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All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Veteran stand-up's showcase faces a culture clash -- with her own culture.

By Riva Gold, Montreal Correspondent.

With her sold-out stand-up show Mommy Queerest, in the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, Judy Gold was a comic genius -- at least in the eyes of middle-aged Jewish women in Montreal. The rest of the audience quickly learned to adjust their expectations, as Gold started her act with 1950s show tunes and a recording of her mother, who advised the audience to unwrap their candies before it was too late.

You would think a six-foot-three, 46-year-old, gay Jewish mother would have a lot of material to work with, but many of Gold’s jokes were rather unimaginative. Granted, the premise of the show was interesting enough, as she revealed her life story in intricate detail from the “B’nai bitches” of her youth to her relationship with her former partner “Shwendy.” Even her set-ups were great, but unfortunately Gold proved herself more of a story-teller than comedian and many punch lines were simply, well, missing.

A good chunk of Mommy Queerest was devoted to a song Gold wrote and performed about the 1,128 benefits same-sex couples were denied. As a response to Proposition 8, it was well-written, intelligent, and charming. But as a plea for gay marriage to a room-full of Montrealers just looking for a laugh, it seemed a little out of place.

To be fair, Gold made a couple of good jokes. The highlight of the show, in fact, came when she did an impression of herself doing an actual stand-up act. “Jewish people have a special thing where they can spot another Jew just by looking at them,” Gold explained, “Just like black people.”

She also threw in some more risqué jokes, including a sitcom treatment of a show about her and her Cuban bandleader girlfriend, aptly titled “I Love Pussy.” Indeed, Gold seemed to have a knack for finding just the right references for her crowd, covering topics from tumors to Mormons. “Don’t be too critical of the religious right,” Judy joked, “If Darwin saw the U.S. today, he wouldn’t believe in evolution either.”

Unfortunately, even many of her best jokes failed to live up to their potential in light of the terrible acoustics at Centaur Theatre. Her microphone and piano were so loud that several audience members actually had to pause and turn down their hearing aids. And for a comedian who tries to be edgy, that’s almost never a good sign.

Gold’s show ran July 21-25 at Centaur Theatre as part of Montreal’s annual Just for Laughs Festival.

Just For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by

Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky



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