I had made it a point this year to stick to shows featuring artists I rarely had the chance to see live. Thus no Rich Vos, no Christian Finnegan, no Golds either Judy or Elon, no Aziz Ansari, no Marc Maron, etc. The same was supposed to hold true for Louis CK, yet I was easily swayed into catching his final midnight show at the 2300-cap Metropolis [an additional last-minute show was announced for tonight at the Kola Note]. Prolific as ever, CK managed to fill at least half of a one-hour, 45-minute show with material crafted since his spring Hilarious CD and DVD tapings. As for the old stuff, I overheard the quoted phrase “You are sitting in a chair…IN THE SKY!” twice more before the evening was out.
On the downside, as always, a sacrifice had to be made. I opted out of the midnight Alternative Show, where I had hoped to catch Duncan Trussell, an out-there New Face whose darker stuff had previous been nixed from the Cabaret Theatre. He was one of the fortunate ones, however. Scrambling to fill late-night space vacated by Paul Provenza in the St. Catherine Theatre, two free New Faces…Encore shows were announced, only to quickly be dubbed “Best of New Faces.” Normally the top of the New Faces crop gets play over at Comedyworks, the Comedy Nest and elsewhere, and it still happened to some extent, but now not being included in Encore equated to instant, in-Festival failure. Ouch. Aren’t these guys already under enough pressure?
Over at Doug Stanhope’s second annual Just For Spite Festival (two nights at Cafe Chaos, in the heart of the JFL street fair grounds), both shows were sold out by Friday’s 8 p.m. start time. As a result, Stanhope will be making more money off two independent sets than most acts will make in their entire Festival run. [Full disclosure: I’m married to one of Stanhope’s business cohorts.]
Speaking of selling out, Russell Peters checked “Sell out the single biggest show in JFL history” off his to-do list. Recently named one of Forbes’ “Top 10 Earning Comedians” Peters counted 11,000 paid tickets at the Bell Centre, later celebrating the achievement at a “Midnight at the Opera” shindig in association with Just For Laughs Comedy Conference at Club Opera.