For ten days in venues all across Toronto, JFL42 provided festival-goers with an all-you-can-eat array of comedy. In its fifth year, the festival expanded its roster of stand up, sketches, live podcast recordings and improv to include exclusive close-up Q&As with industry veterans. With more laughs on offer than it was possible to obtain (believe me, I tried), here are the Best Bits of JFL42 2016:
- Best Punchline – Mark Forward: “I miss my dad every day, but one day I’m gonna hit him.”
- Best Exit Clause – Dana Gould: “Til death do us part is god’s way of saying I can get you out of this, but it’s a little extreme.”
- Best Response to Discovering Masturbation – Kumail Nanjiani on his cousin: “His lips moved but no sound came out. Then he picked up a bb gun and shot a crow.”
- Best Mourning Routine – Gary Gulman: “I don’t know when waking up and getting up became two separate negotiations.”
- Best Anti-Misogyny Check and Mate – Cameron Esposito: “It’s not weird to consider that women could save you. We made you. All of you.”
- Best Toronto Man Cave – Amanda Brooke Perrin: “I love Castle Frank station because it sounds like your dad’s renovated basement.”
- Best Defensive Remark – Neal Brennan: “My girlfriend’s dad asked me if I owned a gun. A gun? I don’t even own an umbrella. I couldn’t protect your daughter from a drizzle.”
- Best Justification for an Ikea Trip – Danny Bhoy: “I hate church pews. 8 inches for your back, 2 inches for your arse. Who do they think is coming? Giraffes?”
- Best Layoff-er – Ronny Chieng: “Air lines keep cutting costs by cutting frills. People fly with risky airlines if the cost is low enough. They’re just seeing how low the cost can get before you no longer care about the possibility of dying.”
- Best Douche-dar – Hasan Minhaj: “I don’t want to talk about politics is the new I’m not racist, but…”
- Best Resume Key Skill – Joe DeRosa: “What do all serial killers have in common? Success! They’re all really good at what they do.”
- Best Display of Dominance – Sabrina Jalees: “You’re gay? I thought you were sporty. What do you say to that? Do you just do a back handspring into a pussy?”
- Best New Quiz Show – Mark Little tested the crowd: “Is this a Justin Bieber lyric? Or something a demon says to a small boy he wants to consume?”
- Best Endorsement of Canadian Audiences – Dan Harmon: “Is the Adderall flowing freely here? Is that how you have so much energy? You socialise medicine and everyone has ADD.”
- Best Beauty Tip – DeAnne Smith: “If you want to look as young as I do, it’s very simple. Have unresolved childhood issues.”
- Best Call for Gender Equality – Jak Knight: “No matter who does it, Titty Fucking looks dumb as shit. And there’s no male analogue. No woman has ever been like Boy, get on your knees and shrug your shoulders repeatedly.”
- Best Logical Phallus-sy – Sophie Buddle: “I ask him why he likes it when I’m choking during a blowjob. He says it makes him feel like it’s big. You know when a box says choking hazard? It’s not ‘cause the pieces are big. People choke on grapes, not eggplants.”
- Best Silver Lining – Tim Meadows: “The bad economy was really good for Detroit, ‘cause people couldn’t buy guns and ammo.”
- Best Navel Gaza-ing – Neal Brennan: “The irony of the word Palestine is how much it sounds like a Jewish last name.”
- Best Sails Pitch – Demitri Martin: “Cruises seem like a difficult thing to market. Do you like hotels? What if they could sink?”
- Best Living Well – Emo Phillips: “I hate being divorced. I’d rather be a widower.”
- Best Use of Braille – Moshe Kasher: “Abs don’t actually do anything useful. They just let blind women know which douchebags not to fuck.”
- Best 2 for 1 Groupon – Christophe Davidson: “A bed and breakfast is a good place to see the breakdown in a relationship and a small business at the same time.”
- Best Family Reunion – Before Kumail Nanjiani told a story, he asked the crowd if anyone there was related to him.
“Yeah” said a voice. “Your cousin Nather, from Dallas.”
Kumail got flustered and sighed before going onto his joke. “So this is the story of how I started wearing underwear…”
- Best Excuse for Legalization – Joe DeRosa: “Can you believe Phelps smokes weed? I can’t believe he only smokes weed. Drugs make you better at sport. It’s been proven time and time again.”
- Best Post Match Analysis – Danny Bhoy: “How did sportspeople describe their emotional journeys before the invention of roller coasters?”
- Best “Missing the Point” – Hasan Minhaj: “How many times do we just put our heads down and do what we should, not what we want?”
An audience member cheers.
“No, that’s not…”
- Best “It’s 2016” Moment – Cameron Esposito: “How can there be such a thing as a wrong bathroom when 2000 years ago there was no such thing as a bathroom?”
- Best Lesson Learned – Dana Gould: “Fun size chocolate is the first time kids get dicked over by advertising.”
- Best Backup Career – Is Sabrina Jalees psychic? She gestured to a guy in the front row and made a reference to “Michael’s” sperm.
“But my name is” He replied and showed his ID. The room went nuts.
“YOU NEED A PRIZE.” She shouted, before presenting him with a full beer.
- Best Life Goals – Jackie Kashian: “When I was four I didn’t want a baby. I wanted moccasins and the fuck out of Wisconsin.”
- Best “I love you too, Mom” Gary Gulman: “Must be nice is how Jews say congratulations.”
- Best Comeback – Kumail Nanjiani (on Harmontown): “The first time I masturbated, I blacked out and came to.”
Jeff Davis: “So you blacked out? And came, too?”
- Best Call Out – DeAnne Smith: “Sinbad, do you realise that as you’re telling me you’re not a pedophile, you’re holding a bag of candy?”
- Best Culture Shock – Hasan Minhaj would periodically deliver punchlines in Urdu before repeating them in English. You’d hear tittering or gasps around the crowd before the rest of the crowd got the joke. It always seemed natural, never pandering.
- Best Paradox – Mark Forward: “There are two sides to every story. People say that, right? Which also means there isn’t.”
- Best Pakistani Marketing Department – Kumail Nanjiani: “We had a theme park called Fun Land. It sounds like a first draft. It’s around the corner from Work Building and Food Place.”
- Best Downplay – Emo Phillips: “I like the south. Of course, I’m prejudiced.”
- Best Use of Sex Sells – Tim Meadows: “The Dyson Airblade feels like I’m fisting a robot.”
- Best Sketchy Business – Amanda Brooke Perrin: “I hate portrait tattoos. It’s always of some baby and the story is never It’s super alive and working at Reitmans.“
- Best Revelation – Demitri Martin: “When they came up with the word invent, that must’ve been a weird moment.”
- Best Cut Down – Neal Brennan: “Skrillex looks like he got his hair cut by one of his own songs.”
Even though Carrot Top was absent, props go to all the organisers of this amazing annual event. The atmosphere around the festival engendered a sense of community, with fans eager to share their favourite acts or suggestions on who to see. If you’re into a world-class comedy festival on a local stage, check out JFL42 next year. Or don’t, I’m not your dad or anything.