JFL42 day five. We’re at the half way of the festival and my mind has already forsaken sanity for the colourful allure of delirium. Sleep at this point feels like cheating and I’m nothing if not honest. I don’t know if I’m a high functioning destitute or if this is all a dream and I’m chained up in a subterranean lair somewhere freebasing ground ceiling plaster.
Anyway, last night was an excellent night of comedy.
6.45pm – Hasan Minhaj.
I didn’t know Hasan Minhaj all of three weeks ago. I heard him on You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes and followed my instincts. He sounded like a really onto it guy, compassionate, insightful and funny. A Daily Show correspondent with Indian heritage, the idea of hearing from a perspective so different to my own seemed enticing. Seeing his one man show, “Homecoming King” was an experience akin to last year’s one man show by Chris Gethard. I’m already a fan of the format, it mixes stand up and theatre and uses its prepared nature to achieve a balance of hilarity and heartfelt sincerity.
Hasan was outstanding. Something I really appreciated was his inclination towards bilingual punchlines. Every once in a while he’d deliver in Urdu (I think. I hope. I’m sorry if I’m ignorantly wrong on this), to gasps and laughs around the room, then once he’d repeat it in English the laughter would echo as the rest of the room got the joke. It never felt token or hacky, it didn’t interrupt the flow, it purely made sense within the scope of the show. Top marks. Let me be clear, he wasn’t funny because he was different, he was funny and he was different. A standing ovation has rarely been so easily deserved.
9pm – Sabrina Jalees.
Opening for Sabrina was Amanda Brooke Perrin, who delivered one of my top three Beethoven bits I’ve ever heard. She killed. Totally and utterly. I’ll add in “completely” for a secondary redundancy. She’s a local, so I’m gonna make a point of catching a full set when I can. Awesome, awesome job.
I saw Sabrina two years back and she was fucking great, so I knew I was in for a gut-buster. Once again, she delivered. A couple of old bits, but tons of new material. It took a little bit to find her footing, but once she did she was on a solid roll. In a moment that can’t be described as anything less than magical, she made a joke about a dude in the front row’s sperm spilling out “millions of little Michaels.”
“Michael is my name.” He replied.
“You’re fucking with me.” She said “I’m gonna need to see your licence.
Handing it over, Sabrina confirmed his full name and the room lost its shit. “You deserve some kind of prize” she stated. She started running around the stage, then sprinted off stage right and emerged with an unopened beer. It didn’t matter what she did from that point onward, she was a magician and we were under her spell.
11pm – Gary Gulman.
You know, I’d never seen Gulman before, but he’s always had an excellent reputation. A clean comic seemed like a welcome reprieve from performers trying to go for gross-out shit. A six foot six gentle giant, his deliver was slow, plodding and very, very clever. He’d start out with these simple premises, easy to latch onto. Then over the course of ten minutes he’d build and build till your mind had an internal conflict of how did he get here//how did I not expect this? From a darkly relatable bit on picking up ice cream from the store, to an amazing extended piece on the contraction of U.S. State initials to two letters, he destroyed the late night crowd without reaching for a single perverse joke. Masterful.
In Conversation with Dan Harmon tonight and I can hardly believe it. At this stage, I don’t know if snorting ceiling plaster is helping or not.