Just as the title states this gala-like show features several different comedians who have been dubbed (by whom, I wonder?) as the Best of the Fest. As is typical of shows likes this there was one comedian functioning as the MC of sorts. On this evening it was American Dan Soder. Soder might have been familiar to several in the audience at the Comedyworks even if you hadn’t seen him do stand-up previously as he is also an actor. Most recently he has a reoccurring role in the Showtime series, Billions and has also appeared in Inside Amy Schumer. He also had a small role in the Schumer vehicle, Trainwreck. It took the crowd a little time to warm up to him, but once they had adjusted to his occasionally crass and oftentimes pot head jokes style then it was full steam ahead.
First up was Kentucky native Dave Waite. He of the off beat sense of humour. How can you not find endearing and funny a guy who sprinkles the word “y’all” liberally into his set? Also because he an odd way of looking at the world and by odd I mean funny.
Montreal’s own Rachid Badouri was next on stage. He is a well-known within the local francophone community as he has worked as a stand-up in French for over 10 years. Widening his horizons (and audience) he has now been working in English for 1 and 1/2 years. His set consisted of talking about how he loved Montreal for all its diversity while remarking that the crowd was the whitest he had ever seen and how his Arab father embarrassed him…often.
Jesus Trejo is an odd American-Mexican. Odd in that he is an only child. Think about that for a bit…it will come to you. At last year’s JFL festival he was chosen the New Face comedian. He often makes appearances on Roast Battle and Adam Devine’s House Party. He joked about his own looks saying that he looks as if Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro had a kid.
This festival’s bright new star this year is DJ Mausner. Only 22-years-old she has a bright future ahead of her in comedy. She is already the artistic director at the Montreal Improv Theatre. Smart, but not so much so that everything goes over the audience’s head. Her set consisted mostly of material had to do with how surreal life today is. Such as that the English language makes no sense and she is going to start calling things as they actually are. Like, for instance, she is going to ask men if they would like a suck job…again, think about it.
The star of the Canadian show This Hour Has 22 Minutes was next on stage. Mark Critch is a face most Canadians recognize even though it is often disguised on the show. Hailing from Newfoundland he possesses that crazy sense of humour that is typical of people from that island province. He probably got the biggest reaction of the evening from the crowd. A big chunk of his set was laughs at the expense of Montrealers and Quebecers. Like observing that we get the largest equalization payments from the federal government of any province – 11.2 billion. It is like we are getting alimony even though we have not separated.
Canadian Sophie Buddle is considered one of Canada’s rising stars and another young female comedian of 22-years-old. Though apparently she feels like a grizzled vet as she has been doing stand-up since she was 15. A rather traditional style of stand-up comedian who does short jokes rather than storytelling and plenty of double entendre.
Last and probably least was American Julian McCullough. Funny that they put the weakest link last. Or maybe it was just an off night as he does have a pretty solid CV having appeared in Inside Amy Schumer, with fellow comedian Whitney Cummings in the E! series Love You, Mean It and on Chelsea Lately a bunch of times. Most of his jokes fell flat unfortunately as the rest of the line-up was solid.