I survived. Better yet, I thrived.
JFL42 is over for another year. What a year it was. As I said yesterday, I opted for quality over quantity this year and it paid dividends. Yesterday I went to a talk on mental health in comedy. There were laughs, naturally, but a lot of wise words. The panel was Byron Bowers, DeAnne Smith, Andy Kindler and Jessica Holmes, along with moderator Allison Dore. Byron was a performer I’d only recently seen for the first time, but a ton of his set involves some intense vulnerability. He talks about his father being a homeless schizophrenic, dealing with abuse, and intrusive thoughts. It was a solid show, and it became pretty evident throughout that he was a deep thinker that’d done a lot of self analysis. During the panel, everyone spoke to different aspects of performance, anxiety, depression, and what worked for them. It was compassionate, and fascinating. The number of times I found myself involuntarily grunting my agreement was astounding.
After the talk, I had some downtime, and I wanted to prep. The next show I had booked was a live reading of Harold and Kumar. I thought it’d only be fitting to get quite high and have snacks. I did both of those things. I pulled out my vape and dawdled along King Street towards Dollarama. On the way I stumbled across a Bulk Barn, which was oh so much better. I got a bunch of candy, then bought a large fountain drink at the cinema. High? Check. Candy? Check. Absurdly sized Mountain Dew? Check. I was ready.
The reading was a ton of fun. They had a fantastic cast assembled. Warren Sonoda, the film’s director was there. The biggest name would’ve been Stephanie Beatriz (Rosa from Brooklyn 99), but the rest of the panel were all super talented. Local comic Mark Forward proved unequivocally that there’s no such thing as a small part, utterly stealing the show as the Elevator Ding. It was a cool set up. Aside from Stephanie and Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) as Kumar and Harold respectively, everyone played a ton of parts. They all had scripts with their lines highlighted, and everyone got a chance to have a ton of fun scenes. Ann Pornel had a particularly inspired turn as a rabid raccoon. The whole thing was such a neat experience. Seeing these actors getting to let loose and have fun with the script was fantastic. Every once in a while I’d close my eyes and try to view it as a film in my mind’s eye, if that made sense. The show ran long, and I had to skip my booked 7pm act. I didn’t care in the slightest, I’d had such a great time.
Late Bad was its usual brand of brilliant bollocks. As the unofficial “last night” of the festival, Comedy Bar went off until 4am last call. Hell, it probably went off for longer, but I had a serious need for sleep. One last Late Bad show tonight, that I’ll check in on after work, then I may sit out the comedy for a week or two. I think I’ve earned it.