Just for Laughs (2015)

Annually, Montréal sponsors a series of gala performances put on by some of the most famous stand-up comics. This year Norm MacDonald, that lady from Glee, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Stewart, Mike Myers, and a bunch of others are performing, but they go on late and tickets are pricy. So, we’ve never been to a show.

What we have done and what we do again this summer is visit the festival grounds at the heart of Montréal’s arts district where food trucks descend, paid street performers put on shows and crazies roam the streets in comic performance art. The crazies are wonderful! A couple unlikely and very inept ninjas roam the grounds, sneaking up on people and furtively moving through the crowd. A man sits on a lawn chair in full fishing regalia with his fishing line in the sewer. Some massive heads dance in the food court.

We catch a handful of free shows before and after supper. El Mètre is a silent performer who put on a one hour family program. He gets ready to propose to his true love. Ultimately, she calls and cancels the date, so he pulls a lovely blond out of the crowd – my sister-in-law April – and proposes to her instead. His folding rulers are made into a multitude of shapes which he then mimes to music with. A few jokes are risqué, but we are in Montréal and the crowd loves it. April hams it up too.

We feast on poutine. Mine is Sicilienne – sausage, spicy sauce, banana peppers. Blaise gets smoked meat. Amber is blown away by some seasoned corn on the cob. We sit down at a picnic table with Bear Woods and his lovely family. He is a starting defensive line backer with the Alouettes. He is recovering from an upper body injury, so he wasn’t on the field when we watched the team play last week.

There is an 11 man a cappella group crooning soft rock hits. Two heavily made up men simply style hair on stage. Three guys are on stilts while a fourth isn’t as he’s the baby – these are my favourite. I’m not sure this could be pulled off effectively with a western crowd.

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