ARTS&LIFE ❚ ❚ ❚ T H E G A Z E T T E | MONTREAL | MONDAY, JULY 27, 2009 | EDITORS: ARTS, MARK TREMBLAY ■ LIFE, MICHAEL SHENKER | 514 987 2560 arts&[email protected] Just for Laughs JOHN CLEESE: THE ALL-STAR GALA OUR “EXPERTS” ON LAST NIGHT’S GALA NO. 7 BILL BROWNSTEIN DENISE DUGUAY BASEM BOSHRA Brownstein is a Gazette columnist and veteran of 26 festivals. Duguay is a Gazette copy editor who once hugged Howie Mandel. Boshra believes all things in life should be reviewed in chart form. OVERALL Give John Cleese his due. Coming out of sick bay to host two shows with stiffish Brit upper lip – in jacket and tie, but no shirt. Still, “all-star gala” was somewhat of a misnomer. Thank the comedy gods for Louis CK and Bobcat Goldthwait. Despite the prop IV-pole pushed by Andy Nulman, to make light of John Cleese’s earlier illness, I was a little worried about Cleese. He was funny, but sounded frail and was thoroughly failed when an audio-visual glitch killed his biggest bit. Even the mighty Louis CK’s closing set could scarcely salvage this utter misfire. Chalk it up to the delays brought on by trooper Cleese’s illness or whatever, but seeing the Python legend stuck in amateurish sketches was painful to watch. BEST ACT Louis CK: Can slay any room with his surreal ramblings on the mundane. Bobcat Goldthwait. His best joke ended with the punchline “Fire truck” and no setup could give enough context. You had to be there, and next time, you should. Louis CK. The festival’s MVP riffed on the overuse of words like “genius” and “hilarious” – sorry dude, you’re guilty of being both. BEST JOKE Louis CK: “White people complain about everything, even that it takes six hours flying from New York to Los Angeles. Get over it! It used to take 30 years and many people died, some with arrows in their necks.” Bobcat Goldthwait: “I had a woman come up to me at the airport and say, ‘I don’t mean to insult you, but you look just like Bobcat Goldthwait.” Bobcat Goldthwait: “I had a woman come up to me at the airport and say, ‘I don’t mean to insult you, but you look just like Bobcat Goldthwait.” 2ND BEST JOKE Bobcat Goldthwait: “I had a woman come up to me at the airport and say, ‘I don’t mean to insult you, but you look just like Bobcat Goldthwait.” Caroline Rhea: “I am breastfeeding, so when I say I’m pumped to do this, I really mean it.” John Cleese on celebrities adopting African babies: “I know what they’re up to and Abe Lincoln abolished it in 1862.” WORST JOKE Paul Rodriguez: “Been trying to lose weight with a different diet. Been eating only Ethiopian food.” Paul Rodriguez: “Ever had sex with someone so ugly you had to apologize to your penis?” A toss up, given the abundance of clunkers, but I’ll go with David Alan Grier: “In 10 years, we had oral sex two times – and both times I was holding the gun.” Because domestic violence is hilarious. MORE, MORE Bobcat Goldthwait: Went over the edge and survived magnificently. And props to hometown girl Caroline Rhea: “I don’t understand Viagra. I like pie, but don’t want to eat that for 41⁄2 hours.” Bobcat Goldthwait, even when he’s rambling. Scratch that: especially when he’s rambling. Caroline Rhea. A Bobcat Goldthwait solo show, detailing his Hollywood flameout stories – setting fire to the Tonight Show stage, getting fired from Hollywood Squares – would be a riot. NO MORE Seriously. Was the red stop light on stage broken when Paul Rodriguez went on and on and on ... Sets that run overtime, especially, as with Paul Rodriguez last night, when the set is not hitting the mark. Paul Rodriguez. Ironic that he would joke about the stage looking like a terrorist had blown it up, because there was some serious bombing going on. PHOTOS: JOHN MAHONEY THE GAZETTE JOHN CLEESE came on stage for the Sunday-night gala at Théàtre St. Denis with Just for Laughs’ Andy Nulman carrying his IV pole, which didn’t seem overly dramatic at all since he’d bowed out of hosting the Wednesday night gala with a case of prostatitis that put him in a Montreal hospital. The IV pole was a lark, as were the just-escaped-the-ICU outﬁt of threadbare jacket and holey pants with no shirt or socks. But for all the props, the veteran actor, comedian and former member of Monty Python did look and sound quite frail, though his acid wit can not, apparently, be sidelined. “I wish I could say I was excited to be here, but I’m not.” He went on to kvetch about his latest divorce and recovered nicely from an audio-visual failure, even though it robbed the early gala’s audience from seeing his biggest bit of the night. Of the comics on the All-Star Gala bill – Louie Anderson, David Alan Grier, Mike MacDonald, Paul Rodriguez, Caroline Rhea, Bobcat Goldthwait and Louis CK – Goldthwait was the best. Check the chart at left for our review of the show. And for more reviews, photos and more, go to montrealgazette.com/justforlaughs2009.
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