Comic Gavin Matts has had a pretty good last couple years.
Hawksley Workman has been making albums since the late 90s (his first full-length, For Him and the Girls, came out in 1999) and he's been releasing new music every year or 2 since then. He's rarely been one to stick to the same vibe record-to-record, jumping between styles and influences in a way that he says was likely frustrating for record execs, his touring band, and perhaps even some of his fans over the years.
Seán Cullen is one of those rare Canadian performers who has fans across any age group. People were excited to shake his hand and give him a hug as he sauntered to the stage at one of his recent JFL42 shows.
For followers of the comedian's long career, this was a decidedly deeper and more intimate evening.
Robby Hoffman is an original comedy voice whose writing and delivery on stage puts her at the top of the stand-up game. Her bit for The Chris Gethard Show with Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski is one of the funniest things on YouTube, and her other television writing -- which includes personal favourite Baroness Von Sketch Show -- has even won her a Daytime Emmy for Odd Squad on PBS.
Nick Nemeroff is a Montreal comic who has been a mainstay in the Toronto comedy scene for the past few years, winning Best Newcomer and Best Breakout Comic at the 2017 and 2018 I Heart Joke Awards. He's made appearances at Montreal's Just for Laughs and Comedy Central's Clusterfest, and his comedy has been described as "aggressively deadpan".
Chris Gethard is comedy's favourite underdog. He is the fine wine that other comedians cannot recommend enough. His years of study as an improviser at the UCB Theatre in New York have made him a great listener and a truly empathetic storyteller. During our interview in advance of his appearances at JFL42, Chris gave me some of the most emotionally open and thoughtful answers of my career -- all while driving!
Chris is a ringmaster of chaos.
When Donald Trump decided to announce he was running for President, it seemed like a comedy goldmine. He had always been an over-the-top character, with his name in big, bold letters on everything he owned, and was already a frequent punchline before officially entering the political fray.
If you were to ask me my biggest influences in comedy, at the top of the list would be Greg Proops. When I was young, he was there as a staple cast members of Whose Line is it Anyway?, but as I aged I discovered he's also one of the most apt social critics working in stand-up comedy today.
Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are the writers, actors, and editors behind the award-winning webseries Jake & Amir, which began while the pair were writers at College Humor. Besides its immense popularity online, their series also appeared on television on MTV's The CollegeHumor Show.
In the fall of 2017, Toronto comic Courtney Gilmour was coming off the biggest professional accolade of her comedy career: being named the co-winner (along with Montreal's DJ Mausner) of the Homegrown Comics competition at Just for Laughs Festival. The win included, among other things, a taped spot for JFL All Access on Canada's The Comedy Network, as well as a spot among the 42 feature comics at September's JFL42 comedy festival in her hometown.