Published on June 24th, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Calendar Cleanup: Just For Laughs & Del Close Marathon

What the below photo illustrates – other than a dire need to upgrade my cellphone – is that Toronto has officially been hit with a Just For Laughs marketing blitz. Banners like these line the busiest downtown thoroughfares, bright green posters adorn the bus shelters, and it seems there’s no excuse for anyone not to realize that in just 3 weeks, Toronto will host the 3rd annual offshoot of the Montreal fest.

Image1After skipping last year’s festivities, I’ll be taking in at least one show this year — the Friday night gala, hosted by Sarah Silverman and featuring Arj Barker, John Mulaney, Louis CK, and Todd Glass. Sweet ticket, eh? I’d pay good money to see any one of those folks individually. Which leads me to my “but”.

The impossibly impressive lineup for the Headliners series, taking place at Yuk Yuk’s, features half-hour sets from some of the bigger names in the biz. Across the 6 shows, you may see Steve Byrne, Greg Proops, Arj Barker, John Mulaney, John Caparulo, Gina Yashere, Jimeoin, Ross Noble, Jimmy Carr, Mark Watson, or Todd Glass.

But who is doing which show isn’t provided. I’m seeing Arj, Mulaney, and Glass at the gala so I don’t need to see them again. I’m definitely seeing Noble and Carr in Montreal. And aside from my own schedule; yes, it does actually matter to some people who they see. We all know a 50-something woman in accounts payable who would be very excited to buy tickets to see “a comedian!” and come Monday excitedly tell us all about the nachos the club served. But comedy-savvy individuals who recognize at least half the names on that list are likely a tad frustrated by this game of headliner roulette. Let’s roll this baby out!


I do bring good news, though — today, the Montreal edition of JFL finally unveiled the lineups for the Bubbling with Laughter series! A quick scan and it’s obvious why this is such a hot ticket year after year. Behold, the glorious block of text: http://www.hahaha.com/en/show_detail/108/0/262/

Also, more scheduling info is now available via a pdf that’s been posted to the public site for the JFL Comedy Conference (http://web2.hahaha.com/conference/pdf/DailySchedule_22_06_9.pdf). It stresses that “all lineups are subject to change, and probably will change”. Take that statement seriously.

Still to be announced: lineups for Alternative Show, Comedy Night In Canada, Go West. Unlikely to be announced until day-of: The Masters, New Faces, Best of the Fest. We’re getting there.

Oh, and the lineup for the JFL Film Festival? Pretty nice. http://web2.hahaha.com/microsite/FilmEn/Film


Quick updates for the Del Close Marathon which I wrote about earlier this week.

-It appears the Daily Show / Colbert Report Improv Jam is indeed no more. It’s a damn shame, because it was a definite highlight the previous two years, and even featured John Oliver performing improv for the very first time ever in ’07 (he was slow to come off the back line, but ultimately impressed everyone). The Saturday evening slot that was previously left open is now occupied by the Swarm.

-Seems I spoke too soon about Amy Poehler. Her name has since been removed from the schedule, so she will spend another Marathon far far away from the theatre she co-founded.

-As has been brought up by other bloggers: what happened to late-night Boston-themed mainstay Wicked F*ckin’ Queeyah? The hell, guys? It just isn’t a DCM without WFQ (or without me showing up the next morning and hearing what I missed during WFQ).

On a positive note, though, big congrats to the three Toronto teams performing in DCM this year: Big In Japan, WDWMKR, and Standards & Practices. Although this will significantly hinder the impact of me going around bragging about attending DCM like I love to do, trust me that the sweet slots they’ve all gotten on the schedule are very well deserved.

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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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    Third Beat editor Sharilyn Johnson presents the ultimate fan guide to The Colbert Report, available from all major booksellers including amazon.com