It’s been dubbed as a “festival of discoveries”, and when Patrick Rozon and his organizers revealed the line-up for the 11th edition of the OFF-JFL & Zoofest at a press conference that was held on June 11 at the Monument National Theatre, comedy fans are about to discover the wide array of stand-up, improv, sketch, concept, musical and alternative comedy shows that will involve about 200 of some of the world’s best and brightest comics at eight venues across Montreal between July 11 and 28.
What comedy fans will discover about OFF-JFL & Zoofest
And the other things that comedy fans will discover about OFF-JFL & Zoofest is that these shows, usually about 60 minutes in length, will take place in small, intimate venues offering up close and personal top notch comedy at affordable ticket prices.
To start with, one of my favourite OFF-JFL shows will once again be part of the festival line-up. Midnight Surprise is just what the name implies; a late night show that starts precisely at 11:59 p.m. with a roster of top comedians that will remain a surprise to the audience until the moment they are introduced by the host. And speaking of hosts, this year’s Midnight Surprise series is being helmed by Donnell Rawlings (“Chappelle’s Show”) and SNL cast member Chris Redd.
OFF-JFL will also present a wide variety of solo stand-up comedy shows
OFF-JFL will also present a wide variety of solo stand-up comedy shows that will be headlined by an impressive group of A-List and longtime festival favourite comedians such as Brad Williams, Brian Posehn, Cameron Esposito, Nish Kumar, Matteo Lane, Mark Forward, Ron Funches, Liza Treyger, K. Trevor Wilson and Andy Kindler.
Multi-comic and concept shows
There will also be a large selection of multi-comic and concept shows for fans to choose from, such as “Ari Shaffir’s Renamed Storytelling Show”, Rapp Battlez, the Hosts with the Most series, a marriage-related show called “Would You Bang Him” starring married couple Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane; and Big Jay Oakerson’s popular crowd work show “What’s Your F@#king Deal?”.
As well, OFF-JFL & Zoofest will have 25 shows as part of its Canadian Spotlight series that will showcase some of Montreal’s and Canada’s best comedic talent.
“Having shows at OFF-JFL, especially staging comedy shows that lack borders, is both magical and exciting, because it gives us a chance to show audiences a type of comedy that is usually underexposed,” said James McGee, a Montreal improv comic who is returning to OFF-JFL with two improv shows that he produced, which were hits last year: “Dice of Destiny” a comedy show with a Dungeons and Dragons twist to it, and “Blender”, which improv comics pair up with performers who have never done improv comedy beforehand, such as clowns, actors and stand-up comics.
McGee is also bringing two new shows to OFF-JFL: “Carousel” and “High Rollers”, which combines improv and campy classic game shows from the 1970s. “This show is going to bring back the spirit of The Price is Right and Match Game, in which performers will bid and gamble on which improv situations will work best. We are also going to bring back those garish set design colours, so were going to use a lot of oranges, yellows and browns,” he said.