JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL 2011: BEST BETS

Posted on June 2nd, 2011 by .

An Angus Reid poll from last year stated that Just for Laughs (or JFL as we call it), our world-famous comedy festival, is the festival Montrealers love most. And locals always know…

There are several ways to enjoy JFL and almost infinite combinations of ways to get your yuks. Things get pretty hilarious around here from July 5 to July 31. Here are 5 sure bets to split your sides at Just For Laughs:

Free falling: The cheapest, or actually free-est, way is to enjoy the outdoor events that happen on the streets during Just for Laughs. These include something called a Pinkarnaval, that includes a ready-to-wear show involving Jean-Paul Gaultier during the first weekend, then a “street art” themed sub-fest the second weekend, which will include a hip-hop battle and an international Buskerfest, so bring your loose change. Weekend three is the time for something awesome called Abbamania, and the Twins Parade, which we really can’t get enough of.


See Stars: JFL is a magnet for stars. This year’s constellation includes Eddie Izzard, Colin Quinn doing Long Story Short (a one-man stand directed by Jerry Seinfeld), Craig Ferguson, and Russell Peters. For the weirdos among you, there’s Tim Minchin. And the list goes on.

Gala Gorgeousness: Also, Russell Peters selects a lineup of his favourite comedy acts. So does Craig Ferguson. Craig Ferguson! My late-night crush, my Mr. Wick from the Drew Carey Show. Did you know he’s also a pilot? JFL has also launched a series of “themed” galas, in which a roster of comedians will perform on a chosen topic. As per tradition, galas are hosted by somebody famous who MCs the show and also does bits of monologue interspersed with the other performances. There’s Modern Love: The Relationship Show, hosted by Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family, and The Decline of the American Empire?, a political-themed gala hosted by The Daily Show’s John Oliver.

Club Mentality: This year, the fest’s wildly popular club shows are all under one banner: The One Stop World tour, which includes the Best of Britcom, O’Comics (the fest’s eternally popular Irish comics show) and Late Night Down Under. There’s still an Ethnic Show and a Homegrown Comics show, too.

Get nasty: Unlike Janet Jackson, the only thing I like better than a nasty groove is The Nasty Show. My favourite of all JFL club shows has always been this very dark, very risqué club show, which has introduced me to all my favourite comedians: Louis C.K., Doug Stanhope, Patrice O’Neal, the list goes on. See them here first before they hit the big time, then feel smug that you liked them before everybody else did. Louis C. K., in fact, returns to the festival this year to accept his Person of the Year award. Plus, there’s now a version for the ladies, called Nasty Girls ‘Night Out. And remember, her first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet/Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty.

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