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Published on June 10th, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson


It's mid-June; do you know where your JFL programming is?

Devoted Just For Laughs attendees are accustomed to having a nearly full schedule on their laps by the third week of May, and by now have put their Excel skills to the test and figured out a way to see absolutely everyone they want to see within their precious few days in Montreal.

But nay, Just For Laughs Chicago – that hussie of a new young festival – has taken some of the focus away from our longtime companion, who has now become a second priority. But Montreal will not be jilted like this! Nuh-uh, girlfriend. She may be in her late 20s, but she ain’t dead, and to prove it, she’s gone and had a makeover. A pretty extreme one. (Wow, hon, that’s a… big change… that’s very very blonde… I didn’t think a doctor would be willing to inject that much collagen into a bottom lip… and are those D-cups?)

Indeed, navigating the website for JFL’s new “Zoofest” programming arm is akin to browsing your newly divorced female friend’s Facebook photos after a drunken night of trying to pick up 18 year old boys. You’ll always love her, you’ll always support her, but it’s really hard to look at her right now.

Don’t believe me? http://www.zoofest.ca


Don’t worry — you can look away from it now. I’m about to do you a HUGE favor and actually type out the list of shows. Here it goes:

A Quoi Tu Peneses?
Amp’d – The Music Show
Anatomy of a Love
Aziz Ansari
Best of Sketch (Bilingual)
Best of the English Montreal Fringe
Cafe Cafe
Charlypop & Friends
Chris Gethard & Sketch
Cognac & Sausage
Crash Test
De 3 A 4
Ecole Nationale
De L’Humour
Fabrice Eboue & Donel Jack’sman
Four Minutes If You Bleed
Gaydailles Show
Gina Yashere
Girly Show
Greatest Concert Ever
Hills & Chris Gethard
Hills Reading & Lennon
Homegrown Comic Competition
Humour et Magie
Improvised Shakespeare
Jonathan Lambert
Kate Micucci
Kev Adams
Lady Peablossoms Sanctuary
Le Meilleur Francophone du Festival Fringe de Montreal
Lennon Parham & Sketch
Les Grandes Burlesques
Les Jambons de L’Humour
Marc Maron – Scorching the Earth
Mark Watson
MC Gilles
Mini-Gala Bang!
New Faces of Comedy
Nikki Payne
North America’s Best Comic
Once and For All We’re Gonna Tell You….
Paradise Lost
Paul Provenza
Redouanne Harjane
Ross Noble
Show XXX
Silent Disco
Simon Amstell
Sketchs Pour Rire
The Alternative Comedy Show
The Bitter End
The Girl In the Picture Tries to Hang Up the Phone
The Human Voice
The King’s Conscience
The Sketch Show
Thomas Ngicol
Tom & Verino
Tomboy Band of the Future
Top 5
UCB Gets You Laid
Uncalled For
Underplayed & In Demand
Whiteman’s Wiskey Comedy Revue

You’re welcome.

The good news is, when you see it typed out like that, the lineup is rock solid. Awesome programming job by JFL, even if the same can’t be said for their Flash developer. There are a few UCB-LA shows that I’m thrilled I’ll have the opportunity to see. I’ve failed to see Improvised Shakespeare on my treks to NYC but have heard amazing things. In short, “gala? what’s a gala?”

Awkwardly poking around the site, you’ll find that a ton of details are missing. Dates for shows are stated, but not times. The links to buy tickets are dead until the onsale date (June 13, incidentally, which you wouldn’t know unless you read the Montreal Gazette). And some titles are definitely wonky… for example, Lennon Parham has a solo show that they’ve titled “Lennon Parham & Sketch”, but based on the description it’s clearly her excellent show She Tried To Be Normal. Does this mean Gethard is doing Magical Box of Stories? Is Provenza doing straight standup or is he doing The Greenroom again?

And is this graphically intense site designed to be easily updated with all the artist names? I’d love to know who’s doing the Alternative Show alongside Andy Kindler, and who from UCB is doing Asssscat. Curious, too, about the lineup for Crash Test (although simply by being at JFL, the spirit of that show changes significantly).

Note that the lineup for the film portion of the festival isn’t being announced for another week yet, so this doesn’t help with people’s marathon schedule-making in time to buy tickets on Saturday (we’re also missing lots from the main JFL schedule, most notably the lineups for Bubbling With Laughter).

And I’m flummoxed by the existence of the Homegrown Comic Competition (where finalists from each region in Canada compete), because they’re also doing a Homegrown at the Toronto edition just one week earlier. Are there two winners? Or is it like figureskating, with one set marked on technical and the other on artistic?

Despite all the questions this site raises (least of which being “how much did you pay for this thing?”), I’m happy with the content. Any reservations I had about attending JFL this year have dissipated. Time to book a flight!


Hey, industry types! As previously reported, Just Comedy is no more, but there is an industry “event” this year. We still haven’t gotten details via our standard industry e-blast, but lo and behold, through the power of Google, a new website with a few details does exist: http://web2.hahaha.com/conference/

Today is June 10 and the deadline to take advantage of the early bird registration rate is June 19, so one assumes they’re planning on telling everyone about this sometime within the next 8 days. (As a disclaimer, I haven’t registered, so it may turn out to not be fully functional yet.)

About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

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