Saturday, August 6, 2011
Just for Laughs
So, Montreal, eh? Hot. that's the first thing I remember about it. And Humid. Hot and humid. Nice, too, though. I got there about 4pm on the Wednesday which gave me enough time to unpack, grab a shower and dinner and get to my first Just for Laughs stand up show of the visit. I have been a fan of the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival for as long as I can remember, way back when all I ever got to see of it was a half hour compilation on late night TV. To be in the city itself and able to get to some shows was pretty exciting for me.
Jimmy Carr was my first pick. Not a bad show, but he is basically a one-liner wonder, kind of like Bob Monkhouse but ruder. And less orange. He was funny, but after a while I was hoping for something more interesting. He said himself that his show was something like 300 gags in and hour and a bit. Frankly that's too much for me. When you walk out the door, its hard to remember even one of the jokes he told, even though your face hurts a bit from laughing.
Thursday was spent wandering about the new part of the city, checking out the day-time bits and pieces of the festival and trying to sort some extra tickets so some friends of mine who were also in town would be able to join me for Louis CK that night. Sadly, it was sold out, but they got tickets to another, earlier, show, and we had time for a 10 minute catch up as we crossed over at the venue. Plans were made to make plans for Friday.
Louis CK was pretty funny. He was going to be getting the award for Best in Show, I believe, so no wonder he was sold out. His was a more usual, rambling monologue style, telling a short story over a long period of time, due to the tangents he'd go off on. I'd not seen much of his stuff before, but Ricky Gervais thinks he's great, and I still, for the moment, put at least some stock in Ricky's comedic tastes. If his own stand up continues to get worse, however, that may not last, but perhaps he can salvage some respect with his latest sit com that is nearly ready.
Friday came and I headed to the Old city down by the port. Lots of cobbled streets and tacky souvenir shops, but the buildings themselves were pretty cool. I was even able to get my camera cleaned so it no longer puts blobs in the same places in all the photos I take. My friends, it turned out, had tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show 'Totem' at 4pm, so I gate crashed their afternoon and got myself one, and bloody glad I did too.
Cirque du Soleil are based in Montreal (something I didn't know until that day), and I'd seen tasters of what they offered on TV shows and even at the Buskers Festival in Christchurch, where many of the acrobatic performers have history with C d S. The show was unbelievable. A mixture of skillful balancing, amazing acrobatics and pure strength and control, it left us all reeling afterwards. I didn't have long to reflect on it, however as I had to get back up town to see Danny Bhoy, my third show of choice.
I'd seen Danny Bhoy before in NZ, and he is hilarious. Half Indian-Scots he was influenced predictably enough by Billy Connolly, and it shows. He had his prepared material that he was able to add to and stray from at will, and his show was by far the funniest of the 3 I saw. If this guy doesn't become one of the best in the game, something is wrong with the world. If you get the chance, go see him.
I took an extra day on Saturday to just hang out and do laundry etc, then drove back all the way to Waterloo on the Sunday - the last leg of my mammoth journey. I'm glad I've done it, but by god, am I glad it's over, too! Frankly, it was too much driving to cram in to so short a time, but it is a tick on the bucket list, and something I won't have to do again in a hurry.
I spent most of this week relaxing, unwinding, swimming in local lakes and gearing up for the big canoe trip. I gave Flash Harriette back yesterday with an impressive 21,672km notched up for the 2 months, 3 weeks and 2 days that I'd had her for, and it hit somewhat hard in the pocket. Ah well, them's the breaks. You can't take it with you, etc. I'd rather have had some left to spend on next year's project, but there you go. At least I haven't gone over what I brought with me...yet. Still time I guess. At least the next week will be fairly cheap, out in the bush. Hopefully there will be tales to tell and photos to upload from that little caper, and then it'll be all over and back to the grindstone.
I have looked back on some of these blogs and, somewhat understandably, compared them to those of my brother on his motorbike trip. I think its fair to say he has won on interest and originality. I guess it is the nature of the trip. Not so much of the new and unusual for me this time around, I'm afraid.
Ah well, quit your whining and be grateful for what you're given. Keep 'em peeled for the final instalment sometime in about 10 days. All aboard...