Our Top Picks for This Year’s JFL42 Festival

FQJwCabPIt’s coming up on the end of September and you know what that means: it’s almost time for JFL42! Toronto’s comedy festival starts on September 22 and runs until October 1. If you have a pass and have looked at the lineup you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. There are so many shows! How do you choose who to see? We’ve got you covered.

For our JFL42 preview, we thought that it would be a good idea to give you what we’ll call our starter pack. Assuming that you bought a four credit headliner pass, our recommendations should get you on your way. With the reusable credit system that JFL42 employs you can keep going to show after show, but we want to make sure that the first five shows that you book are winners.

Headliner: Tig Notarotig-n_520-x-325_v01a

Since we limited ourselves to just one headliner pick we felt like we couldn’t go wrong no matter who we chose. While we are huge fans of all of the headliners, we went with Tig Notaro because she’s hilarious and she is most likely to provide one of the most talked about shows of the festival. After her HBO special, Boyish Girl, Interrupted and Grammy nominated album, LIVE, and her new Amazon show One Mississippi, Tig has been one of comedy’s biggest newsmakers over the last couple of years. Though we haven’t seen her latest set, there is a good chance that she has something else that is memorable up her sleeve. Mixing funny material with very personal stories, Tig Notaro is one of the most unique performers working today.

Tig Notaro performs on September 25 and is in conversation during that afternoon.

The 42 #1: Cameron Espositocameron-e

If you don’t know Cameron Esposito’s comedy, you should. If you don’t go to see her at JFL42, you’ll regret it. The star of SeeSo’s new series, Take My Wife is bringing her stand-up to Toronto and it would be hard to think of a better act to include in your festival schedule. Cameron draws on personal experiences for a source of material. As a lesbian who experienced a very religious childhood, Cameron Esposito takes her very personal stories and always provides audiences with relatable jokes that will leave you in stitches.

Cameron Esposito performs the evenings of  September 22-24.

The 42 #2: Kumail Nanjianibnw_520x325_kumail

Are you looking for some mid-week laughs? Kumail Nanjiani should have you covered. He is now probably best known for his role as Dinesh on Silicon Valley, but Kumail is also an accomplished stand-up comedian. As one of the leaders of the Los Angeles alt comedy scene, Kumail Nanjiani is respected by his peers and adored by audiences. If we were in Toronto mid-week during JFL42, we would be using one of our credits to see him, but unfortunately it won’t work out for us this year. Don’t miss out on seeing him, if you have the chance.

Kumail Nanjiani performs the evenings of September 27 and 28.

The 42 #3: Maria Bamfordmaria-b_520-x-325_v01a

Before we talk more about Maria, we want to make it clear that although we’ve numbered these acts, we’re not saying that one is better than the other. Rather we like them all. We want to make that clear because Maria Bamford is simply one of our favourite stand up comedians. Period.  She’s delightful, she’s unique, she’s hilarious. We missed out on her solo show at Just for Laughs in Toronto, but we did get to see her as part of Eugene Mirman’s podcast taping. Seeing her perform live was a real treat. We weren’t surprised given how funny all of her work is, but seeing her was an experience that no comedy fan should miss out. If you can, book your tickets for Maria Bamford ASAP and get ready for her set by bingeing her fantastic Netflix series, Lady Dynamite.

Maria Bamford performs the evenings of September 22 and 23.

The 42 #4: Natasha Leggeronatasha-l_520-x-325_v01a

There is a real mix of comedians performing and we’ve tried to provide you with very different perspectives. Natasha Leggero works a little more blue than the other three comedians that we listed. If that’s what you are looking for, her show will be as good as any at this year’s JFL42. Natasha has incredible stage presence and she’s also a great joke writer. If you are looking for proof just go to YouTube, type in “Natasha Leggero Roast”, and get ready for some of the funniest (and meanest) jokes you’ve heard. Last year we saw Natasha’s husband, Moshe Kasher at JFL42 and we’re hoping to catch her show this time around.

Natasha Leggero performs the evenings of September 30 and October 1. She is also in conversation during the afternoon of September 30.

Other Favorites:

We know that we said, we’d list our top four picks among “The 42”, but there are a few other performers that we have seen in the past that we want to mention. If you are looking for some big laughs, you should be successful if you see these performers:

  • Jim Norton (September 24)
  • Margaret Cho (September 23 and 24)
  • Ron Funches (September 29)
  • Neal Brennan (September 27-30)
  • Todd Barry (September 22-25)

Chris Gethard’s One Man Show is Going to Broadway

windopanea01_print_56x851-e1473172191128Judd Apatow has decided to back comedian Chris Gethard’s one man show. Titled Career Suicide, the show is all about Gethard’s life and the road he’s taken to get where he is. It is an incredible show and one that audiences should not miss.

We saw Chris perform this one man show last fall at JFL42 in Toronto. It was an incredible hour. The audience had Continue reading

More #LoweRoast Lineup Announcements

RLRoast

Roast fans will be excited to know that the remaining Rob Lowe roasters have been announced. Again, Comedy Central has managed to put together an eclectic lineup of comedians, newsmakers, and celebrities. Joining the dais are Continue reading

HBO Will be the Place to Go For Comedy in the Coming Months

hbo

If you want to laugh, HBO will have you covered through into next year. Today they announced a number of stand up specials an a new sketch series that will air in 2016 and 2017.

First, on the stand-up side. HBO will air new specials from Continue reading

Mark Normand on The Late Show

Comedian Mark Normand appeared on The Late Show Friday night. He shared his thoughts on hangovers, his anxiety, and his thoughts on abbreviations. We always enjoy seeing Mark Normand and he Continue reading

Hannibal Buress at Just for Laughs

hannibal_bio_745x490

One thing that you can count on at Just for Laughs is that the festival schedule will include the most relevant and notable comedians that year. For that reason, it was no surprise that Hannibal Buress was scheduled to perform and when we saw his name announced, we knew that his show was one we did not want to miss. Hannibal’s last few specials have been among our favourites in recent years and Continue reading

Steve Rannazzisi Opened Up About His 9/11 Story at Just for Laughs

steve_ran_bio_745x490We’anae sure that all of the This is Not Happening shows at Just for Laughs had special moments. That said, last night’s final performance was a pretty unique experience for those people who were in the audience. The topic of the night was repentance. After Ari Shaffir and his first three guests each told their stories, Steve Rannazzisi took the stage as the night’s final performer. Everyone up to that point was pretty Continue reading

Louis CK at Just for Laughs

jfl_lck_610x400

We’ve always wanted to see Louis CK perform live. It seemed like every time that he had a show anywhere even close to us there was some reason we couldn’t go. This year, we finally got our wish and had the opportunity to see Louis in Montreal at Continue reading

Nick Thune at Just for Laughs

nick_thune_bio_745x490Nick Thune is a revered guy on the alt comedy scene. He’s a regular at some of the hippest spots in Los Angeles, has a Comedy Central special to his name, and has appeared on several TV shows. This was his third time appearing at Off-JFL, but we’d never been able to make it to his shows before. He’s always made a strong impression on us so we were excited to finally see him perform live at Continue reading

Sarah Silverman tells Bernie-or-Bust People: ‘You’re Being Ridiculous’

The Democratic National Convention kicked off last night in Philadelphia and it was mostly a well-organized affair. High-ranking politicians and Democratic supporters came out and gave well-prepared speeches that definitely weren’t plagiarized. But there was one major hiccup, which was the way that some Bernie Sanders supporters continually heckled the speakers whenever voting for Hillary Clinton was brought up. The DNC knew that there would be angry Bernie delegates present, and so they made sure to include several Bernie supporters in the opening day’s speaker list, including Bernie himself, Elizabeth Warren, and comedian Sarah Silverman. Sarah Silverman had been a vocal Bernie supporter, but when Hillary won the nomination, she loudly proclaimed (on Twitter) that she would nevertheless support Hillary. Continue reading

In a Couple of Days We’ll be at Just for Laughs

l_just-for-laughs@2x-festivalHere we are again. It is late July and Just for Laughs is underway. We’re only able to start our 2016 Just for Laughs adventure this week, but the world’s largest comedy festival has been in full swing for a few days already.

This year, we’re once again lucky enough to be covering the festival up close and in person. We plan on starting things off on Thursday and will be sticking around until Sunday. In total, our plan is to attend 14 shows. That’s a lot of shows.  By the end Continue reading

Amy Schumer is Going Worldwide on Her Next Tour

photoAmy Schumer has announced the dates for her 2016 stand-up tour. Her tour starts this August and it is going to take her to Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in
addition to shows in the USA.

This isn’t just a big tour because Amy will be touring around the globe. The tour is also huge because of the sheer number of dates. The tour includes 54 shows! 54! That’s a ton of performances. And Amy isn’t performing in small venues either. This is an Continue reading

Watch the Trailer for Jim Jefferies’ ‘Freedumb’

Jim Jefferies is back with a new special, Freedumb. He’s never been afraid of a topic and this time he is taking aim at a whole nation. The special comes out on July 1st so you might be thinking to yourself, is this Australian coming after Canada with his off color jokes? Nope, you’d be wrong, he is taking aim at Continue reading

What Now is Kevin Hart’s New Comedy Concert

We’re kind of fascinated with stand-up concert films. They don’t come around too often, but when they do we eagerly wait to see how they perform at the box office. Kevin Hart has a new concert special, What Now. Today, the world premiere trailer for it was released Continue reading

Comedy Central Roasters Will Take Aim at Rob Lowe

RLRoast#LoweRoast. That’s about all we know so far about Comedy Central’s next roast. The network announced today that Rob Lowe will be the roastee for the next installment of their popular series.

Comedy Central President, Kent Alterman put it best, “he needs to be roasted.” Rob Lowe is a somewhat atypical choice for Continue reading