It just wouldn’t be Just for Laughs Montreal without the deliciously wicked The Nasty Show, presented at Metropolis from July 19 to 29. This year’s gang of comedy spitfires—Ari Shaffir, Robert Kelly, Yamaneika Saunders, Jimmy Carr, Godfrey and Big Jay Oakerson—is a combination of Old School favorites, plus a couple of newbies.
Host Ari Shaffir has big shoes to fill; comparisons to Nasty Show perennial Bobby Slayton (absent this summer) are inevitable. Shaffir is a cerebral, slow burn comic, as opposed to Slayton’s incendiary style. Shaffir opened the show with some keen observations about Hassidic clothing, “Why do they dress that way? They’re not Johnny Cash Convention goers.” He got big laughs regarding his home town, New York City. Describing two homeless men living in a cardboard box, he says, “That’s when you know it’s tough in New York. You have to have a roommate.”
Robert Kelly is back this year, in peak form. He had lots to say about aging. “For young people, time means nothing. ‘We have millions of years!’ I have 30 summers left. That’s a real number.” As the father of a four year old, Kelly also dispensed some parenting advice—none of which should ever be followed.
Yamanika Saunders, dressed provocatively in a zebra-striped cat suit, had this to say about the pressures to settle down and have a family. “They’re yelling at me, ‘You’re almost 40! You’ve got to go ahead and have babies!’ I say, ‘I’ve got two cats and Sleep Apnea! I’m busy!’”
Festival favorite Jimmy Carr opened with a string of Montreal put-downs, eliciting groans of mock-indignation and shrieks of laughter. “If you’re from Toronto, you’re a Torontonian. If you’re from Vancouver, you’re a Vancouverite. If you’re from Montreal, you’re a racist.” “Montreal is the headquarters of the World Anti-doping Authority. That’s like putting Karla Homolka in charge of an elementary school.”
Godfrey delighted the crowd with his demonstration of how he rubs up against women on the crowded subway—especially when he performed it en français. “”Excuuusez-moi… désolé… tabarnak!” He confessed that he’s watched so much pornography that sometimes he gets bored and starts studying the furniture. “That’s Ikea—that bed’s gonna to break!”
Big Jay Oakerson had a lot to say about his biggest fear. (Hint: It’s not prison.) His second biggest fear is his 14 year-old daughter’s potential love life. “I wish she was a lesbian. I did all that I could.”
In this age of political correctness, some may object to The Nasty Show’s humour—much of which cannot be described in this article. Comedy helps us to acknowledge our foibles; it’s the antidote for complacency and conceit.
Just for Laughs Montreal
July 19 to 29
Tickets: $44.99 to $60.49