Festivals

Published on July 13th, 2010 | by Sharilyn Johnson

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10 Tips for a Laminated Just For Laughs Montreal

While I’m on a plane to Winnipeg tomorrow, many of you are headed to Just For Laughs in Montreal. Some, presumably, for the first time.

I know my absence is soul-crushing to most of you (just play along). So as my legacy to all the n00b Press and Industry types, please enjoy these 10 handy tips I’ve learned during my five previous visits to Montreal.

10) Just buy tickets for shows you care about seeing, particularly if you’re Press. I know, it hurts your ego more than it does your wallet. But trust me: the Montreal fest is historically stingy with tickets and you won’t find out you’ve been denied something until they call you at 5pm the day-of. If they call you at all.

9) Industry, if you go the freebie route to get into the clubs, hide your laminate as soon as you get inside. Some of them take the “standing room” thing very seriously, and I have been yelled at for daring to step outside my assigned square foot of floorspace.

8 ) Ladies, wear flats at all times. You will walk more than you realize, because that 20 year old development assistant you befriended at the 10 To Watch reception swears the venue is “just around the corner!”. 2 miles later…

7) Skip the Midnight Party on Friday. Are you here to dance or are you here to schmooze? You can’t do both. By all means, put in an appearance, but all the cool old folks are hanging out at the Hyatt bar.

6) Don’t wait ’til Saturday night to try to have a conversation with someone. The Hyatt bar gets ridiculously packed. Chances are you will not get to them.

5) If you qualify for transportation from the airport, put down the Blackberry and get to know your van-mates. Confined spaces make for fantastic candid conversations.

4) If you get comp’d for a gala at the St-Denis, and you’re given tickets in the front 2/3 of the hall, realize that because it’s TV, you can’t leave. Even to pee. Just chill at the back of the theatre and they’ll fill your empty seats close to showtime with an appreciative set of suburbanites. You’ll be free to linger at the back and get the hell out of there whenever you please.

3) Get to Andy Kindler’s State of the Industry EARLY. It’s always packed.

2) Don’t fly out first thing Sunday morning. If you’ve experienced Just For Laughs correctly, you will be in no state to do so.

1) Read my reviews of Noel Fielding’s and Mike Birbiglia’s shows from last week in Toronto so you know what to expect! (Which ties into the bonus schmooze lesson of “make everything about YOU”.)

Have fun, kids! I’ll be keeping abreast of the tweeted and blogged festivities from my spot on the beach, trying not to weep into my Palm Pre.


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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