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Published on July 13th, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Summer of Comedy

Ah, summer! Time to head into a dark room and enjoy some comedy!

The Toronto edition of Just For Laughs starts this Tuesday. I’ll be taking in Danny Bhoy’s one-man show on Tuesday, the Sarah Silverman / Louis CK / David Cross / John Mulaney / Arj Barker / Todd Glass gala on Friday night (yes, seriously, all those people on ONE bill).

Today in the info-inexplicably-excluded-from-JFL’s-website spotlight: there will be free shows at Dundas Square on Friday and Saturday nights, the most notable being Russell Peters Saturday at 8:30. Peters is the hottest comic in Canada – has been for a while – so mild pandemonium should be expected.

Further to the Montreal edition of Just For Laughs, specifically the questionable scheduling of some of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre performers’ shows, I recieved this handy bit of information over the weekend:

“What the JFL schedule doesn’t tell you is that many of the UCB slots are scheduled the same way they are in NY & LA, which is two shows in one slot. So both Chris Gethard and Lennon Parham have two shows, although neither of their first shows are listed. Instead, they’re listed as being guest stars of The Hills. So, on Wed, July 22nd, at 10pm, there will be The Hills followed by Gethard’s Magical Box of Stories. And on Thursday, July 23rd, there will be the Hills followed by Lennon Parham’s She Tried To Be Normal. And then on Saturday, they will also be paired with shows. Gethard will be paired with Two White Guys and Parham will be paired with The Birthday Boys. Why is it so confusing!?”

Yes, why! But this is good news for anyone unable to catch their shows on the Saturday afternoon — you’ll get a second (well, first) chance earlier in the week.

As I’ve learned this year, what JFL Montreal keepeth away, JFL giveth something else. Andy Dick has been added to this year’s Montreal lineup, with 2 solo shows at the Cabaret on July 24th and 25th. I’d pay extra to get a seat in the Canadian customs interrogation room, because I’m continually in awe of his ability to get across the border.

I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention one other notable show at JFL Montreal: a preview screening of Judd Apatow’s Funny People, Saturday July 25.

funny_peopleFor months, I was on the fence about whether Funny People was worth heavily anticipating. How many times has Hollywood been able to produce a film about comedians that was completely accurate and fair in its portrayal? If you haven’t been paying attention, the Universal Pictures publicity machine is chugging along at full- speed, and the more I see of this film, the more optimistic I am that they got it right. I’ll be filing my review as soon as I can churn it out, so you can discover whether this optimism is foolish.

The official site ( will point you to everything you need to see right now, including Apatow’s “podcast” about the production, the R-rated trailer, and this refreshingly un-wacky promo shot of the cast.

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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