While JFL42 has always promoted queer perspectives—looking at you Wanda—this year Toronto’s favourite comedy festival offers a variety of voices sure to make audiences burst with laughter while contemplating points of view that are unique and refreshing to the stage. From Showpig’s Chris Fleming to Hollywood legend Wanda Sykes to queer Canadian comedy royalty Chanty Marostica, JFL42 is sure to entertain a swath of comedy tastes.
“The festival producers always want the collective line up of artists to be representative of the comedy community at large; but also, we encourage a variety and diversity of voices,” says Zoe Rabnett, Director of Festival Talent & Planning for JFL42. “There’s no question that the LGBTQ community should be represented as part of the festival programming and we are excited to have a growing lineup of comedians from that community to work with,” she says.
In light of the interesting queer perspective on display at this year’s JFL42, here are five of the must-see LGBT acts worth getting tickets to during the festivals run September 20-29th.
Everyone’s favourite Youtube mom Gayle, hits the Royal Theatre in Toronto on September 24th and 25th. His latest stand up special Showpig is equally parts hilarious and poignant, and Fleming’s distinct sense of reflective humour is sure to hit home in ways unexpected and funny. Check out the Lizard People episode of Fleming’s smash hit series.
What else can we say about Sykes at this point? One of the O.G’s of queer comedy plays the Sony Centre on September 23rd for two shows. It’s hard to believe that before 1987 when she hit the stage for the first time in her hometown of Washington D.C, that Sykes worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) for five years. Who knew this funny female, providing us with hilarious hours like 2003’s Tongue Untied was once spying on us all! Check out this six-minute bit on the perils of waxing.
This Canadian queer comedian combines storytelling, impressions, and spot-on timing to bring their trans perspective to the Rivoli on September 20th and The Comedy Bar on September 25 and 26th. Chanty has had a presence throughout a variety of comedy festivals, including Toronto’s longest running LGBT Showcase “Church Street Comedy and the Queer + Non-Binary + Female identifying showcase Empowerment. Check out this bit from SirusXM’s Top Comic 2014.
Not just a comedian, funny man Matteo Lane brings his classical-trained vocal chops to the 42nd JFL festival, combining humour with his show Streisand at the Bon Soir, with Matteo Lane. He recreates the magic of 19-year-old Barbra Streisand’s famous jazz set at Bon Soir with his own updated flavor and stylings, Matteo Lane plays The Comedy Space September 20-21st as well as The Garrison on September 22nd. Check out his 6-minutes of fame on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert below.
Comedy queen Margaret Cho sits down for a conversation with Canadian filmmaker Nicole Stamp at Second City on September 22nd and offers two stand up sets on the 21st and the evening of the 22nd. Boundary pushing since 94’s All American Girl, Cho offers a unique twists on social and political problems, especially surrounding race and sexuality. Check out this cool interview Cho did with Broadly.
By Devin Jones