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The Last Round-Up

The Montreal festival's midnight "alternative" showcase is a good mix of familiar and new faces.

Pictured: Will Franken and Josh Fadem.

In the late midnight “Alternative Show” hosted July 24 by Andy Kindler in the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, a couple comedians really made their mark, namely Will Franken and Josh Fadem.

Franken, a tall, long haired and imposing presence, exhibited an eccentric and inventive routine, including a spilt-personality bit, toggling between a rabid horndog and a feminist professor-type with a command reminiscent of George Carlin’s early 1970s radio dial-inspired characterizations.

Fadem’s performance was even more physical -- so much so that he didn’t even speak until about halfway through his 15-minute performance, executing a seemingly unending and varied sequence of trips, falls, spills and entanglements in the microphone stand and cord, almost never making it to even tell his first joke. When Fadem finally did speak, he had great non-sequiturs such as an uncanny Harrison Ford impression sprinkled throughout his set (and who knew Harrison Ford’s voice was so distinctive that imitating it could stand out?).

Andy Daly appeared as “Jerry O’Brien,” his stand-up comedian character whose entire performance and the joke thereof is that his whole routine consists of variations on phrases like “have you noticed,” “c’mon” and “am I right?”

Jerry Minor quickly got the audience on his side with an R&B parody, emphasizing lyrics about champagne through a familiar vocal effect, striding all the way through the audience and up into the upstairs balcony.

The most experienced performers in the show were Jim Gaffigan, who did a variation on his usual style of performance, adding a little extra mischievous glint in his eyes as he spoke. And Marc Maron (see Jester interview) treated the whole late show informally, mostly commenting on the room and the audience and just occasionally doing some of his recent material -- or making fun of Kindler, with whom he goes way back.

Like many of the Just For Laughs stand-up shows held at venues other than the showcase gala theater, the bill was a generous mix of eight well-known comedians and new faces. Each had enough time to give the audience an idea of what they’re about, without wearing out their welcome, making for a kinetic show.

Just For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by

Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky. 



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