Saturday was a day off for my brother's wedding. Would recommend, though I highly doubt there will be another, so you missed out.
After being a big fan of Kinane for many years, it's always a treat to watch him evolve and come back stronger than ever. My friend describes him as a teller of beautiful stories of failure, and that's almost a minimizing of what he's able to do. Dense, long, no-stone-left-unturned bits that just keep having better and better payoffs, the sometimes sour yet always lovable Kinane is now clearly having the time of his life up there.
Audience Review: Not sure if these were all fans of Kinane, but they all knew that his bits have peaks and valleys. Loud parts and quiet parts, like a Pixies song. They were quiet for long set-ups, and popped huge when the time called for it. On point all night. Kudos. 9 out of 10
The term "loose" can be an insult, but definitely not in the case of the Lucas Brothers. Bouncing off each other in a very sly, relaxed, and always endearing way, Kenny and Keith Lucas were the perfect late-night chill-out comedy team. Maybe those looking for rapid-fire jokes on jokes on jokes would have been a wee bit let down, but certainly not me or anyone else there. Plus, they came out to Stone Cold Steve Austin's theme music. Instant thumbs up.
Audience Review: It was almost as though the crowd came in at the Lucas Brothers' wave length from the get-go. Hard to tell exactly what may or may not have influenced that. Perhaps what I smelled on the jackets of the people walking in front of me into the venue had some sort of effect on them. Either way, attentive bunch. 4.20 out of 5
For my first genuine roll of the dice all festival, I decided to check out these two gents simply because I was already in the area and bored. Journalistic integrity, boy howdy, do I have it! Regardless, it was a great decision. Gardenswartz and DeVito delivered beautifully, and both occasionally stopped to appreciate that a 7 PM on a Monday show was firing as well as it did. DeVito in particular really stepped up, and the whole show was a very pleasant surprise.
Audience Review: Several times, in both men's acts, they called out the crowd for being too cool, too nice, laughing too much, or applauding for things too readily. Apparently, kind faces and genuine excitement for new comedy is not a big thing in the pockets of America where these dudes normally play. Well, good on you, Toronto. You shook two guys expecting a hell room. That's special. Grade A
The long-running institution that is the ALTdot is always a great time, and its JFL42 installment was no exception. Every Monday, the Rivoli is treated to the absolute best Toronto has to offer. I was excited to see Keith Pedro hosting again, as he did a fantastic job opening for the Morgan Murphy show I had seen, and he seems to always impress and leave me wanting to see more of him. Other notables: the great Sean Cullen once again proves he can spar with improv based on audience suggestions with ninja-like skill; and DeAnne Smith truly has the sagacity of an old mind, coupled with the veracity of youth. I hope got that right.
Audience Review: Packed and hot, clearly a crew who knew the lay of the land for this show and were just damn happy to be there. Also, a tip of the hat to the staff of the Rivoli for being excellent organizers in finding seats for everyone who showed up and squeezed into the room. There was a constant bustling around the room, anyone chatting was politely hushed, and as someone who has seen packed rooms on hot days go completely to hell, this one endured. 9.5 out of 10
J.D. Renaud is a writer, comedian, producer, and visual artist originally from Oakville, Ontario. You can follow his weird thoughts on Twitter at @jdrenaud.