Bill Brownstein, writing July 28 for the Montreal Gazette, was full of praise for Sarah in his review of her hosting of the July 27 gala at the Montreal Just for Laughs. (We included the rest of the review as well, to include the Kyle Dunnigan section, since his being Sarah’s boyfriend makes him relevant to SSO.)
Overall – What a difference a few hours can make? Earlier on Saturday, Joan Rivers get next to no help from her comedy friends – save for Tom Papa – and pretty much had to carry a gala on her 80-year-old shoulders. And so we went from one of the weakest gala lineups to one of the strongest – ever. Sarah Silverman, who would go on to host a second gala later this night, set an almost surreal tone in her intro and got stellar, albeit off-the-wall, support from every comic on the bill: K. Trevor Wilson, Brent Weinbach, Jimmy Carr, Tig Notaro, Wil Anderson, Kyle Kinane and Sarah’s beau, the brilliant Kyle Dunnigan – one of the most innovative, clever and hysterical acts ever unleashed at the fest.
Host – Silverman played on her ever-deceptive innocent-girl-next-door image to bring out the naughtiness that lurks inside that ever-cooking cranium. She was thrilled to be working from Place des Arts, “a home of opera and ballet and now, pussy jokes.” She boasted how she did her first-ever nude scene in Wreck-it Ralph, an animated flick in which she apparently got naked … in the sound-mixing studio. And, yes, she crooned: “Every French person is not a douche-bag … except in France.”
Highlights – Where to begin? At the beginning with the deadpan Wilson on being a Christian Scientist, where parishioners must get by on the healing power of prayer, which explains “why most of my family is dead … doctors are important.” Weinbach’s delirious impression of two Brits playing chess: “Checkmate, mate … you mean check, mate … no checkmate, mate, mate … “ Carr on the first time he had sex: “I’m very emotional. I cried … trying to clean the pepper spray out of my eyes.” Notaro, who brings new meaning to the theatre of the absurd with impressions of people doing impressions, springs, opening theatre curtains and clown horns. Anderson on men holding hands in his West Hollywood ‘hood: “I love it. Men holding hands with other men means they’re not holding guns.” And Dunnigan on everything from his impressions of Bill Maher to the plight of horses, forced to live and defecate in rooms the same size as them. He had the crowd convulsing. Hail to the next comedy hero!
Lowlights – Hmm … can’t think of one.