Just For Laughs Festival: All-Star Gala

by Lucy Allen

Last night I had planned a fun-filled evening with my laundry, and suddenly found out last minute that there were tickets available to the Just For Laughs All-star Gala event at Massey Hall, just one of many events going on for the Just For Laughs Toronto Festival this week.  Normally I hate to rush, but having grown up watching and loving Just for Laughs on television I couldn’t resist trying.  After a lot of running and a talk with a very helpful and forgiving festival employee, I finally managed to get in with about two minutes to spare.  And I can safely say it was well worth the effort.

To pick out favourite moments is difficult.  Each comedian was at the top of their game, proving that the Just for Laughs Festival is home to the best of comedy.  The Second City launched the evening with their own unique stab at the garbage strike; Greg Proops hilariously reamed out an audience member for texting during the performance (and any performer who does that becomes my secret hero for the evening); John Caparulo gave the most logical argument against deer hunting I’ve heard yet; Jimeoin won me over by making a stool impersonate Chewbacca, then cemented that love with his own washing machine impression; Jeremy Hotz, in his wonderfully neurotic tone, let an unsuspecting nineteen year old know just what aging had in store for him; and, finally, John Pinette closed the show by reminding me just why I hate turnips so much.

All in all, it was a solid evening and a good start to the festival.  I felt a huge smile on my face right from the beginning, and it didn’t leave once through the two hour show (and believe me, a face can get sore after two hours of laughing).  Although I didn’t end up going with anyone, just watching the number of people wiping away tears of laughter and nudging each other knowingly after each joke was a good enough indication of their enjoyment. 

If you didn’t catch the gala last night, there are still plenty of shows to catch.  And for those of you who might be financially challenged like myself, don’t forget there’s plenty of free events to see as well! Simply click on the “Street Arts” tab on the website. I highly recommend you check it out.  If last night’s events were anything to go by, it’s a week not to miss. A word of warning, though:  it would be best to use the washroom beforehand.  Your bladder might not be able to take the sheer pressure of laughter.  I know mine was certainly put to the test.

The Just For Laughs Toronto Festival continues until Sunday, June 19th.

Ticket prices vary according to event.

For more details, visit the Just for Laughs website or call the box office at 1-888-244-3155