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 at JFL42 in Toronto

Chris Gethard JFL42

Whether you’re a hipster or not, you’ve got to love Chris Gethard. His brand of fun, inclusive humour is something that we have really grown to enjoy. While were most familiar with what he does from The Chris Gethard Show, we were confident that his show at JFL42 was going to be funny. What we didn’t expect, though, was that it would also be emotional, poignant, and inspirational. Continue reading

Moshe Kasher at JFL42 in Toronto

Courtesy of JFL42

Courtesy of JFL42

To wrap up our Saturday night at JFL42, we checked out Moshe Kasher. This was the first of two festival appearances for Moshe. At midnight, he recorded an episode of his podcast. It was also his third straight sell-out, which shows just how popular he is.

Moshe is all over the place lately. In addition to being a series regular on Another Period (he also wrote two episodes), he also made guest appearances on Brooklyn Nine-NineThe LeagueGarfunkel and Oates, and Maron all in the last year or so. He’s also a published author (his book is called Kasher in the Rye) and has a stand-up special for Netflix. We probably didn’t quite cover everything, but as fans of comedy, getting a chance to see Moshe on Saturday night was exciting! Continue reading

Rhys Darby at JFL42 in Toronto

Courtesy of JFL42

Courtesy of JFL42

There were a lot of acts to choose from in the 8-9pm slots at JFL42 on Saturday night. We saw (and loved) Kurt Braunohler and Rachel Feinstein in Montreal so that helped us to narrow it down a little bit. As much as we would have liked to have seen Joe Mande and Brian Posehn, we felt like we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Rhys Darby live and in person. Continue reading

Al Madrigal at JFL42 in Toronto


Courtesy of JFL42

After an afternoon of watching Blue Jays baseball at a sports bar we made our way to the Royal Theatre for our first JFL42 show of the night. With Al Madrigal serving as the lead-off hitter for a night of comedy we figured that we were in pretty good hands.

We know Al Madrigal best as a correspondent on The Daily Show where he will be heading back to work on Monday. In addition to his work on that show, Madrigal is a talented stand-up comedian in his own right. For that reason, we were really excited Continue reading

We’ll be Covering JFL42!

10458321_714276815274567_6057788036886622321_nWe are very excited to announce that fourthmic is headed to JFL42 in Toronto this weekend and next! We hope to provide recaps of about five to ten shows that we see during the next couple of weekends.

We will only be able to visit Toronto for the weekends so we know that we’ll be missing out on a lot of great performers. We have already booked Al Madrigal, Rhys Darby, Moshe Kasher, and Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies. Don’t worry, we’ll be providing recaps of additional shows that we see, but we have to attend these before Continue reading

Jim Norton Performs in Toronto

Last night we were lucky enough to be in Toronto on the same night as one of our favorite comedians, Jim Norton. With tickets to his 10:30 show at the Royal Theatre secured, we made our way down to little Italy where we were treated to an hour plus of Jim Norton brilliance as well as a couple of opening acts. Continue reading

A Night at The Second City in Toronto

BwVGwjoCcAAn0oJ (1)We were lucky enough to spend this past weekend in Toronto, which means that we had an opportunity to visit The Second City to take in a night of sketch comedy. Having seen several shows in Chicago and knowing the history of the Toronto theater company, our expectations were high. Toronto’s version of The Second City is where many of the stars Continue reading

JFL42 Single Show Tickets Available Now

Courtesy of JFL42, Twitter

Courtesy of JFL42, Twitter

Announced earlier this summer, the JFL42 lineup has made the late-September Toronto-based festival one of the most anticipated comedy events of the year. Unlike other festivals, the promoters urge fans to purchase festival passes that include varying numbers of show tickets. Instead of selling individual tickets, JFL42 offers attendees the opportunity to buy passes that include credits that can be used for individual shows. With 42 shows occurring over ten days, there are enough acts to attract any comedy fan. Continue reading