Veteran comedian should win out from recent Montreal festival audition
of all the comedians in the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival
auditions held January 26 at Stand Up NY, 24-year veteran Joey Kola made
the strongest impression.
Kola vividly acts out stories about his father, his family, his wife and
his kids, taking these tales to the extreme till his face nearly turns
purple -- just as most of the audience’s faces nearly do the same from
Kola delivers his material with a rapid fire, Joe Pesci-like voice. He
combines the persona of an old school Catskills or Rat Pack type
comedian with a perspective and material that is up-to-the-minute.
To wit, Kola compares today’s spoiled SUV rugrats with DVD players,
music and sippy cups all on hand in the backseat, telling their parents
where to go, with his childhood where he and his brother had to fight
for air in his dad’s cigarette smoke as the windows were shut, all as
his dad smacked them around from the front seat. Now imagine all that
with Kola’s delivery and you can see how you’d be falling off your
Kola was the last comedian on a 10-performer bill, which can be a hard
spot, since audiences naturally tend to get stand-up fatigue by that
point, but he soared right over this hurdle. If Kola hasn’t already
played the Montreal festival, he ought to be.
Also of note, stand-up Joe Matarese, who was also on the night’s bill,
could be called a thinking man’s anti-intellectual comedian, as odd as
that may sound. The proud community college graduate has made his wife’s
doctoral degree status fodder for some of his material. While he chides
himself for things like putting down the word “GEECE” (meaning ‘geese’)
in Scrabble, his material is intelligently constructed, perhaps just out
of good instincts.