This time last year, I had made it.
In exchange for roasting Montreal celebrities at OFFJFL's presentation of A Stand-Up Guide to Montreal, I was given an artist pass. And while I am the first to admit that there is very little artistry involved in any live performance I have ever given, I was more than happy to let the ARTISTE label hang limp around my neck courtesy of the complimentary lanyard that came with the laminate.
With this pass, I was granted free entry in to any OFFJFL/Zoofest show that piqued my interest. Though I was able to occupy standing room in front of many an idol, I mostly found myself serving as a cheerleader for all my friends as they padded their resumés on Pabst-sponsored stages because I had seen firsthand how hard they worked and knew how important it was for these performances at the world's preeminent comedy festival to go well.
But alas, after a year of resting on my self-satisfied laurels, OFFJFL is back and I will be without artist pass. Even without the laminate, I still feel compelled to support my peers participating in this edition of the festival (as should you). Of course, this desire to do good is complicated by harsh financial realities.
I only have $21.50 to my name, which can only get me in to one OFFJFL show, if I also manage to find some change laying on the sidewalk while walking to the venue. So, rather than play favourites and simply decide whose show I want to see the most, I reached out to all the great Brunch Club affiliated performers featured in this year's festival to find out what's in it for me?
The Ladies and Gentlemen Comedy Show
Synopsis: A partly-improvised, multi-comic show that was the best weekly comic show in Montreal until it ended this June returning for one last revival.
Co-creator/host Daniel Carin says: "The Ladies & Gentlemen Comedy Show will put a smile on your face, a dance in your step, a twinkle in your eye, a slap in your knee, a song in your heart, a run-on in your sentence, some ants in your pants, some bark in your bite, some cream and sugar in your coffee and here's your blueberry scone, have a great day, can I help who's next?"
The verdict: You spelled my name incorrectly on the cup and I'm pretty sure this isn't decaf. Clearly this is a farce of the highest order.
The Montreal Show
Synopsis: The best Montreal comics do their best to make their city proud and lure tourists into thinking they are having an authentic experience hosted by none other than Brunch Club's resident dad Steve Patrick Adams!
The very funny and friendly Jacob Greco says (in an ominous tone): "Think of your family, Iain"
The verdict: I've thought about my family and I fail to see how they relate to having a good time with my friend Jacob Greco.
The Sketch Republic
Synopsis: HOT RAW FIRE have a surprise, Cousins are family (you must) and Tallboyz II Men came all the way from Toronto (it would be rude not to go), says producer Erin Hall.
HOT RAW FIRE's Deirdre Trudeau says: Because we spent $250+ on what may be the dumbest props ever used by HOT RAW FIRE, baby.
The verdict: If you can spend $250 on props, why don't you kick some of that cash up to me so I don't have to put you all through this humiliating process of begging for my attention/money.
Synopsis: The most crowd-pleasing-poetic-life-saving-dumb-as-hell plays from the past 21 Joketowns where the audience will crown a new mayor with applause.
Co-producer and superstar DJ Mausner says: "A cast member of your choice will give you a kiss."
The verdict: I just don't know if I'm ready for that kind of commitment because of where I'm at emotionally right now.
Crazy Sexy 90's
Synopsis: A pop odyssey that celebrates the women in music who defined the decade with stand-up, sketch, drag, music and cabaret performances.
Co-host/creator, the incomparable Tranna Wintour says: "Because if you do, I'll put you on the next Trannavision. I listened to my co-host/creator Thomas Leblanc on Hot Goss and I know how badly you wanted to be on the Glitter one."
The verdict: Tranna, you and I are going to have a talk...
Synopsis: A celebration of hilarious and talented female comedians of all ilk, backgrounds and perspectives to shatter the glass ceiling with powerful laughter.
My twin sister Natalie Norman says: "I d k. What else are u going to do?"
The verdict: Stand outside the venues listed above and turn tricks to hopefully make enough money to buy a pass so that I can see all these shows.