You may be asking yourself where our Day 5 article is, well, we didn’t go to any shows on Day 5. There in lies the rub with festivals. You may be tempted to stay out very late and push yourself too hard but I know my limits. I start doing that, I get snippy and don’t laugh. I may not get to see every show I WANT to see but if I push myself too hard I wont enjoy it, if I don’t enjoy it I deprive the artist of an audience member who will enjoy it and a fan of a chance to see something they enjoy and that's bad mojo all around. That’s just my personal take though, your mileage may vary, just do what feels good for you.
Back into the game tonight though I started with a real treat, Matt Braunger with D.J. Demers opening. Both are great light hearted and welcoming comedians. After a day off they were the perfect duo to get my laugh wheels back up and spinning again especially on a night where the weather took a turn for the weird.
Before I get too far into my recap of my evening I want to just lay out the rules I set out for myself and what I’m doing. If you’re looking for a review or a blow by blow breakdown of the acts you’re not going to get that here. My hope is to lay out a quick biography of the acts that I see followed by a brief feeling of the night as well as some of the themes touched on. Give you a little taste for the type of energy and laughs to expect and hopefully entice you out to see some of these acts yourself either at the festival or around town if you have a chance.
The weather was confusing today, it was hot and cold intermittently with heavy pregnant clouds hanging over the city threatening rain. Despite all this I was excited, this is like a Comedy Birthday for me (especially since on many years it ends around or on my birthday) and I was starting the festival by seeing Courtney Gilmour, an act I had seen as an opening act last year and I was really excited to see her headline.
10 Must Brings 3 Maybe Brings and 1 Leave At Home items for your JFL42 Experience (aka building your own Go For Laughs Bag)
Going to a festival is a different beast from going to a regular show, every festival is different and JFL42 is no different. Now, going to JFL42 isn’t like going to Burning Man or Coachella. There’s no need to worry about packing up your fun fur covered automobile with your giant pagan goat mask collection (one for each day of the week) or fretting over which bikini to bedeck in glitter and colour coordinate with your furry boots and glow sticks but there are some practical concerns for the enthusiastic festival goer.
After four years of going to the festival I’ve perfected my personal go bag for attending the festival. Today I’m going to walk you through 10 must haves, three maybe brings and one leave at home item to bring along with you.
We at the Comedy Album Book Club love sharing our comedy nerdiness with people, so in that spirit, we’re going to take you along for the ride of my ten days in comedy paradise. Ten days a year the city of Toronto turns into a comedy fan’s playground. JFL42, an offshoot of Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival, that has evolved into its very own special entity. Growing over the years it has adopted its own traditions and returning shows like Andy Kindler’s midnight showcases at Second City. In addition stable of headliners and “The 42” have continued to diversify with “ComedyCon”. ComedyCon consists of daytime events that include one on one interviews where performers chat about their careers and process as well as podcast tapings where you can join the audience.
This is the 7th year of the festival and the fourth year I’ve attended, at first the festival is a bit of a tricky beast to wrangle. Unlike many festivals, you don’t simply buy a ticket. Instead, you buy a package that has a variety of options including “credits” to use for reserving shows. In prior years the ComedyCon events have been walled off available just to “VIP” package holders but over the last two years these events have opened to everyone. The bundles range from individual shows (for as little as $25 dollars for The 42 and ComedyCon events and $32.50 for headliners), 2 credit passes for $55 dollars all the way up to the VIP pass with preferred seating, a “special gift”, 4 headliner tickets and 12 credits and the assistance of a “concierge” to “help you plan your festival” pricing in at $299.
Matthew Ardill & Jason Deline
Partners in crime we collaborate to create the Comedy Album Book Club, a deep dive into comedy history.