Montréal’s annual comedy festival is back and flashbracket was there too to soak up the summer laughs. Every year, we try to see one or two shows, and this year we opted for The Ethnic Show hosted by Maz Jobrani and Date Night: The Relationship Show hosted by Godfrey. But you don’t need to buy tickets to partake in this summer festival favourite — head to Montréal’s Quartier des Spectacles at Place-des-arts metro and see the free outdoor stage events, spontaneous on-the-road magic and comedy acts, and a funk-playing bank dressed up as aliens (see picture below).
Watching the live performances at Quartier des Spectacles at Place des Arts
While the outdoor events are free, visitors can also purchase tickets to events headlined by a rotating group of famous and well-loved comedians that participate in the festival every year. This year saw acts such as Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live and The Lonely Island fame, “fluffy” Gabriel Iglesias, Canuck Russell Peters, and frequent Judd Apatow collaborator, Seth Rogen. The festival is kid-friendly too, with paved roads suitable for strollers, lots of sitting seats and steps, and a special family activities area.
We purchased tickets for The Ethnic Show and Date Night, both of which were held for several nights. The Ethnic Show’s tagline was “Ethnical Difficulties” and its description on the Just For Laughs website read, “Leave your Charter of Values at home – all are welcome” — a jab at former Québec premier Pauline Marois’ failed and controversial bill. The Charter of Value was not mentioned at the show — all the comedians were American, with the exception of Angelo Tsarouchas who now lives in Los Angeles — but Drake’s father showed up in the form of Erik Griffin who gave a great impression of customer service ladies. While each act was very strong, if I had to pick my favourite comedian that night I’d pick Paul Varghese, whose jokes were beyond witty and poked fun at his brown skin.
Steps at rue Sainte-Catherine and rue Saint-Urbain
Date Night was hosted by frequent Just For Laughs participant Godfrey, whose muscles were actually bigger in real life. (Seriously, I imagine that when Godfrey is not performing, he writes jokes in his head while doing on chin-ups.) Watching Godfrey on stage is like being at a sane Tony Robbins event — flexed muscles, beautiful teeth, and high energy. Some hosts can be kind of meh compared to its featured comedians, but Godfrey definitely delivered smooth, sober, and hilarious sermons between each act.
The dudes outnumbered the chicks at this event, but Lynne Koplitz held her fort, and made a great analogy of pets and men. And again, it was difficult to pick a favourite in this line up, but this is usual stuff for Just For Laughs as the festival always delivers really good comedy. There are a few days left for the rest of this year’s festival, but if you can’t catch it come back next summer. See more photos below of 2014’s event.
Previous Post: Just For Laughs
Just For Laughs Festival: Twins Parade
Water sprinklers near the kids play area
Barbeque food truck, Pas d’cochon dans mon salon, at the festival grounds
Saint-Viateur Bagels’ food truck bring Montréal famous bagels to the masses
Some PG and non-PG responses on a chalkboard that reads, “In my wildest nights…”
“Boul des Arts” (Boulevard of Arts) lists participants of the artistic projects in Quartier des Spectacles
An alien funk band rockin’ it (they were actually quite fantastic)
Live graffiti-style painting
“Date Night: The Relationship Show” at Club Soda