Just for Laughs Montreal kicked off its 35th year, with The Ethnic Show at Club Soda. This festival fave unabashedly skewers stereotypes, allowing us to laugh at ourselves. Given the current political climate, the US comics seemed particularly happy to be here.
JFL regular Alonzo Bodden stepped in as host only days ago, when Maz Jobrani had a family emergency. Bodden’s signature ease and charm kept The Ethnic Show at a perfect pace. Naturally, he addressed US politics and race relations. “I support the Mexicans and Muslims in the US. As long as they’re here, I know I’m okay. They’re kind of like a buffer.”
Dominican-American Vlad Caamaño started as a JFL New Face in 2015. The audience loved his jokes about the differences between rich and poor. “Rich people are like, ‘Oh, hors d’oeuvres—I can taste the apostrophe! Poor people are more suspicious. ‘Who made the mac and cheese?’”
Toronto’s Mike Rita opened strongly with, “Clap if you got hit as a child!” The multicultural crowd broke into wild applause. Rita’s tales of his Portuguese mother’s use of marijuana during cancer treatment were hilarious and touching.
The Doo Wops, also from Toronto, are singer/musicians John Catucci and David Mesiano. The duo lampooned Italian stereotypes, singing, “We love food, family and stabbing people!” Given that much of their humour is culinary-related, it’s no surprise that Catucci is the host of TV’s You Gotta Eat Here.
Steve Byrne, a Korean/Irish comic from Los Angeles, took the best jabs at President Trump. “He has the vocabulary of a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory. ‘Would you recommend the soup?’ ‘The best!’ “Russian dressing?’ ‘Never heard of it.’”
The evening belonged to New Yorker Jessica Kirson, whose sharp observations were a balance of edgy and accessible. Regarding her mean, elderly audiences in Florida, “I have to be nice to them, because they’re dying soon.” Kirson’s comical self-therapy, aloud with her back turned, was universally relatable. “It’s okay—you look great tonight! You’re wearing orange. It pops!” That’s really The Ethnic Show’s ultimate message: Deep down, we’re all the same.
The Ethnic Show, Just for Laughs Montreal
July 12-23 Club Soda
July 25-27 Metropolis
Tickets: $44.99 to $60.49