Gilbert Gottfried is undoubtedly a comedy legend. He’s also an actor, podcaster in his own right, frequent guest on the Howard Stern Show and the voice of everyone’s favourite evil bird Iago. This summer, he’s performing in The Nasty Show at Just for Laughs!
FTB’s Jerry Gabriel had a chance to speak with Gottfried. They talked longevity in comedy, royalties, Montreal, Just for Laughs Nasty and more:
* The Nasty Show runs July 16th to 18th at Metropolis, for tickets and info: hahaha.com
Panelists Jerry Gabriel, Cem Ertekin and Drew Bell discuss Just for Laughs and the concept of comedy, a week that could define Barack Obama’s presidency and what it means to be Canadian. Plus the Community Calendar and an interview with Gilbert Gottfried
This summer Just for Laughs will mark its 33rd year, making it Montreal’s second longest-running festival (the Jazz fest has been around for 36 years). To mark the occasion, they’ve invited a performer whose career has spanned about the same amount of time and recently is experiencing a bit of resurgence: none other than Weird Al Yankovic.
The Weird One Outdoors For Free!
Parody songsmith Yankovic has been touring to promote his latest, and final, album, Mandatory Fun. Final doesn’t mean he’s done with music, only that he’s found a new way to get it out there. His release a day for ten consecutive days through ten different online partner platforms is a good idea of where he’s headed in the long run.
Where he’s headed this summer, though, is Montreal. He’ll be playing a free outdoor show as part of the Just for Laughs Festival. No announcement about the venue, but Place des Festivals is a good bet.
Comedy Heavyweights Chapelle, Meyers, Harris, and Newcomer Noah
Trevor Noah will take over the Daily Show reigns from Jon Stewart later this year. Before he does, though, he will head to Montreal and host a Just for Laughs Gala. Also on gala duty will be everyone’s favourite non-Tina and Amy awards show host Neil Patrick Harris. It’s like the Tonys, but with less awards.
Speaking of awards, JFL will be presenting its own lifetime achievement award to Mike Meyers, who will also be performing a solo show. For the first time, the festival will present a Generational Award. The recipient will be none other than Dave Chapelle, whom you can also catch performing for two nights.
There’s more to the star-studded lineup as well as quite a few up-and-coming comedians. Not to mention OFF-JFL and Zoofest.
Find out more and order tickets starting tomorrow through hahaha.com
2015 has been off to quite a busy start, but before we get too involved, let’s take one final look back at 2014.
Every year we ask our contributors to vote on the favourite two posts they wrote and the two posts they liked most from all the other contributors on the site. Then, in a not-too-scientific manner, we turn that into this list.
In no particular order, these are the top posts of 2014 on FTB:
After the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri erupted. In Montreal, the Black Students’ Network of McGill organized a vigil. Cem Ertekin was there to report and record audio and Gerry Lauzon took pictures (read the post).
We only published one post about Jian Ghomeshi this year: Johnny Scott’s satirical response to the overbearing presence of Ghomeshi images in his Facebook feed. The story is important, but do we really need to keep looking at his face? (read the post)
Did you know that Igloofest started out as a joke? Well, it did, and now it’s anything but. Find out about the fest’s origins and its future in Bianca David’s interview with founder Nicolas Cournoyer. (read the post)
When municipal workers took up the fight against austerity, Jason C. McLean wondered if it was possible to show solidarity with those who didn’t reciprocate. Also, would that even be a good thing? (read the post)
This year, we covered Just for Laughs, OFF-JFL and Zoofest. One of the more, um, interesting performances we saw was by Brody Stevens (he had a cameo in The Hangover). Find out why it piqued our interest in this report by Jerry Gabriel. (read the post)
Lindsay Rockbrand just wanted to lay down for a few minutes on a park bench, but the SPVM wouldn’t let that happen. Even though it was before 11pm, they managed to give her a ticket for being in a park after hours (read the post and listen to the interview)
It’s not usual for a year-in-review piece to make it to the list of favourite posts, but Stephanie Laughlin’s look at the events of 2014 as a reason feminism is still needed bucks that trend. Find out why. (read the post)
Our April Fools posts usually catch a few people (usually those just waking up) off-guard, but in 2014 we really seemed to have hit a nerve. Maybe it’s because the scenario we jokingly proposed wasn’t all that inconceivable, given the climate. (read the post)
This year, McGill held a conference on oil and Canada’s energy future. It welcomed people with sustainable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuel and Ezra Levant. FTB’s Sarah Ring and Jay Manafest were in attendance. (read the post)
No, this isn’t just in here because it mentions Ygritte from Game of Thrones, but that helps. It’s actually a pretty cool interview by Pamela Filion with Leigh Janiak, Rose Leslie’s director in Honeymoon. (read the post)
This piece by Cem Ertekin is a prediction of what’s to come in the Quebec student movement (SPOILER ALERT: We’re in for another Maple Spring). It’s also a great primer for anyone wanting a rundown on just what austerity is and Quebec politics for the last few years. (read the post)
While he might not share the same distaste for Canadian Liberal culture as his onscreen alter-ego Ron Swanson, being a libertarian, Nick Offerman certainly does appreciate the craftsmanship of a good canoe.
Sporting his famously groomed mustache (one that would make even Ernest Hemingway quiver) Offerman began this year’s Talk of the Fest by disseminating the differences between the character made famous on Parks and Recreation and the real Nick Offerman.
But whatever politics makes them different, their mastery of woodworking makes them both modern day renaissance men. During his introduction he held up a ukulele for us to see. It was his newest creation.
Offerman then showed off his mastery in songwriting, performing a little ditty for Canada about the great Canadian manly man. The crowd filled in the chorus. The song was a hit as it listed off iconic names from Canada’s past from Leonard Cohen to Farley Mowat.
And after we moved on to the comdey sets…
This is the Talk of the Fest, after all, featuring many of the great comics from this year’s festival. After going to my first Talk of the fest Last year, I learned that this was the”best of” buffet of comedy taster . A mix of short sets from all over the fest whether clean or crass: Ralphie May, DJ demers, Debra Digiovanni, Nick Thune, Kyle Radke, Bobby Slalton and Shawn Collins, were part of the 7 o’clock show.
Some of the Highlights were:
DJ Demers talked about problems with bathroom signage and asked why some bars make it so complicated?
Bobby Slaton,who hosts the Nasty Show, took us on a funny routine while shopping with his wife and explained why staring at young woman isn’t wrong.
Nick Thune, a new parent, drove the hospital staff crazy looking for Baby Penises in his wife’s ultrasound.
Shawn Collins had the audience in tears suggesting that we take the two biggest search results “cats” and “porn” and combine them into the largest website ever called “Kitties and Titties.com” Interesting…let me sleep on that one.
One more thing of note about the show, keeping it clean. As the assembled cast of comics went through their routines it was difficult to stay clean and not scar the children. Many of these comics had been in the Nasty Show at the beginning of the Just For Laughs and had prepped a little too well for crass. And while a few nasty remarks got by, everybody was too busy laughing, so nobody really cared.
The evening was capped off by Nick Offerman closing the Talk of the Fest, and although I didn’t love every comic, the evening had moments of brilliance. But it was Nick Offerman’s, cool composure as host and his famous witty dry deadpan humor that made the night remarkably enjoyable.
When I first heard there was going to be a comedy set on rape at this year’s Zoofest called Asking for It, my reaction was a mix of horror and curiosity. If done well, I thought, at best it would be interesting. But if done poorly it would be abhorrent, and further the pervasive rhetoric that rape culture stands on.
Adrienne Truscott’s set opened with her dancing through the audience naked from the bottom down, in an intimately sized room. The audience from the beginning was clearly put on edge by the proximity of the naked women, but I think that was her point. She tried to ease the crowd with banter, and a couple outrageous rape jokes meant to poke fun at the assumptions that are made about rapists and survivors. It fell short, making some people, myself especially, more uncomfortable. I think it would have been much more effective is she focussed more on ridiculing the perpetrators and the culture that supports them.
After interviewing Truscott earlier that week I guess I had expected a lot more from the set. The intent was there to satirize a prevailing issue in gendered violence, that was clear. And Truscott also stayed clear of any victim blaming, which was also, more or less, clear. But the satire could have, and actually really should have for the sake of effectively shifting the focus of rape culture, been taken a few notches up.
I had gone wanting to see how a comedy set could be executed well on this topic, but instead I feel like what was left was a very shallow attempt at address the issue in a comedic way. Her costume, I think, was a good example where she should have satirized more. She was dressed as “the ideal rape victim,” meaning wearing revealing clothing, drinking, and being flirty, as a way to point to the assumptions made about women who are raped. But other than dressing this way, it was never brought in to her set very directly, which rendered it more or less superfluous.
His humor is sometimes dangerously candid. He can make any timid audience balk in fear. But when you enter Brody Stevens’ den, as I did the other night at the confined space known as Montreal Improv, there is no coming back.
Like a motivational speaker’s pow wow, you feel the energy in the room and somehow you are changed. While his show is more of a therapeutic catharsis involving neurotic interjections then a typical comedy show, he kept the audience chuckling, but perhaps with only light psychologically scarring from shifting between fear and trembling.
When the lights dimmed and the show began, Stevens started with workout stretches. The evening only got more peculiar when he tried to channel the energy of the crowd. But that was what this eccentric star does best; makes his audience squirm as they are put in the actor’s studio hot seat, getting inundated by tough personal questions.
And in this way, his interactions with the audience, made us feel like we were all part of the show. And as the evening progressed he fed off the energy, from time to time demanding neurotically why we didn’t laugh at his jokes.
Known as a big sports fanatic (and lost a professional baseball player) Stevens has also warmed up crowds before tapings of The Best Damn Sports Show, The Man Show and Chelsea Lately. He also had his own HBO special Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! with Zach Galifianakis.
All night I sat in my seat, scared that he might pick on me. But then I realized there is No Way Out, this is not any regular comedy show. It’s a show where you might find yourself like poor “Tanya” featured with all the prepubescent audience members in a reenactment of Brody’s big scene in the Hangover.
If you want to see something fresh and new by way of comedy then this is a must see at the Just For Laughs., you’ll feel positive and great afterwards.
It’s like déjà vu. Again we found ourselves at The Mainline Theatre for another OFF-JFL show. Tonight we were lucky enough to see Paul F Tompkins & Friends Real and Imagined.
The show opened up with a refreshing set by host Tompkins. It was funny and had the feel of a southern gentleman entertaining us with anecdotes. His set took the common comic theme of being newly married and gave it a new approach, which was both original and funny.
The first comedian up was Demi Lardner, an Australian comic whose style resembled Mitch Hedberg’s witty remarks. Her set was quick, and fun. The crowd responded well.
After Demi’s set, the host returned, this time decked out in a cape and crown and introduced as Andrew Lloyd Webber. He told us about the highs and lows of musicals. The crowd reacted well to this set but it could have benefited from being a little bit shorter and concise. Dressing up in royal garb and emitting the royalty sometimes associated with Webber is not the most original angle, and this hurt the overall feel of the set.
The next comedian up was Mark Forward. Although I felt Mark’s set was unimpressive and lacked a unifying theme, the crowd enjoyed it. Personally thought the jokes about generation bashing were overused and dry. This lack of originality made the set feel long and slow paced.
Mark made his finally appearance as a unique character, a parody of TLC’s The Cake Boss, but this one had the power to read minds. The bit had originality and showed off some impressive imporv skill when he called on the crowd to ask him about their future.
Overall Paul F Tompkins & Friends Real and Imagined was a good show. Though there were low points, the comics always found a way to kept the show heading in the right direction.
Paul F Tompkins & Friends Real and Imagined runs until July 26th,. tickets available through hahaha.com
Al Madrigal wants you to know that he is the result of assimilation. He is a third Generation Mexican American who can barely speak a word of Spanish, but actually listening to him you’d think he is from Arizona.
His nasally voice and straight face delivery makes him naturally funny as a fake news correspondent on The Daily Show. Since he was recently added to the Comedy Central show’s line up he has brought a humorous take on American culture and been able to show how an assimilated American can act just like a “real” American.
You can barely tell them apart. And really that’s his point; American culture is a collection of diverse cultures that have become a life filled with homogeneous monotony that needs to be mocked.
Before this gig, Al Madrigal had been getting acclaim for his stand up work. Recently, he was knighted Best Stand up Comedian at the HBO/US College in Aspen.
One thing Al Madrigal does well is to show the folly of systems. I suppose that is because he has never really fit into the system, being classified un-American but being unable to identify with any marginalized ethnicity He is a social order comic exposing many of the problems inherent in that order
Although I was waiting for him do this famous routine the Maid is on Las Drugas, a story of his college days, I still laughed at his new material, especially his story about the day he found out he was a Mexican comic when he was put on a lineup featuring only Mexican comics.
Another highlight was when he did some family-focused humour, telling us about when he wasn’t allowed into his daughter’s ballet dress rehearsal while the creepy lighting guy was.
While packing a punch with many jokes, including some controversial ones, there were a few silent moments. Still, most of his jokes hit hard and home and many dealt with his identity crisis which we learned is because Al Madrigal’s apparently Mexican Ameircan?
I had always wondered what Lewis Black was like when he wasn’t intensely scream/talking a rant as I had seen him do on The Daily Show countless times. Last night, I found out.
Of course Black delivered the intensity I had come to expect from his Back in Black segments, but you can’t keep that level of face contorting perma-rant up for over an hour. With no Jon to throw back to, we got to see Lewis Black, the reasonable man.
This Lewis Black was funny, sarcastic (as you might expect) and quite the storyteller. We heard about his trip to Europe, his colonoscopy and his love of Tahiti among other things all with dry wit interspersed with political observations.
He riffed on the Republicans, climate change deniers, Vladamir Putin and, for a bit of local flare, the never changing state of bridges in Montreal. No, there wasn’t a Coderre reference, though he did bring up Rob Ford. It was funny, though it did feel a bit too safe, a word I wouldn’t usually associate with Black.
At times it almost felt like I was watching him talk about the other Lewis Black that I had come to know in bits on TV. It was a more reflective Black than I was expecting, but that was cool. We got to know him a bit as a person and it seemed, at times, rather intimate, which is interesting considering this was at Place des Arts in front of a rather large crowd and I was sitting in the balcony.
He was much less the wildman and much more Lewis Black, the reasonable ranter.
* Lewis Black performs The Rant is Due tonight at 7pm @ Theatre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts, tickets: hahaha.com
He will also be a part of the Mega Stars of Comedy Gala Friday July 25th, 10pm @ Salle Wilfred Pelletier in Place des Arts, tickets hahaha.com
Jim Jefferies is a constantly evolving performer. This Australian native who now lives in LA caught the broader public’s attention when he got hit in the face on stage. Since then has played Just for Laughs “six or seven times” and appeared in standup specials on FXX and HBO.
He recently completed the second and final season of Legit, a critically acclaimed sitcom and his first foray into the world of series television. One of the things he had to get used to was working with others.
“Standup is a very solitary art form,” Jefferies said in a phone interview, “making a TV show is more collaborative, I found that bit quite hard because I’m not used to compromising with people. When I do standup I don’t have to compromise with anybody, really. I find standup easier, cause I’m used to doing it, but I did enjoy the challenge of television and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
One of the biggest elements of Jefferies’ routine over the past few years has been religion and his own atheism. After having done entire specials almost exclusively dealing with the topic, he’s changing things up.
“I still do little bits and pieces,” he says, “I’ve said almost everying I’ve ever wanted to say about atheism. I think you can carry on about atheism a bit too much and eventually you’re just a bloke standing on stage talking about nothing. The whole thing about atheism is you don’t have to constantly think about it because there’s nothing to think about.”
Evolution in his act is natural for Jefferies and something he sees as essential: “It’s like a zen garden, everything’s changing constantly. Your show evolves day to day, week to week.”
Montreal audiences will get the chance to see the latest evolution in Jefferies’ act this Friday and you and a guest can join them. We’re giving away a pair of tickets but you’ve got to work for it (a bit). First, sign up to our email list (in the right sidebar), then tell us your favourite Jim Jefferies joke in the comments below or tweet it to @forgetthebox using the hashtag #JFLMTL. If you’re new to Jeffries’ act, just use Google.
Our editorial team will select the winner and yes, FB likes and re-tweets will be factored in, so ask your friends to help.
Best of luck!
* If you don’t win, you can still get tickets through hahaha.com
Having already seen The Nasty Show, where a group of established and up and coming comedians told the raunchiest jokes they could think of, I thought I had a good idea of what my first Just For Laughs Ethnic Show experience would be like. I was expecting a night of laughs stemming from the baggage that stereotypically comes with the cultures represented by the different comedians’ upbringing. I got the laughs, but their inspiration was much more varied than what I was expecting.
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of jokes stemming from cultural differences sprinkled throughout the evening, more heavily in certain areas, like host Maz Jobrani’s two very solid routines and parts of Mike Marino’s set, though not the really funny part about electronic supermarket self-checkout (I don’t think frustration with grocery store stupidity is an exclusively Italian trait). But there was nothing close to a Russel Peters-style full imersion in jokes about race and background.
The only comedian who delt almost exclusively with ethnicity was Elon Gold. Erik Griffin didn’t touch on it at all, in fact, if you listened to his set without looking at him you’d find yourself trying to guess just what his background was. Meanwhile Angelo Tsarouchas came across as much Montreal, or more specifically Park Ex (no one messes with a Park Exer, not even in South Central LA) as he did Greek, while Marino was primarily representing New Jersey.
It was almost as if these very funny people from different backgrounds found humour in things everyone could relate to. While their upbringing did affect their approach to the subject matter, it wasn’t the only thing. You know, like regular people.
Sarcasm aside, my expectations for this show stemmed from my understanding of comedy as a medium that found it hard to go beyond the stereotype. I find it refreshing that my expectations weren’t met.
Just for Laughs is such a huge and internationally recognized festival, that it very well may be a trendsetter in the comedy world. If it can set a new trend for a shift in the concept of “ethnic” humour, then I’m all for it.
Preaching aside, I realize that this is a comedy review for the internet, not a Masters’ thesis. So, what did I think of the show? I liked it.
While there were no moments that had me in stitches, there were no dull or unfunny moments, either. It was their opening night, so things may get tighter and more hysterical as the run progresses. Also, it’s important to note that my fellow audience members seemed to be having the time of their lives (maybe this is what happens when you get a jaded news guy like me to review comedy).
What were my favourite parts? Tsarouchas’ set stood out, and not just because he answered my phone call or because he’s a local boy done good. Well, the local part does have something to do with it. Park Ex represent! St-Viateur bagel represent! Also Jobrani was a great host who really kept the night rolling and Marino struck a nerve…with my brother Joe, who was also in attendance, thanks to the aforementioned bit about supermarket checkouts, so it’s worthy of a mention.
The Nasty Show kicked off this year’s Just for Laughs Festival at Club Soda last Wednesday. Hosted by comedy veteran Bobby Slayton, and featuring the acts of Ari Shaffir, Derek Seguin, Hailey Boyle, Kurt Metzger and Nick DiPaolo, the eclectic group of acts delivered their nastiest routines to the crowd.
The unsurprisingly male dominated set of performers was surpassed by the refreshing humour of the lone female comedian in the lineup. Hailey Boyle gave her comedy set full of the same fellatio-focused staples of her male counterparts, but with a refreshing, and dare I say nuanced, twist. Smoothly balancing self-deprecation with some quirky boasting, Boyle’s routine felt fresh and in line with today’s comedy style.
The final comedian, Nick DiPaolo, dubbed “one of the best” by host Slayton, came a bit short, loosing the audience at some punch lines that I guess either felt like recycled or dated material. Derek Seguin on the other hand – the only local Montreal performer of the evening – really stole the set with a parental take on nasty, describing his wife’s birth and the limitations of the Quebec healthcare system. In a US-centric line-up, where many of the show’s comedians used US references to commercials and television shows that don’t air in Canada, Seguin’s Quebec embellished set was clearly appreciated by the crowd.
Though we’re not blind to American media up here in Quebec, one thing the show could have benefited from was either more local references, or at least less US-only. After all, you’ve got to know your audience.
All in all, The Nasty Show held up to its reputation and offered, as always, an exciting lineup and plenty of nasty. Looking forward to checking it out again next year, though I hope more acts like Seguin and Boyle are brought to the forefront.
Coffee Town is the first feature film from the online fun-house that is College Humor. The film stars Glenn Howerton, who runs his online business from his laptop out of the local cafe (commute much?). When he hears that the owner is planning on turning the place into a sleazy nightclub he and his buddies try to stop it.
The interesting thing about Coffee Town is that for years College Humor has been drawing in massive online audiences with their comedy shorts, articles and memes but this is their first foray into feature film. The film, apart from having an all star cast, (Coffee Town is written and directed by Brad Copeland, Arrested Development, and stars Glenn Howerton, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Ben Schwartz of Parks and Recreation, Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights and singer Josh Groban) is following an alternative distribution model. By-passing theatrical release, the film is banking on digital distribution as it’s primary means of income generation. Films have been doing this for a little while now but Coffee Town is the first to rely solely on it’s online reputation to carry the film.
The film is showing this Saturday evening at Just For Laughs and will be accompanied by a Q&A with writer/director Brad Copeland, Ben, Glenn and Adrianne. You can get tickets through Just for Laughs or you can download it via iTunes and other on-demand platforms.
When: Saturday, July 27 at 7:00pm
Where: Place Des Arts – Cinquième Salle, 175 St-Catherine W., Montréal