Just For Laughs Ethnic Show – The 37th edition of the Just For Laughs comedy festival officially kicked off on July 11 with a Club Series show that has always been constantly solid and never failed to entertain its audience year after year: the Ethnic Show.
And this year’s edition was no exception, as this multicultural mosaic of comedy proved that you could always find some humour (without being too malicious) about whatever ethnic background or country of origin you came from.
Comedian Cristela Alonzo kicks things off
First-time Ethnic Show host Cristela Alonzo got things off to a great start, as she shared with the audience what it is like being a Mexican American living in the U.S.A., especially when one learned how to speak English thanks to “The Price is Right”. The charming Ms. Alonzo also related how she realized she was a minority when she went to college in St. Louis, and the reason why the school was taking pictures of her and a Black student because they were being used strictly for the university’s brochure to promote racial diversity.
Anthony De Vito represented the Italian people quite well, especially how he equated marriage with politics. “Every two years, your partner votes to keep you in; it makes me feel like a two-term husband,” he said. He also mentioned an Italian’s version of xenophobia and racism: “My mom’s biggest fear was Mexicans; my biggest fear was that she’ll say that to someone!”
Dave Merheje started his set doing some back and forth interaction with a couple of members of the audience who had the courage to sit in the front row. He then talked about growing up in Windsor, Ontario, and being bullied by citizens of nearby Detroit, which is located in “the Lebron James of countries.”
Robby Hoffman’s appearance was like a homecoming for her, as she spent the early years of her comedy career here in Montreal. The Emmy Award-winning comedian/writer related to the audience the misconceptions surrounding the Jewish mother, the appeal of getting a pizza in New York City at 4 a.m., and the 161 bus route that goes through Cote St. Luc (which she affectionately referred to as “the Jew bus”).
However, the two strongest sets belonged to the comics who closed each half of the show. Brazilian comic “Rafi” Bastos, who claimed he is usually confused for a Croatian drug dealer, won over the audience with his distinctive accent and somewhat syrupy delivery, especially his killer routine that dealt with environmentally unfriendly plastic straws and turtles. And Donnell Rawlings represented the U.S.A. with a raucous, urban-style set which he poked holes at hip hop country songs by Black artists, why Black women talk with their hands, people’s fondness for kale, and why at one time he was angry at Canada because he wasn’t able to play the Ms Pac Man video game machine with a Canadian quarter.
The Ethnic Show continues its lengthy run at Club Sods until July 25. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go towww.hahaha.com.