Just for Laughs, which takes place from July 3rd to July 26th, has already begun inundating Montreal with hundreds of funny men and women. The hugely popular comedy fest turns this wonderful city into a knee-slapping laugh riot. There is so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.
For this reason, I enlisted the aid of one hilarious Montrealer, Mike Paterson, to help you go backstage at Just for Laughs, to find out not only where he’ll be playing and which shows he’s excited for, but where to all the comedians hang out after hours….
Mike Paterson is one of Montreal’s most popular and versatile funnymen (check the clip below of he and Ryan Wilner’s lip-synch band, Never Surrender). During Just for Laughs, you can catch him at the Bubbling With Laughter showcase (July 22nd), Comedy Night In Canada (July 23rd, 24th), and alongside Tim Rabnett on CBC’s The Debaters (July 25th) I caught up with him recently to get the inside scoop on how to best experience Montreal’s internationally renowned yuk-fest.
BM: What’s it like being a Montreal comedian during Just For Laughs?
MP: This is my 9th JFL appearance, so I know where to watch the gala performances, when the free food is, where the free booze is, where the cheap booze is…
BM: What’s it like having hundreds of comedians descend on Montreal?
MP: The level of jokes on the street goes way up. Everybody’s got their A material out: Grocers, policemen, even hacky comedians get funnier. The level of fun is so thick you could cut it with a knife. If you get a bunch of contract killers together things might get dangerous, but if you get a bunch of comedians together it gets hilarious. Everyone peeks backstage. I’ve been backstage laughing my guts out almost to the second that they call my name.
BM: Where are the best places to spot comedians during the fest?
MP: Jimbo’s pub is right underneath Comedyworks and a lot of people hang out there in anonymity. I saw Bill Maher there, Lisa Lampanelli, Bobby Slayton will hang out there. And strip clubs- so I’ve heard.
BM: Any tips on how to approach a comedian?
MP: Don’t make eye contact, try to make yourself look really big and imposing… wait that’s a bear. But if you see a comedian hanging out and you have some spare jokes lying around do not offer the jokes to the comedian. Hang the jokes in a bag from a tree branch. Wait that’s still a bear.
BM: Who are you most excited to see?
MP: Bill Cosby! This dude is like 70 and he’s going to not only have problems with what his kids are doing but also what his GRANDKIDS are doing. I’m also super stoked to see the Comedy Night In Canada show- Canadian comedy is awesome and these guys are going to be the best. Plus I know all of them so it’s going to be a huge party!