A show that I try to attend each festival. I have never been disappointed by it. Hosts With the Most features about seven different stand up acts who get on stage for about six or seven minutes and try to make you laugh. Kinda like the Galas only a quarter of the price and in the really intimate confines of Theatre Ste. Catherine. Though some pooh pooh the multiple comics and short on stage times of this format I find that it is a great way to discover comedians you have not heard of before. Plus the fact that they are on only a short time makes it less painful if someone bombs. Which wasn’t a worry this year.
Here is a little summary of some of the comedians who took the stage on this the first evening of the run of this show:
The host of this evening was stand up veteran and physically imposing, Alonzo Bodden, a man you might know from Last Comic Standing. Being the host of the show of this sort is not an easy gig, but the veteran stand up made it seem like a breeze. He has a rather easy going demeanour on stage making it seem like he is just shooting the s@*t with you. Very conversational style. Really knows how to incorporate the audience. Did a great job making everything tie together and enjoyable.
Fresh off her run (which is ongoing) as part of The Nasty Show was Ms. Pat. The woman is a scream! If you love an outrageous woman then Ms. Pat is the one for you. She seems to have no boundaries as she will use her family (husband and four adult kids) for laughs as well as her recent 100 pound weight loss. That type of personal comedy is her style. Ms. Pat even made us laugh with a bit about she is a grandmother of twins and how one is ugly. Plus how it was alright that she got into a verbal fight with her 6-year-old granddaughter as the kid started it. Starting off young as a drug dealer and then going to jail this sharp tongued comedienne has now moved to the suburbs, but it has taken none of her edge off.
The revelation of the evening for me was Tim Dillon. Super funny! And his short set was mostly about the horror that is cruises. Funny because all that he references is true. They are just floating buffets in which overweight Americans come off (sometimes) at different ports. Another newbie (for me) was another alumni of Last Comic Standing, Janelle James. First of all, the woman has abs like no other and you will not believe she is the mother of a 17 and 18-year-old. The Brooklyn native is energetic (though she made fun of the fact that she is not flexible) and quick witted.
The big star of the evening was Maria Bamford. She has the biggest recognizability factor of all those who went up on stage. Quirky…odd…different…these are all words that sum up this lady on stage. The star of the Netflix series Lady Dynamite, Bamford is not your typical stand-up. On this evening she took us through a couple of different scenarios for role playing for her and her husband. Let me tell you that they most certainly were not of the washing machine repairman or hot pizza delivery guy variety. She delved into gentrification and the living wage. Yup. They are part of bedroom games for this gal. All were quite out there. From the mind of a woman who does not look at the world the way the majority does. And that makes for funny stuff.
Closing out the show was the crazy haired Dylan Moran. The Irish stand-up has his own show at the festival and is someone I would like to see more of. He was the right amount of intelligence, oddness and command of the English language for me. He dove into some rather typical subjects like politics today, getting older and what it is like growing up in Ireland. Rather grumpy and rumpled, he was most certainly not your stereotypical laughing Irishman. Starting off slowly all stumbly and sorta hesitant, he seemed to gather himself at about the two minute mark and then the rest was a scream. What I really like was when he seemed to be going off on a tangent or “off script”, if you would. Amazing what was rumbling around in his mind.