That Glitters Is Not Gold
Veteran stand-up's showcase
faces a culture clash -- with her own culture.
Riva Gold, Montreal Correspondent.
her sold-out stand-up show “Mommy
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,
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.
For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by
Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky