Ethnic show lives up to what it is, ethnic and funny.
This year’s Just For Laughs festival has officially begun with the first night of it’’s run of The Ethnic Shows. Montreal host Rachid Badouri came out of the gate swinging with a quick wit and energy that made his comedy and hosting skills very fun to watch as well as hear. His jokes were not just limited to being Moroccan. He told a funny story of how after being bullied his sisters encouraged him to watch a movie with fight scenes in it so he could learn to fight back. That movie was Grease. Dancing up to bullies with a song had him end up in the hospital. Rachid was very animated and informed as he presented each of the night’s comedians.
First up was Yannis Pappas who had one great moment after another. From a simple comment on how other Greeks can’t believe it if he doesn’t speak Greek to his girlfriend recording him snoring. Yannis didn’t just limit his jokes to Greeks. His best moments were about how we don’t need other languages. He proceeded to do some great accents like Scottish, or scary German, or how Russian sounds like a Beatles record played backwards. Even funnier was the accents you don’t want to hear in bed, in particular an Arabic one which Yannis hilariously imitated. Make sure to check out his solo show at Theatre St Catherine. http://www.hahaha.com/en/show/yannis-pappas-let-me-be-yannis
Jessica Kiirson was very loud and that was a good thing especially in telling us how all old Jewish people have the same face even when they’re saying something positive “it’s gorgeous outside!” or “I’m so glad I’m healthy!”. Jessica’s facial expressions are as loud as her voice and it really adds to the exaggeration of several accents and jokes. Even the bit where she spoke to herself with her back turned was funny. It’s no wonder her videos on youtube and Facebook have reached over 10 million views. Jessica will be in the new Robert DeNiro film appropriately titled, Comedian.
Up next was comic legend, Dom Irrera and as usual he did not disappoint. He told a funny joke about how when his French Canadian girlfriend spoke to her mother it sounded like a duck.The “quai” sounded like “quack.” His talent for literally rapping off a list of Italian names was flawless. He also told us how he was the world’s worst waiter because he hated to be bothered by customers especially for a dollar tip. Dom’s loudest crowd applause came not from a joke but from saying “It’s a beautiful time to have an ethnic show because of all the craziness in the world. We really should be brought together.” Amen, Dom.
Gina Brillon started off with what she knows best being from the Bronx and Puerto Rican. She was quick to point out that when she told her friends she was going to major in English at college they all said that was a great idea because “You can already speak English.” The majority of Gina’s act was about men and women or relationships. “It’s funny how back in the day I’d ask if there were single people in the audience and I’d get a Woohoo now days it’s like a clap that dissipates into sadness.”
Nemr is the biggest comedian in the middle east and it was easy to see why. He spoke how in Lebanon the only reason people have kids is to get free employees. He had a great time telling us the difference between how an American parent will tell their kid no and an Arab parent will tell their kid no. There was also the story of telling his father how he wanted to be a comic and his father responding by saying he wanted to be a clown. “No dad a stand up comic.” His father responding with “A clown that stands up.” His father would continue to make fun of his son the clown until he was on the cover of Rolling Stone. His father was then quick to tell everyone “My son the comedian. I always told him to follow his dreams.”
Godfrey closed things out. He began with several jokes about Quebecois French. He annoys the French on purpose by pronouncing every letter even when they tell him it’s silent. He doesn’t care because he was a “Sesame Street kid!” He went on with a funny but true statement “I didn’t know there was a beef between the anglophones and francophones. You guys actually get mad if someone speaks English?” He joked how that is like the West Side Story street gangs. Godfrey had a lot of humour about the animal kingdom; everything from how we should be allowed to poop the same as when we take our dogs for walks, or the birds have a sex call and so should we humans. His best moment was saved for last with is great impersonations of how Obama or Denzel Washington sound having sex. I only wish he’d done more.
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