Comedy, sleep, comedy, sleep. Oh, and a Magic the Gathering pre-release event thrown in there because why not? In there I had my favourite night of the festival so far.
6.45pm – Danny Bhoy.
This was a gift, pure and simple. Danny Bhoy is a renown internationally touring comedian. Hell, I probably saw him do a sold out show ten years ago in New Zealand. He sells out venues like Massey Hall. Why did he slip in to do two unannounced shows in, as he calls it, comedy’s version of Hitler’s bunker? He’s road testing material for a Canadian tour. Easily my favourite gig in the festival so far, Danny is a fucking charmer. He’s got a really down to earth sensibility with a vibrant physical presence and outstanding delivery. Translation: I’m not a good enough writer to make his jokes work in written form. Quick on his feet, he made himself open for dialogue, doing a fair bit of crowd work, including a pristine moment of a crowd member doing a callback. After the room (and Bhoy himself) erupted into laughter he replied “you do one callback to something that just happened and that gets an applause break? You wouldn’t believe how many callbacks I’ve got stored in here. You’ll see. Later.”
Once again, it was funnier if you were there, but most comedians are.
9pm – Dana Gould.
Remember when I said it sounded like Dana came to the Guys We Fucked podcast with a number of prepared bits? That’s because basically everything he said was ripped right from his set. Bummer. FORTUNATELY they were all better in context. A fucking great hour that spanned from the attack protocol of chimpanzees to how shitty it would be to be a mermaid. Gould did an excellent job of spanning between the irreverence and morbidity without skipping a beat. Also some of the fanciest mic technique I’ve seen in some time.
11pm – Ronny Cheing.
Before this gig I saw some buff asian dude standing by himself in Comedy Bar. I was on my own and knew full well how much it sucks waiting in a place alone when there’s no cell reception, so I started asking him how his festival was going, who he’d seen, etc. He seemed a little taken aback, but we chatted a little, then I saw a friend, said goodbye and lined up to see Ronny.
Turns out I’d been talking to Ronny. Funny.
Ronny did a great set, veering towards the sarcastic and acerbic. I don’t know why this was such a dumb watershed moment, but I can’t believe it took me this long to realise the extent to which physical expression can elevate jokes. Captain Obvious, right? It’s not everyone’s style, but when it works it kills. Ronny was all over the stage and his presence lifted his performance a ton. An almost Hicks-ian bit about reviewers (okay, like a very sedate Hicks, if we’re being honest) and how shitty it is to judge people trying to create happiness, had my reviewer friend and I giggling profusely. I mean, I’ve always been brazen about why I review, right? I love seeing comedy almost as much as I love not paying for it. Ronny had the last set in the Comedy Bar mainspace, so he took his time and did a couple more jokes. I think tonight (Sunday) might be his last set at JFL42, if you get the chance, take it.
By this point I was pretty bushed (on a day where I’d had all of 4.5 hours sleep and enough caffeine to compensate), so I was a little spacey here. Any notes I could’ve taken would be supplanted by the fact that I thought a midnight beer would be fun, but was instead a one way ticket to snoozeville. It was a swell trip, if I’m honest.
Hasan Minhaj, Sabrina Jalees and Gary Gulman tonight. One hell of a lineup.