Zoofest! I’m so glad it’s back again in all its weird and wonderful glory. The fest, begun as an off-shoot of Just For Laughs three years ago has come a long way in a short time (don’t even get me started on what their inaugural website looked like – my eyes still sting) and continues to bring the funny and the strange in a well-curated program of up-and-coming comedians and genre-defying performers. This year, they’ve doubled their programming: from July 9–31, we’ll have our choice of 83 original shows from over 200 artists. And all this can be yours for the low price of $39!…
Really and truly, the Zoofest pass is one of the best deals in this festival town. While the shows’ ticket prices are quite affordable in the first place, the pass alleviates some of the risk in seeing acts you’ve never heard of – and when you leave the show, stomach muscles cramped from laughing, mind blown, you’ll feel like you hit it big in Vegas or something. The subversive, darkly funny side of Vegas, where stars claw their way up with brute talent and hard work. If we’re lucky, maybe some of them will wear sequins and feathered headdresses (it’s happened before).
Cases in point: the hilarious Paul F. Tompkins; the awesome Khalil Ashanti’s Basic Training; Montreal favourite and all-around fabulous person DeAnne Smith not only does stand-up but is the writer behind Other People’s Problems, performed by Sarah Quinn; the bizarre-meets-deadpan theatrics of The Pajama Men; UK comedian Russell Howard; Australian comedian Adam Hills; the very funny guest star on Tim and Eric: Awesome Show and The Sarah Silverman Program, Maria Bamford; Broken Lizard’s The Fat Man and Little Boy Show; SNL writer John Mulaney; SNL and 30 Rock writer Hannibal Buress; NYC’s Eugene Mirman, known for playing the landlord on Flight of the Conchords and for a stint on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Just Laughs mainstay and star of Who’s Line Is It Anyway?’s Greg Proops, to name just a whole bunch.
That’s the comedy (and that’s just some of the English-language stuff! If you’re a French speaker there’s, like, a whole other hilarious world of entertainment at Zoofest for you!), but, being an odd little festival intent on winning our hearts, Zoofest takes it a step further, with the jazz and blues stylings of New Orleans’ band Meschiya Lake and the ‘Lil Big Horns, the guitar-infused comedy of Nick Thune, the pop-funk of Montreal’s Damien Robitaille, the slight insanity of L.A. rapper Mickey Avalon, the harmonic indie-pop of The Darling Demaes and hip-hop cabaret End of the Weak.
Plus, in association with Zoofest, Local Montreal offers daily off-the-beaten-path tours of Montreal arts and cultural nooks and crannies. Yeah, Zoofest is a little “different,” but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Zoofest, July 9-31, 2011