jfl 42 toronto

The top 10 shows to catch at JFL42 2015

Just For Laughs has assembled the most controversial and thought-provoking line-up ever seen in Toronto. This year's edition of JFL42 in Toronto boasts a line-up that's both talented AND relevant, which isn't easy to do. As an added bonus, you now have the chance to purchase individual show tickets in addition to the affordable All-Access Pass.

And now, my totally-biased list of comedians that I think you should see above everyone else.

BILL BURR
The definition of a comic's comic, Ol' Billy Redface got in a wee bit of hot wautah!! for making fun of Caitlyn Jenner on Conan a few weeks ago. The next morning, everyone was surprised, shocked, and outraged...except for his fans, of course. They know what Bill Nye the Illiterate Guy is all about, and could care less who he offended.

TREVOR NOAH
You can't write a preview of JFL42 without including the man who's about to fill the largest shoes in comedy today: Trevor Noah. Don't know who I'm talking about? He's taking over The Daily Show from Jon freakin' Stewart. Enough said.

KATE BERLANT
Here's how the JFL42 website describes Kate's act: This is one of the 42 (yikes). "Kate's character, Life Coach, is a reaction to the wave of self-help gurus pandering to Generation X'ers who find themselves ill-equipped to answer Seneca's question, 'To what end do we toil'? If you like her take on things, check out Sam Harris' debate with Deepak Chopra, which is the intellectual version of Drake bodying Meek.

HANNIBAL BURESS
Quite simply, Hannibal is one of the most respected headliners in North America. In the above clip, he describes how racism affects him in ways that he doesn't immediately realize, which is the most confusing racism of them all. When it comes to Hannibal, everybody wants to talk about flicking pickle juice or the Cosby joke. Me, I love him for the apple juice bit. See this man.

RORY SCOVEL
Confidence is everything, and Rory's got it. The below clip shows him stretching the boundaries of stand-up AND keeping the audience engaged and laughing - many have only been able to accomplish the former. Notice how the pianist pianississimo's and mezzo-forte's in accord with Rory's energy? Reminds me of Hedberg's Strategic Grill Locations.

PETE HOLMES
Holmes is just so goddamn adorable, isn't he? Given his wide-eyed, enthusiastic character, the satirical side of his act can sometimes go unnoticed. I caught his performance a few years ago, in which he treated everyone to an extended show, where even his use of notes didn't get in the way of him killing during not one but two rounds of OT.

GRACE HELBIG
When I heard that Grace had a show on E!, I almost wrote her off completely. I prefer her earlier stuff that premiered on YouTube, but that's precisely why I'm including her on this list. In a more intimate, live JFL42 format, the freedom to channel her consciousness without the restrictions of a PG-13 ceiling will result in the open-minded Grace that the networks originally clamoured for.

JOHN HODGMAN
For nerds by a nerd, John lulls you to sleep with his didactic delivery, and it's when your mind is just becoming comfy when the punchlines start to hit. Check out his Tedx Midwest talk in which he skewers just about everyone who's ever taken the stage at a TED conference. For all of the comedians with the political leanings of a first-semester history student, this is what you call satire.

ALT SHOW HOSTED BY ANDY KINDLER
Admittedly, I'm a bit partial to the alt-comedy scene in Toronto...but can you blame me? Hell, Laugh Sabbath alumnus Katie Crown IG'd a photo with Andy freakin' Samberg a few weeks ago! This scene represents the most prolific constellation of comedians the Six has ever produced, which is amazing since they've largely done it all by themselves.

DUNCAN TRUSSELL
Fans of the Joe Rogan podcast rejoice, your favourite pyschedelic adventurer has arrived! Duncan burst on the scene with his well-read, out-of-left-field take on things on The JRE. Now, in addition to touring with his stand-up act, he holds live Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast recordings before a throng of die-hards.

Who did I miss? Add your most-anticipated shows in the comments.

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.

Photo of Bill Burr.


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