Just for Laughs 2013: Britcom at l'Astral
Surprisingly, the show was hosted by an American, Rich Hall, who began the evening with dry, amusing observations about Montreal. "I was reading the Gazette's obituary section and it seems everyone here either dies suddenly or peacefully," he said. "I want to die both suddenly and peacefully."
Mike delighted in interacting with the crowd. After an audience member said he was an internet technician, Rich cautioned against the dangers of working too much; that it might have a negative impact on the man's marriage. "Put down the spreadsheets and get under the bedsheets," he said. "Or she'll find a new service provider."
Joe Lycett was the first act. He spoke at length about sexual orientation and poked fun at stereotypes. One day, he asked his personal trainer why he works out so much, to which the man replied, "I like to know I can handle myself in a fight." Bringing up the fact that one rarely finds themselves in a fight, Joe paralleled the absurdity of working out constantly to wearing a beekeeper's uniform at all times in the rare chance one encounters a swarm.
Chris Ramsey is from the South Shield, U.K. He described how people from various areas of the U.K. have nicknames. "People from the South Shield are called Sandancers," he said. "How ridiculous and mythical does that sound?"
Rich introduced Andrew Lawrence as "The Verbal Machinegun," which was an apt moniker because he spoke very quickly and in long sentences. It was an effective style, drawing the listener in, forcing them to keep up until the joke ended on what was always a razor-sharp punchline.
Midnight Beast was a musical comedy act comparable to SNL darlings, Lonely Island. From boy-band style synchronized dancing to catchy hooks, this band was genuinely enjoyable to watch. They satirized the popular Jay-Z song "Big Pimpin'" with their own version, "Medium Pimpin'."
Introduced by Rich as a Rubik's Cube master, Adam Bloom took the stage with a slew of incredible one-liners. "The average girl does not find me attractive," he said. "Which is really depressing because she's average." Later, he described his impressions of Montreal. "You know what I like about your city? You have bilingual beggars," he said. "If you speak two languages in England, you can get a job at the embassy."
Eric Lampaert, who also performed in Le Bilingual Show, offered the Britcom audience many of the same jokes from the night before as well as some new material. He described how a heckler once likened him to "Narnia." "Not a character from Narnia, all of Narnia!" exclaimed Eric.
The evening was wrapped up by a surprise guest comic: the legendary Eddie Izzard. He graced the audience with clever material rife with interesting historical references. Did you know there was 350 years of French-speaking kings of England? Neither did I.
I've never seen anyone so comfortable onstage. Eddie casually strolled from one side to the other in a stylish pair of slim fit pants. He addressed the audience with his characteristic warm charisma -a quality that makes him both captivating and persuasive. "Follow my logic," he said. "I'm a transvestite. I've got good logic."
The crowd went wild with applause following Eddie's set and I went wild along with them. Britcom was by far my favorite show at Just for Laughs (JFL).
More information on the event's official JFL page.
Photograph taken by yours truly.