The top 10 comedians to catch at JFL42

Just For Laughs 42 (JFL42) is back in Toronto from September 18-27 with headliners including Seth Meyers, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Joe Rogan, and Nick Offerman. This year promises an improved system aimed at helping you see as many comedians as possible.

The first thing you have to know is that tickets for individual shows are not "for sale." JFL42 uses a pass system which, though confusing at first, is pretty remarkable. It's a little complicated for the uninitiated, so I'm here to walk you through it (and share my picks for what to see).

Ticket options
No headliner: $49/Two Passes | $79/Four Passes | $99/Six Passes
One headliner: $69/Two Passes | $99/Four Passes | $129/Six Passes
Four headliners: $299/Ten passes

How does the pass system work?
Deep breath. OK. Let's say you want to see Brody Stevens. Reserve a seat online, which will cost one credit. Go to the show. While you wait for the show to start, check-in to the event using Facebook's location services and your credit will be added back. Therefore, as long as you remember to check-in every time you see a show, you will be able to see every single supporting act, time permitting!

Help - the show I want is sold out!
Never fear! Add the show to your wishlist via the app/website. If enough people add Amy to their wishlist, the JFL pantheon will add another show and/or move her to a bigger venue.

Now that you're ready to buy a pass, here are my top ten picks for what to see at JFL42 2014.

Select Headliners

Seth Meyers has had a beast of a career so far. I mean, the guy just turned 40, and already he's been a head writer for SNL, hosted the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, and of course, owns a coveted late night talk show.

Like many of the comedy superstars on the scene, she's balanced her stand-up act with a strong acting resume, appearing on 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Furthermore, her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, was just picked up for a second season. Accomplishments aside, the real reason I'm going to her show is that I've heard Bill Burr mention that she's been on a stand-up tear recently. As far as endorsements go, that's just about the biggest plug you can get.

What a life! From Taekwondo champion to Fear Factor host to one of the faces of the fastest growing sport on the planet, Joe's had a whale of a career. Though he's well-known for his various exploits on television, it's stand-up that has always been number one in his heart. Oh, and by the way, he got his start in Boston, so whatever you do, do not heckle.

I first got a glimpse of Wanda's talent on Curb Your Enthusiasm, where her outspoken character provided the perfect foil for Larry's, well, Larry. What I didn't know was that Comedy Central included her in a list of the greatest stand-ups of all time, and I can see why. Her joke about Michelle Obama is SPOT ON.

Select Supporting Acts

I suspect Chris will have some of the most well-attended shows at JFL42 this year. Most will know him from his role on Whitney, but I was first impressed by Chris after watching him kill in one video after another on Laugh Factory's YouTube. I get the impression that comedy nerds don't like him because of his subject matter and use of impressions, and I've even seen him compared to Dane Cook, but that's the internet for you. Personally, I love to see someone who's genuinely enjoying their time on stage.

Like comedy podcasts? Well, Rolling Stone ranked The Pod F. Tompkast number one. Like movies? Paul's been in everything from Anchorman to There Will Be Blood. How about television? He's done King of the Hill, Frasier, Community, and Key & Peele. With all of these accolades, it's easy to forget that he has also released three stand-up albums along the way. So yeah, reserve your seat FAST.

The powerful Brody Stevens is back! Yes! His act has taken him far and wide, performing on shows like Tosh.0 and the NFL on Fox. Watch one of his videos and you'll see why he's known as a comic's comic. While his material gives off the bravado of a battle rapper from New York, his appearance reminds me of Raffi from Sharon, Lois, and Bram.

The first time I went to see Mantown, the place was so packed that I thought the out of town headliner was doing a second show. By kicking off the night with games like Broken Telephone (with beer) and Hot Potato (also with beer), Mantown had the crowd cheering from the very beginning. When they settled into their long-form improv performance, they absolutely crushed. For me, the best part of the evening was feeling like I was at a party rather than just a show. Seriously, these guys need a TV show stat.

When I first started out in stand-up, I saw Graham Kay destroy, and I felt like I was watching a superhero. He's one of those guys whose jokes kill me no matter how many times I've heard them, but don't take my word for it. Dave Chappelle called one of his bits an "instant classic." Not to be outdone, Sara Hennessey's energy and enthusiasm will provide a great foil to Graham's reserved delivery. Her act outs and wide-eyed perspective are hilarious and really endearing.

About the Author: This is Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third-person. My blog, Diary of a Stand-up Comedian, walks you through the up's and down's (they're mostly down's, really) in my quest to become a killer comic in Toronto.

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Arts

Arcadia Earth opens in Toronto and it's unlike anything the city has seen before

Spacing magazine marks 20 years as the essential antidote to Toronto Life

Pottery Dream is Toronto's serene new space to explore the world of ceramics

Forest of glowing orbs will transform Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square

The history of the ROM in Toronto

Iconic Toronto sculpture rises from the ashes with a brand new look and home

Here are places you can find Indigenous art in and around Toronto

This is what Nuit Blanche looked like in Toronto for 2023