedy bringing together more than 60 troupes for your laughing pleasure. This year’s edition kicked off with a fantastic show on Thursday at Theatre Sainte-Catherine, featuring some of the funniest people I’ve ever seen.

The opening night show was hosted by Match Made in Hell. Alain Merceica and Lise Vigneault play a Haligonian couple, plaid shirts, beer, hair, accent (for the most part) and all. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t really the hoser bit that made their interludes work for me; but rather the synergy they had between themselves. I mean – I’m not Canadian, so cultural references tend to fall flat on me. Very unfortunate, but I am working on it.

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Employees of the Year, doing interpretative dancing to Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.

After the comedy conch was blown, Employees of the Year, Ross Wegschedier and Emeila Hellman, took the stage. With them, it started rather slow. They started listing things they can’t really joke about. I can’t be sure if they were being bitter in the vein of political-correctness-ruins-comedy, or if they were just “socially aware.” Either way, that definitely wasn’t the highlight of their bit.

Good sketch comedy is all about a good script, even though improvised stuff gets sprinkled all throughout. It’s all about transitions. And the Employees of the Year were pretty darn good with their transitions.

After the bit about jokes they could not do, they concluded that the only thing they could joke about as white folks was dating. Eventually, Ross convinced the audience to help him out in surprising Emelia by kidnapping her. Because, you know, it worked for Justin Bieber in that music video. Then, there was this amazing bit of interpretative dancing.

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“Clown on clown action” by The Don’t We Boys.

Then came The Don’t We Boys, a funny trio of United Statesians, who told the audience that they could totally do their show in French, but did not because there are a lot of anglos in Montreal, and they wouldn’t want to ostracize any of them. Very hilarious indeed.

These three white guys mostly rely on dramatic twists and unexpected turnarounds for their comedic punch. For instance, their opening skit was about a clown who orders a clown to come entertain him, because he is depressed. It turns out however, the depressed clown was actually paid by a guy to be entertained by another clown, who gets off from “clown on clown” action. In another one, a car hijacking scene turns out to be a PSA about seatbelts.

On the other hand, however, I would like to call them out on one of the “jokes” they made. Jokes about rape and sexual assault never were funny, still aren’t funny, and will never be funny. Just sayin.

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MARV doing the ASMR radio show.

After the intermission came MARV. Alex Brown and Mark Rostrup are two hipster-looking Montrealers, whose skits revolve around the quirky things you would expect them to do. And no, this is not hipster shaming – I’m pretty sure they are very self-aware of the act they’re putting out.

My favourite MARV skit was about a radio show from Saskatchewan called “The Northern Whispers,” which airs solely for the listening pleasure of people who’re into ASMR. For those who do not know, ASMR is that weird tingly, euphoric feeling some people get upon hearing whispering, clicking, smacking, hushing, or any kinda weird sounds. As such, throughout that skit, the two hosts of the show tried to do a variety of different noises, but failed miserably – hence the humour and laughter.

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Ladies & Gentlemen doing what they do best.

Last, but definitely not least (because I think they were the headliners), was Ladies & Gentlemen. Their show had everything: puns, a more or less linear narrative, puns, courtroom drama, puns, a twist, and did I say puns?

I was mostly impressed by the fact that Chris Sandiford and Daniel Carin were able to tie in all their jokes into one narrative. It wasn’t just disjointed skits one watches one after the other. There was a clear storyline, and for some reason I enjoyed that.

My favourite bit came somewhere in the middle, where Chris and Daniel (who were playing a lawyer and a witness) went on this surreal cross-examination process. If I remember correctly, Daniel cross-examined a gang member, a psychologist, a hot dog, a weapons expert, and some other differently hilarious people.

At any rate, Ladies & Gentlemen were definitely very funny and I think I might go see them once again on Friday, May 13, when they will be performing at the Comedy Church!.

Bottom line is, if you haven’t already been to a Sketchfest show, what the hell are you waiting for? Great sketches, great troupes, great laughter. Don’t miss out.

There is something happening every night for Montreal Sketchfest until May 14. Go to montrealsketchfest.com for more information on how to get those tickets and see all these funny people.

Featured image features Match Made in Heaven. 

All photography by Cem Ertekin.

Just for Laughs festival has started and the comics have taken to the stage multiple times. However, when they’re up on the stage, you don’t really get to have a conversation with them. They tell you their jokes and you laugh and think, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Gina Yashere, Ahmed Ahmed, Dan Naturman, and Ronnie Chieng are four of the comics that will be taking the stage at Club Soda twice every night to do the Ethnic Show. I had a very lovely conversation with them and we talked about their experiences as being comics belonging to a minority. So, what is ethnic anyway?

The Ethnic Show runs July 8h to 19th at Club Soda, for tickets and info: hahaha.com

Just for Laugh’s Ethnic Show markets itself as “the most culturally diverse show of the Festival.” And yeah, that’s pretty much true. The seven comics I watched last night at Club Soda came from a variety of different ‘ethnic’ backgrounds and their sets made sure everyone got a good laugh.

Entering Club Soda with my friend, the one question that I had in mind was “What the hell does ethnic mean anyway?” If you have a look at the line-up, you’ll see that none of the comics are what you would call Anglo-Saxon.

Ethnic, in this sense, does not necessarily have to do with skin color. It’s these people’s experiences as belonging to a minority group in North America that has made them fit the label ‘ethnic.’ And they seemed to be okay with it.

At the very beginning of the show, the host Alonzo Bodden reminded the audience that they would be offending everyone equally. Now, in this day and age, it could be really difficult for comics to talk about sensitive issues like race and ethnicity. To be honest, I’d like to think that it should be. I’m not saying that we should be censoring what people can say; but a comic making jokes about racial or ethnic topics should be self-aware.

After all, when people think about ethnic comedy, what pops into their heads are stereotypes. But there is so much more to the “ethnic” experience than old, cliche stereotypes. If such jokes based on stereotypes haven’t gone stale yet, it’s about time that they did.

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Rachid Badouri

Luckily, you’ll find very little of that in the Ethnic Show and that’s what I really liked about it. Essentially, these comics are telling their own stories about snippets from their own lives. They just happen to be from a certain ethnicity and that happens to colour these stories.

For instance, Rachid Badouri has a bit about parent-teacher meetings. At its core, his story is about a little boy whose father does funny things without even knowing. But because his father is Moroccan, the story takes on a different aspect. Still, the joke isn’t funny because Badouri is doing accent jokes, it’s funny because of how ridiculous the situation is – AND his facial expressions.

I especially loved Bodden’s performance as the host. He really knew how to get the audience excited and involved. In fact, I daresay some of his jokes got more laughs than some of the other acts.

I’d also urge you to pay special attention to Frank Spadone and Gina Yashere. For some reason I could really empathize with Spadone’s jokes about his family. As for Yashere, I’m simply a sucker for the kind of sarcastic Londoner humour she delivers so well.

Ronnie Chieng’s routine was also pretty funny. He told a story based on his observations at the airport line and delivered it very loudly. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t laughing because he was just screaming, but because he was screaming at an imaginary Asian person at an imaginary airpot for eating BBQ pork at the passport line. The way he set up the story made it impossible not to laugh.

I found Dan Naturman’s act a bit drier than the others. I suppose I find the single-forty-year-old-hitting-on-women routine is getting a bit old. Don’t get me wrong, though – I still laughed at Naturman.

All these comics are hilarious in their own way and not just because they do ethnic comedy. I get the feeling that they have bits in their routines about ethnicity, mostly because the name of the show is the Ethnic Show.

In my opinion, the Ethnic Show is all about great comics telling their own stories, but with us putting the label ‘ethnic’ on it.

In between the acts, Bodden kept asking audiences what they were. I think the purpose of that was to push the audience outside of their North American mind-frame. I mean, what is a Canadian, anyway? Most Canadians come from one “old country” or another.

Maybe I’m over-analyzing a great comedy show, but I think the concept of race and ethnicity deserves being over-analyzed. The show got me thinking and maybe it will do the same for you. But even if you’re in it just for laughs (get it?) I promise that you’ll have a fantastic time. Definitely check the Ethnic Show out.

The Ethnic Show is running between July 8 and July 19, twice every night at Club Soda. Check out the Just for Laughs website for more information.

The above image is from a tweet made by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre this morning.

He removed it from his feed a few hours later. What did the mayor say that he was so afraid of that he had to remove it?

I tried running it through Google Translate to no avail. It must be some kind of code.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. This is just a comical mistake. A pocket tweet. He was biking in the Tour de L’ile and forgot to lock his phone.

At least that’s what the Mayor wants us to think. He said as much a few hours later through the same account:

I don’t buy it. I’ve pocket dialed people and composed texts and Facebook messages from my pocket, but they were never sent.

It takes a bit of pocket gymnastics to actually hit the send button. So I think this was intentional.

But what was he trying to say? Could it be something about all those P6 tickets that were thrown out? Maybe it’s something about the Expos. Maybe it’s about store hours in some areas extended to 24/7 for when you get that craving to buy a sofa at 4am.

I’m at a loss. Maybe you have an idea.If you can think of a translation for this tweet, you can leave it in the comments and we’ll tweet the best ones to the mayor. Or you can just tweet it to him directly @DenisCoderre and include the hashtag #PocketTranslation.

* Author’s note: Yes, this was probably just a mistake, but we can still have fun with it. Also, Congrats on the Mayor completing the Tour de l’Ile.

Earlier this week, American actor Thomas Lennon (Reno 911, Night at the Museum), amused by the bathroom television in his Vancouver hotel room tweeted a nude selfie along with the following message:

“Nude selfies with the TV screen built into the hotel mirror make things complicated, like this man who now bears the face of my junk for now.”

The man in question is none other than Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. The original tweet seems to have been removed (not sure if Couillard had anything to do that), but Lennon had also posted it on Instagram and Clique du Plateau had screen-grabbed it.

So enjoy that you can now say the premier of Quebec is literally a dickhead, at least according to one American actor’s social media.

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Screengrab by cliqueduplateau.com

 

Here’s the newest episode of the Jules & Lara show. This time, they’re making pasta – from scratch. That’s really commendable, honestly, so kudos J&L. And, to make it even better, they do it the proper ‘Italian’ way. Watch the video to see what we mean.

Also, Jules & Lara have recently launched a Kickstart project, which you can find here. They need the money to get themselves better equipments to make even better videos! Be a part of history, people.

 

JC Sunshine thinks his neighbour Jenny is dating Santa Claus and goes out looking for Ole St. Nick in hopes of having some “stern words” with him. Along the way, he meets many interesting people, discovers the true spirit of Christmas and celebrates with Rex, Ricardo and many special guests. Stay tuned until the end for a special Christmas time rendition of the song “Why do you only do me when you’re Drunk” by the band Sunshine from Brooklyn

Watch to discover the bizarre cast of characters that make up JC Sunshine’s world. The Santa Vs JC Sunshine Fight sequence in the middle is hilarious!

Starring: Jason C. McLean, Jerry Gabriel, Steve Ferrara, Crawford Forbes, Amy Santos, Steven Ferrara, Tj Pallas & Guests

Directed by: Chris Zacchia

Edited by: Eric Padam

Produced by: ForgetTheBox Media

Directed By: Chris Zacchia

What’s the perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday? …Funny images!

ForgetTheBox is going to be bringing you weekly pic updates from around the interwebs but we need your help. This section needs a name! So submit your suggestions in the comments section below 🙂

Happy Browsing!

Thanks Randy for stopping the Rapture

You know who you are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you like this post don’t forget to share on Facebook, Stumble, Twitter & elsewhere 🙂

When you’re up against the big boys like Bell and the CRTC, you only have a few options: make your point loud and clear (check), create a petition (check), convince the politicians that they want to be on the side of the people (check) and, last but most certainly not least, get funny and entertaining. The last option is about to become a reality with the help of a little Gurl Power!

When the CRTC decided to allow internet service providers (ISPs) like Bell to implement usage-based billing (UBB) and pass additional bandwidth charges along to smaller competitors, they not only made it possible to put a meter on the internet but also paved the way for giant communications companies to end the possibility of unlimited web access and effectively the net as we know it.

This can’t stand, and currently it’s not. A group called Open Media launched the Stop The Meter Campaign and a petition that currently has over 420 000 signatures, and counting. Politicians took note, too, first the NDP, then the Liberals and eventually even the Conservatives came out against the decision, the latter forcing the CRTC to go back to the drawing board.

Just what they will draw up is not yet certain and if their drawing is completed when it isn’t an election year (nothing official, but we know that one’s coming), who knows what it will look like. It could even be worse! We can’t give up the fight!

Since the internet belongs to all of us, not just the ISPs and their government backers, it’s time to make sure that no one forgets that an internet meter can never happen. The best way to do this, we at FTB feel, is with a real catchy tune!

We’ve re-purposed the Spice Girls’ hit Stop and made a video to go along with it. If you support this cause (if you’re a fan of this site, or being able to go where you want online in general, then you already do), then please share this video and this post as widely as possible and if you haven’t already done so, sign the petition! The very future of the internet as we know it may depend on it.

Now, without any further adieu, Forget The Box and Open Media are proud to present…

The Site Gurls singing Stop The Meter!