10 Shows to Check Out at JFL Northwest

Support local and international comedians—and get your giggle on.

February 28, 2018

By Alyssa Hirose

Everyone laughs, but not everyone laughs the same. You’ve got your bellowing uncle laughs and your breezy socialite laugh. You’ve got your gentle retail laughs, hushed library laughs and canned TV laughs. There’s also our personal favourite: the laughing-so-hard-no-sound-is-coming-out-and-you-can’t-breathe laugh, when hot tears stream down your face and your stomach feels like it’s about to explode. No matter your laugh language, the JFL Northwest comedy festival is sure to get you gasping, giggling and guffawing all week long. This 10-day comedy extravaganza features 38 international and 18 local acts. From superstar stand-up to small-town sketch, you’ll be in stitches from setup to punchline.

(Photo: Rotten Tomatoes.)

1. Lost in Paris

Thursday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street

If you like watching people stumble, fall and get hit with flying objects, this film is for you. Hilarious disaster ensues when a confused old lady, a determined klutz and an obnoxious tramp adventure through one of Europe’s most famous cities. This show will be the film’s first premiere in British Columbia, but it has already been commended elsewhere for both its quantity and quality of physical humour. In other words, prepare to watch characters get stuck, slapped and splashed in the name of comedy. Tickets available here.

(Photo: Jack Dezon.)

2. Shasheer Zamata

Friday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Biltmore Cabaret, 2755 Prince Edward Street

This bold SNL star is known for her bang-on celebrity impressions (we’re looking at you, Michelle Obama—or are we?) and hilarious but poignant bits challenging gender and racial stereotypes. Her first hour-long special, Pizza Mind, was just released. From calling a cab to Star Wars to Disneyland, Zamata’s got a lot to say about diversity and inclusion—you’ll be laughing (and learning) the whole way through. Tickets available here.

(Photo: Evil Patrick Shannon.)

3. Hip.Bang!

Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau Street

These improvisors are fresh off a European tour, but a little jetlag won’t stop them from performing on their home stage. Dynamic duo Tom and Devin will be debuting their brand-new show called@Home, in which they hold on to their treasured self-sabotaging comedy while pushing the boundaries of performance. They’ll be joined by Winnipeg sketch standouts H.U.N.K.S. for an evening of hijinks and tomfoolery. Tickets available here.

(Photo: The Sunday Service.)

4. The Sunday Service

Sunday, March 4 at 9:00 p.m.
Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street

If this show was a kid, it’d be a brace-faced, sweaty, pre-pubescent middle schooler—which is to say, the Sunday Service is 12 years old. This improv troupe is made up of Ryan Beil, Mark Chavez, Caitlin Howden, Kevin Lee, Aaron Read and Taz VanRassel, and has more than 20 Canadian Comedy Award nominations. Audiences can expect a fast-paced take on traditional long-form improv. Tickets available here.

(Photo: Little Mountain Improv.)

5. Little Mountain Improv

Tuesday March 6 at 8:30 p.m.
Little Mountain Gallery, 195 E 26th Avenue

These improvisors have mastered variety. Their “regular” Tuesday shows are anything but, featuring everything from improvised Oregon Trail to the imagined ending of an obscure movie. Classic improv and experiential improv are married in hilarious matrimony. Tickets available here.

(Photo: Leigh Eldridge.)

6. The Lady Show

Thursday, March 8 at 8:00 p.m.
The Redgate Revue Stage, 1601 Johnson Street

Move over, funnymen—this feminist comedy variety show is about to radicalize the heck out of JFL. These ladies perform everything from sketch to music, and audience members can expect a surprise at every turn. Regulars include Diana Bang (The Interview, Assaulted Fish), Morgan Brayton (30 Helens, OutTV’s Morgan Brayton and Other People), Fatima Dhowre (Winnipeg Comedy Festival) and Katie-Ellen Humphries (Halifax Comedy Festival, The Debaters). Tickets available here.

(Photo: The Hero Show.)

7. The Hero Show

Thursday, March 8 at 9:00 p.m.
The China Cloud, 524 Main Street

An alternative mixed bag of monologues, readings and musical performances, this decade-old solo sketch comedy show prides itself on its strangeness. A few of this show’s highlights will include Aaron Read hosting a children’s fitness show, Amy Goodmurphy teaching the audience how to pick up women and Nathan Hare parodying the “bad teacher” trope we know so well. Tickets available here.

(Photo: Flower.)

8. Flower

Friday March 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Annex, 823 Seymour Street

Dark comedy meets teen angst—what more could you ask for in a coming-of-age film? Seventeen-year-old Erica Vandross makes well-intentioned bad decisions on a mission to expose the dark secret of a high school teacher. The audience will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A post-screening, with the film’s director Max Winkler in the hot seat. Tickets available here.

(Photo: Cameron Esposito.)

9. QUEERY with Cameron Esposito

Saturday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street

Explore identity, personality and cultural shifts with acclaimed host Cameron Esposito. This kickass comedian dives into dialogue with fellow LGBTQ+ leaders, discussing gender and sexuality with her usual side-splitting twist. Tickets available here.

(Photo: All You Can Eat Laundry.)

10. All You Can Eat Laundry

Saturday, March 10 at 8:30 p.m.
Little Mountain Gallery, 195 E 26th Avenue

All You Can Eat Laundry is back for another load! North Shore local Maddy Kelly hosts this over-the-top comedy variety show, which in the past has showcased call-ins, live sitcom and overly personal drinking games. From delicates to tumble dry, this show is a setting for just about everyone. Tickets available here.

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