JFL42 is here. What’s JFL42 you might ask? Just For Laughs Fourty Two, for those of you with a bitter distaste for acronyms. Ten days of relentless stand up, sketch and podcast recordings in venues across downtown Toronto. For a thrifty part-time comedy nerd like me it might as well be Christmas, or Hanukkah, or the TIFF of comedy. It’s the time where I get to forego having a life for watching show after show, night after night. I kiss my girlfriend goodbye for ten days (and probably goodnight late each evening when I walk in before collapsing only to rise for work in the morning like a zombie. What is dead may never day, etc etc) and instead become that annoyingly friendly dude waiting in line outside The Royal Theatre.
The best part of this whole endeavour is it doesn’t cost me a cent. Unless we’re counting time as money, as the maxim goes. I get to review it for Live in Limbo and at the end of ten days, turn in something like this. Is that fair? I have no idea, but I’m not gonna question it as long as the opportunity is available.
One thing I want to clear up before the festival begins (and I’ve got two hours here), is how the pass system works. Headliners are one thing (because the festival organisers have to put bums in seats somehow), but credits are quite another. I’ve seen friends buying tickets to individual club gigs (which is an option) for $25 (plus tax). If you’re just gonna see one show, that’s fine. Thing is, the cheapest pass available is $55 (plus tax) and gives you two credits with which to book shows. You with me so far? Here’s the fun bit. Once you’ve walked into a show you can check in on your phone and you get your credit back. It doesn’t disappear, it goes back into your account, ready to book another show. There’s no time limit on this, you can book another show for the same night if you want.
Are you following me up to this point?
For $55, you can see as much comedy as you can handle. At worst you can pay $55 and see three or four shows or so over ten days. Even better, you can see three to four shows per night if you want. That’s amazing, right? Why would anyone pay more than $55? Well the other side is that the more popular gigs may get booked out early, so while you can see as much as you want, you might not see every single show you want to see if you don’t book in advance. The option? More credits! It’s $80 (plus tax) for four credits or $100 (plus tax) for six. I saw 23 shows last year. Even if you were to push for as many as six credits, is 20 shows for $100 (plus tax of course. You can never forget tax) worth it? That still seems like a pretty great deal. In my seasoned (two seasons) opinion, the four credit pass is more than enough to make sure you see what you want, but if you’re a worrier, you can always pay the extra $20 or so to ease your mind.
In any case, it’s all I’m gonna be talking about for the next little while. Tonight I’ve got Joe DeRosa, The Guys We F***ked podcast and the Put Your Hands Together podcast. Things are gonna get loose around here over the next ten days. Because who needs to sleep anyway?