The women are killing it at Just For Laughs this year!


Debra DiGiovanni

The minute Debra DiGiovanni finished her 50-minute word-tornado of a comedy set at Place des Arts last night, my friend turned to me and said: “How in the world have I never heard of this woman before?”

I understood exactly what he meant.

There is no way you can see DiGiovanni perform and not marvel at her wealth of comedic material, ease of delivery, and her mile-a-minute non-stop verbal assault of your senses. The woman don’t stop, won’t stop! And I loved every minute of it.

This was the first time I saw DiGiovanni during a solo show. I had caught ten minutes of her act years ago as part of an ensemble show (perhaps The Nasty Show) and found her incredibly entertaining. Little did I know that the Toronto-born comedian (she now lives in LA) could sustain that level of energy and entertainment for close to a solid hour. She barely stopped to breathe last night, that’s how fast she ran from topic to topic to topic. And she had no shortage of topics and never did I feel a lull during her show. It just kept on going strong.

This woman is simply brilliant and you’ve got a few more opportunities to see her before she packs her bags and wows some other comedy-loving crowds. Montreal’s very own lovely and funny Trana Wintour (fresh off her own Crazy Sexy ’90s comedic run ) opened for her so you’re guaranteed an all-around good night. Just GO!

For information and/or tickets to her show, go here.

Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room

After a quick dinner of Pho in Chinatown, we rushed off to Café Cleopatra afterwards for Katherine Ryan’s impeccably timed comedy solo show. I’ve seen Ryan perform live before and knew what to expect. Thanks to her Netflix special (which I haven’t seen yet) she seems to have made quite a few more fans since her last appearance in Montreal, since the lineups in the dreary rain were impressively long last night.

Ontario-born Ryan (now residing in London, England for over a decade) is such a contradiction in every possible way. She confuses people when they first see her and I suspect she relishes that.

She’s stereotypically beautiful in a blonde-hair and blue-eyes sort of way. She loves to always dress up for her shows and takes care in her appearance. But while she appears “harmless”, she swears like a sailor, is quick as a whip, and talks about sex and bad relationships through the prism of feminism and equal rights. I love her. She makes me laugh effortlessly and she’s comfortable and at home on stage, which makes me want to watch her perform even more.

Whether she’s talking about raising a British daughter (like a tiny, inefficient butler), failed relationships, or why men are like dolphins, she’s affable and funny and always on the money with her observations.

Alex Edelman opened for her and I really enjoyed what I saw of this young up-and-comer. I could have listened to an entire set by him, which is pretty much what any comedian would hope you would say. I hope he comes back to JFL with a proper set of his own.

Just a few more shows left for Ryan, so for information and/or tickets, you should go here.

All in all, two solid female-led solo shows really worth catching if you can. You really won’t regret it.