Our Resident Comedy Nut Breaks Down This Year’s Festival
July 11, 2017
Hey at least Trump hasn’t ruined comedy, right? Just like Obamacare and Melania, he can’t touch comedy… can he? Ok, so there might be an increase in racist shout-outs from audience members at live shows. And maybe there are too many late night hosts (not named Trevor) paying far too much attention to the guy, unwittingly decimating libidos and shattering relationships across the planet. And yes, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have decided to back-off mocking him since satire’s become reality, but… oh f*&k … he’s ruined comedy.
Cue the resistance. Actually, I’m pretty sure comedy, by its very nature is the resistance. Not only does it help us get through tough times, but comedians are the one’s capable of raising issues in ways that dominate our feeds and impact the larger political conversation. Yes, some (beheading) jokes might bomb, but it’s all in good fun. And it is in this spirit of levity that the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal was born. This year it’s celebrating 35 years of bringing the funniest people on the planet together. So if you think about it, not only is attending this year’s fest the ultimate escape, it’s also your civic duty. Here’s how I plan on doing my part….
10. LADIES FIRST
Humour always makes tough subjects go down easier, so comedians (whether male or female) who advocate for gender equality deserve props. To me it’s ridiculous that we even need the label ‘Feminist Comic’ still, but reality is a bitch. Besides, soldiers who fight in wars should get cool titles… like ‘Major’ and ‘Admiral’ and ‘Feminist Comic’.
That being said, Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox is coming to town to host a gala, which is really cool. After killing it at last year’s fest, Corinne Fisher and Krystina Hutchinson of the hit, anti-slut shaming podcast Guys We F@*ked are back for more. Ali Wong, Natasha Leggero, Gina Yashere, Jen Kirkman… there’s really no shortage of talent this year. And sorry, I know this isn’t the place to be talking about early adolescent boners, but ‘Peg Bundy’ is coming! Katey Sagal, who’s portrayed so many strong women throughout her illustrious career, will be sitting in on ComedyPro’s Superior Donuts cast panel. So time to break out those leopard skin leotards ladies and gentlemen?
9.ROSS & ATTELL
This picture gives me goosebumps… or maybe my body is just giving me a sneak preview of the skin rash I’ll likely pick up hanging out with all the reprobates who are sure to attend this show. It’s going to be that filthy… and I couldn’t be more excited!
Ok, I realize some of you might be jumping ship right about now… and that’s fine. You’re free to take a hike. For the rest of you Joe Dirt lovers, you know what you got here. Besides this isn’t about David Spade so much as it is a prayer to the comedy gods. The man is currently touring North America with his buddies on the Here Comes the Funny Tour. So, if there is any chance of Adam Sandler and company popping by to show support…Well, start praying people! Harness in the good energy. Block out the bad.
7. ANDY KINDLER
Forget Victor the green mascot. This is the face of Just For Laughs. And if you ask me, he’s the face of the resistance too. Now, I try to limit my Twitter usage to my morning poops, but for those three minutes, I’m constantly being reminded what a warrior Andy is. Fighting off racists. Fighting against injustice. Fighting Bill Maher and Ricky Gervais. But sometimes Twitter just isn’t enough. That’s why every opportunity I get, I see him live. His Alt Show runs from July 25-29th and always features the best comics at the festival. His State of the Industry Address at ComedyPro rips on everyone else. Love this guy.
Speaking of love.. How about those folks at #FraudNewsCNN and their History of Comedy series? Seriously, is there anything cooler than comedy nostalgia? In this fleeting digital world of memes, Twitter and Snapchat, it’s so refreshing to be able to sit back and soak in the classics that have managed to last all this years! Todd Milliner, the show’s producer, has given us a beautifully curated gift here and he’ll be joining the panel at ComedyPro for what is sure to be a really fun trip through the past.
5. TREVOR NOAH
Let’s face it, we’d all be lying face down in a pool of our own feces, if it wasn’t for The Daily Show. Every night, Trevor offers up hope and makes us feel like it’s only a matter of time before people come to their senses. And Trevor, we know how f*&king sick you must be, having to talk about Trump all the time. So, thank you. You have our utmost gratitude.
4. JERRY SEINFELD & GAD ELMALEH
Jerry Seinfeld and France’s most loved comedic star Gad Elmaleh will perform for an exclusive one night only event to commemorate Just For Laugh’s 35th anniversary. It’s Jerry’s first appearance at Just For Laughs since 1989, so it’s a pretty, pretty, pretty big deal. Sorry, I just can’t seem to get through a post (or life) without quoting Larry David.
3. JUDD APATOW
If I were a network development exec casting the show My Two Dads, I would cast Judd Apatow and the ghost of Harold Ramis. They wouldn’t necessarily have to be gay, but they would live together, in a modest house with a white picket fence, raising 3 beautiful, well-adjusted children. Harold would scare away his daughter’s pervy boyfriends while Judd would just sit around making penis jokes and snacking. Together they would be huge role models and make America great again. OK, not sure WTF I just wrote, but I do know these two guys played a huge part in raising me. Anyhoo, Judd is coming back this year and playing a whole bunch of shows, which is super exciting. Maybe someone can bring a ouija board and we can try and get Harold to join in on the fun?
2. JIM CARREY
My fondness for Jim Carrey started in the early 90’s with In Living Color’s Vera De Milo and Fire Marshall Bill. But it wasn’t until he whispered the words, “Your balls are showing.” in Ace Ventura 2, that I fell hard. Twenty-two years later, the Newmarket, Ontario native is coming back home and bringing along the all-star cast of his hit Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here. Proving my earlier point, that there really is nothing cooler than comedy nostalgia!
1. Just For Laughs COMEDYPRO
This four-day event runs July 26-29 during the peak industry/media/performer dates of the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. It’s a global gathering of the funniest people on the planet. FOX, HBO, FX, Comedy Dynamics… all the top programming and development execs will be there. And they’ll be just sitting around, waiting for you to buy them a drink and tell them the sad story of how you were well on your way to becoming a comedy legend until Trump came around, decimated your libido and destroyed your life. Passes on sale now.
Ricky Letovsky is a writer, moonlighting as an art director and content creator. He’s also blatantly using ComedyPro to gain access to the people he can pitch his show ideas to.