In its 10th year at Just for Laughs, it is clear why The Ethnic Show is a staple of the festival. A milestone edition drew higher expectations, and did not disappoint.
Perhaps now more than ever, the “ethnic” component of the series has become half-baked. Fewer of the show’s comedians hail from outside of North America, and their jokes steer further away from their culture and origins than ever before. Nonetheless, each of the evening’s six comics brought forth plenty of laughs with their concise sets.
Many of the performers on this year’s billing were returning acts, including host, Maz Jobrani. The Iranian-born talent hasn’t performed at the festival in a couple of years, though he comes back like he never left. Rocking an ArtGang MTL baseball cap and making references to Jeans Jeans Jeans and questionable construction workers, the comedian is a true local.
This year, high energy trumped clever commentary in just about every act. One set that really exemplified this was Teen Wolf series regular Orny Adams, who started off slowly but came back with a vengeance for an exhilarating 20 minutes on stage. It came as no surprise that a deeply neurotic type like Adams embodies the classic “Self-Hating Jew” stereotype. (NOTE: Mr. Wavvy is also a self-hating Jew, in case any of the above sounded vaguely anti-Semitic.) His biggest hit came when explaining the perks of having low testosterone, all while screaming at the top of his lungs and pacing frantically across the stage.
Montreal is a multicultural mecca, and The Ethnic Show is kind of the perfect comedy event for this city. However, leave the kids at home, and be sure to sit in the back if roasts are not for you! ■
Just for Laughs’ The Ethnic Show continues through July 26.