I’m tired of writing about how I’m tired, so I won’t. Suffice to say that while I’ve still got some truly exciting stuff looming with the last few days of JFL42 (Andy Kindler’s showcases start midnight tonight), I’m ready to reconnect with people in my life. It’s becoming apparent that I’ve been negligent on keeping up with friends, family and all that squishy etcetera. One of my best friends got in touch, obviously eager to talk about a recent important step she’d taken. I just haven’t had enough time for a decent skype.
Another friend came out of the woodwork, a guy I had lengthy chats with often during my transitional phase from home got in touch. I’d messaged him a bunch and hadn’t been getting any responses. Gradually I stopped reaching out. He sent me a great email detailing why he’d been so reclusive, the complications that arose, difficult transitions in his own life and apologies for pulling away. I sent a quick email saying I was bookmarking the conversation and that once life made sense to me again (under a week), I’d get back to him in depth.
I’ve had little bits of time here and there with my girlfriend, but fewer large worthwhile chunks. I haven’t seen my flatmate since this festival started. A wedding invite from friends back home arrived. It’s probably almost time for my monthly parental check in. I have good friends here I haven’t seen in over a month. Then there are the girls I had nice dates with before things got hectic. It’s reminded me that I have a life that I’ve sidestepped, but more importantly that I’ll be happy to go back to.
Quick recap done, which means it’s time to look briefly at what I saw last night. Four shows, all different in tone. First up was Ladystache, a Toronto based sketch comedy troupe. I’m not a big sketch comedy fan for the most part. Silly humour doesn’t do a lot for me, which seems to be the base of most sketch comedy. Ladystache was no exception. Just because it wasn’t quite my thing however, that doesn’t detract from the fact that it hit all the notes it needed to and then some. The crowd lapped it up for good reason. Two talented ladies Allison Hogg and Steph Tolev put together an hour’s worth of disparate sketches. A few callbacks tied some together, but the plots were all over the place. Wonderfully mad, highlights included a pushy travel agent with a propensity for The Mask re-enactments, a frighteningly accurate Björk impression and some uncomfortably funny crowd interaction. Their abundant energy overflowed, budging even a curmudgeon like me.
Kate Berlant followed, in a brilliantly bizarre parody of deadbeat philosophy, naturopathy, fortune telling and everything woo woo. A combination of crowd work and insane stream of consciousness, it was a beautifully modular set playing on the commonality of social pretentiousness. It’s the kind of show you could watch endlessly, changing with the energy of each new crowd. While I was totally on board, the seams strained a little at the hour mark. Cutting it down would’ve been nothing but impact, but my attention had trouble going the distance. She’s one to watch.
I can’t remember the name of Mike Ward’s opener, but he was fucking fantastic. Lots of great one liners that were clever, a little dirty but went down a treat. Mike Ward himself? More like Meh-k Ward. That feels unnecessarily mean, I just like words. The host of The Naughty Show in Montreal, his set felt like a comedian’s equivalent of Cards Against Humanity. Sick humour isn’t funny purely by virtue of pushing boundaries if there’s nothing in it beyond being nasty. An assortment of pedophile jokes, sex jokes and a lengthy but unfulfilling joke (apt) about putting his penis in a champagne glass. Everything felt done before, wrapped up in a traditional “ain’t I a stinker?” mentality. It was broad humour that lacked the sharpness of someone like Jimmy Carr. If you’re gonna do dirty, you’ve gotta at least compensate by making it clever. At some point I left to go to the bathroom and didn’t bother returning for the last 10 minutes.
Arthur Simeon was a hugely likeable dude. Born in Uganda, he regaled with tales of growing up in a house of 4 women, going to an all-boy’s school, culture shock and the true value of cheap bacon. With nothing following him, he continued past the hour, happy to keep going. Having seen four shows, I had to tap out and interact with my poor neglected girlfriend instead of my mistress, comedy.
Another four shows tonight then three more nights. Give me strength. Also chocolate coated coffee beans.