Just for Laughs 2012 wrap-up

The sprawling 30th anniversary of the festival offers family-friendly fare, crass nastiness and everything in between.

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Key & Peele

Key & Peele Photograph: Maxime Cote


Best latecomer welcome
When a white teenager arrived late to a live set from sketch duo Key & Peele, the two were ready to pronounce him an “honorary black man” for being tardy and talking on the phone at the same time. When the kid confessed he was on the line with his dad, Jordan Peele rescinded the invitation: “Oh, well, that’s not black; we have no idea where our dads are.”

Best of the New Faces
Half of the stand-ups performing in these young-talent showcases were New Yorkers, so (unfairly to them) we felt at times like we were in a Brooklyn bar. Still, it’s worth noting that Jared Logan destroyed with a precision that made it clear he should have been in New Faces three years ago. Of those we’d never seen before, we really enjoyed Brent Morin’s focused observations and Junior Stopka’s unique, unglued perspective.

Best deconstructive bit

While pretending to be a representative of the festival at the Paul F. Tompkins and the Hilarious Trinity (Plus One) show , Canadian stand-up and sketch star Mark Little donned a track jacket and a big, fake mustache to defend the overtly colloquial, ubiquitous preshow announcement mentioning, among other things, that recording the show would be “kind of a dick move.” According to Little’s fictional fest rep, he only wrote the intro to connect with his verbally abusive son, who’s always saying things to his mother like, “Pass the salt and suck a ball.”

Most deserved admonition

During Ari Shaffir’s late-night storytelling show about inebriation, Sean Patton told a bizarre tale concerning a potential one-night stand. She began smoking crack while they watched a video of her with a roman candle in her vagina, firing its contents at a dozen onlookers all dressed as Casper the Friendly Ghost. After little more than a muted giggle from the crowd, Patton rightly announced, “That was a reeeally pedestrian response, Montreal.”

Best sets
Though no one show blew us away from start to finish, there were plenty of great performances (Patton Oswalt), evidence of comics growing (Amy Schumer) and fun solo shows (Sam Simmons). The range of tones on display—despite our rather white-male-heavy wrap-up—was a testament to the programmers; in the years ahead, we can only hope for even more international fare, more women, and maybe eight legs to carry us to their shows. You might also like See more in Comedy

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