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Published on July 27th, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Comedy's easy, writing about it is hard?

As I struggle to stay awake and catch up on writing my Just For Laughs reviews (still to come: summaries of all the Comedy Conference panels), I’ve been reading some of the coverage from both the traditional news outlets and those of us who do this online.

One writeup that jumped out at me was of the Saturday night Asssscat performance wherein the reviewer stated that the opening monologist and the improvisors reeked of “amateurism”.

Sounds plausible (everyone has bad shows), until you realize that the monologist being referred to was Nick Kroll. And the improvisers in question included Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts — who are co-founders of the UCB Theatre and the three most influential people in the North American improv community in the last decade. Enjoy the show or not, “amateurism” probably ain’t the word to use there.

And a Toronto blogger covering the same Sarah Silverman gala I reviewed here a few weeks ago dedicated only 4 sentences to the actual performances, instead filling with musings on the lighting and the bar and the time it took to go to the washroom.

My point: this isn’t an easy game, this comedy-covering thing.

There were certainly a lot of us covering Just For Laughs this year. In talking to my cohorts I found a common love of the business, and similar mental databases of comedy knowledge that usually keep us from embarrassing ourselves.

With the Comedy Conference eating up our days, shows filling our nights, and parties replacing a good night’s sleep, it was tough to write as we went along and now even tougher to catch up. It takes some thought, and our brains are mush right now, but we’re working on it. If you’re anxious to fit the pieces together now now now, check out just a few of these other sites to get a fix:


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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  • The Colbert Report A-Z

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