The moment we lined up outside Theatre Sainte Catherine last night we knew we’re in for a treat. Local comedian Mike Carrozza welcomed the gathering audience by offering salt and vinegar chips and showering them with booms of laughter and fun banter.

As we made our way into the narrow room, which is the perfect venue for an intimate show, the noise from crowd filled the space. Energy was high as were our expectations. Who were we going to see tonight at Off JFL’s Midnight Surprise?

Quebec City native and host for the evening, Mike Ward, started the show with observations of the English/French divide locals know all too well and tales of misrepresentation on French television. He brought to the stage our first comedian, Nasty Show regular, Jimmy Carr.

What a pleasure it was to see Jimmy Carr so up close and personal. With his quick wit and fast punch lines, Jimmy is one of my all time favourite comedians. He got the crowd wound up with bits about Michael Jackson, bad drivers and Palestinian passports. He proved his legendary status when he improvised jokes from audience suggestions, including a creative definition for the term ‘Spiderman’. Who knew it was a sex move in the kitchen?

Montréaler, David Pryde, followed up with anecdotes about the misuse of the term ‘sport’ when related to fishing and a hilarious story about taking his five-year-old son to the park and the inappropriate tales that ensue.

Continuing on the Canadian high we had Toronto native, Katie Crown, take the audience on a rollercoaster ride through her wild imagination, which involved some enthusiastic crowd participation. Katie’s unique storytelling left me wanting to hear more. I’ll definitely be looking her up on the Googles.

Michael Kosta exploded onto the stage and immediately captured the crowds’ attention with his booming personality and self-confidence. Covering topics such as getting even with his agent, the turmoil of round chap stick and how life changes as you get older.

The penultimate comedian, Jackie Kashian, as in ‘va-CATION’, from the Funny as Hell show proved to be just that. Her nerdy book reading youth brings tales of mullet-bearing strangers and their mission to avenge the “bad guys” and playground bullying.

Big Jay Oakerson closed the show and what a final act it was. He’s cool and calm demeanour charmed the audience despite in-your-face banter about ski pole hand jobs, angry lesbians and his 10-year-old daughter’s shit-stained underwear. At one point he picked on a gay couple in the audience and grilled them about their sex lives. Even with all this he held the audiences’ attention in the palm of his hand. His direct, tell-it-how-it-is attitude was admiring and I thoroughly enjoyed watching what seemed to be more of an impromptu hang with his friends rather than a stand up act.

All-in-all what a fantastic show! I highly recommend getting yourself a ticket to the next Midnight Surprise, the anticipation is well worth it!

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