Just for Laughs Festival: Day One

All the action from the world’s second-largest comedy festival

So here I am. Just for Laughs. The world’s second-largest comedy festival after Edinburgh and one that, after kicking off in 1983 in Montreal, has attracted a legion of comedy legends including George Burns, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Jay Leno, and Chris Rock. This year will see visits from John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Cosby, as well as a host of newer acts.

I’ve only been in town for 12 hours or so and already the comedy omens are good. This morning I had the ‘Michael McIntyre breakfast buffet experience’ where you are led to a seat in the hotel restaurant and then told that you can now go to the buffet that you’ve already passed on the way in.

Sadly, Michael was not here to be told just how relevant his material is to delegates at this industry-focused jamboree. However, I have already seen one of ‘our boys’ do well over here. Step forward scrawny ginger gagster and former if.comedy nominee Andrew Lawrence.

Andrew appeared at Monday night’s Best of the Fest with a number of relatively new American acts and held his own with his well-honed, cheery-in-spite of-it-all, cynicism. He’s a nice line in self-deprecation of his own sexual allure claiming that he used to think that he could hear an echo when he was in the company of women but then realised that it wasn’t an echo it was “the sound of a hundred vaginas snapping shut.” Other than shock tactics what makes his material in this area fresh is that he actually talks about his hang-ups within the confines of a relationship and isn’t part of the school of ‘I wish I had a girlfriend’ comics.

The show was hosted amiably by Sugar Sammy, a Montreal-based Asian-Canadian comic who, after discovering a table of English girls at the front of the gig proved insightful about English drinking habits: “Good to see you sober” he said, adding later: “Canadians stop drinking when we know there’s a chance we might shit ourselves.” On discovering that the gaggle of, actually quite decorous, English girls were on a hen weekend he quipped: “Ah, what happens in Vegas…gets on youtube.”

As well as our able host and Andrew Lawrence’s contribution other moments of note included an appearance from Eleanor Tiernan (cousin of Perrier award-winning comedian Tommy Tiernan) whose whimsy nearly went over the heads of the audience but who had winning moments such a characterising the walk of a model on a cat walk as someone who comes in to a room with something important to say but suddenly turns and leaves deciding that no one would understand what they had to say. Try it in front of a mirror, she’s bang on.

Kookier still was Mary Mack, (reminiscent of the great Maria Bamford for those of you who know of her) whose act always threatened to go under but never did. She would rescue it by saying things like “the more you don’t laugh, the more abstract this is gonna get” before re-grouping with lines like “you should always dress in layers in the city...so it doesn’t hurt as much when you get shot.”

So, so far so good. I’m off to restore myself with some maple syrup and look forward to posting a few more dispatches from Canada’s comedy front-line shortly.

À bientôt, as they say in these parts.

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam