Timing really can be everything. With this year's crop of New Faces at Montreal's Just For Laughs, that was most certainly the case on Wednesday night (aka the second of three nights for the two groups of hopeful stand-ups, but really the first (and maybe only) night to impress the agents, managers and comedy bookers arriving from New York City, Los Angeles and points beyond the Canadian border). It's more than just the timing of your jokes that matter. What time is your show: 7 p.m. or 9:15 p.m? Did your show start on time? Did you time it right to hit the right shuttle, and not get lost and find yourselves looking at the city's skyline from across the bridge? Where are you in the lineup? How far along in your career are you when you're faced with being a New Face?
And if you've been riding along with me for this lifetime comedy joyride for more than a New York minute, then you know some of these faces are not exactly new to you or me. So let us take all of this into account when processing what went down Wednesday night for our two groups of New Faces in Montreal's Cabaret Juste Pour Rire. (Pictured at right: Nick Vatterott) They'll all have one more chance tonight at New Faces (some will also be featured in other themed showcases around the festival).
Here is the list everyone in comedy has been waiting for the past year to see, your New Faces at the 2010 Just For Laughs Montreal comedy festival, performing for live audiences and the industry of show business tonight, Wednesday and Thursday...
Earlier this week, Nashville-based stand-up comedian Jesse Case proved he could make the Mormons laugh by winning the 2008 Rocky Mountain Laugh Off in Utah. Among comedy contests, the Laugh Off probably doesn't rank near the top, but consider this: Last year's winner, Marcus, took the momentum from that win into the following month's Seattle comedy contest, won that, and then took that momentum into his audition for Last Comic Standing, which eventually earned him second place and a nationwide tour. For his part, Case writes on his MySpace blog that he felt many of his fellow competitors deserve just as much attention as he does. Even in winning, Case notes that having stand-up comedy judged, scored and ranked is an "impossible" notion, and even more so in the Laugh Off, where the judges were randomly plucked from the audience?! Case writes:
"This is where the judging breaks down though. All of these guys should have done better. They should have placed better than they did. The fact that Andrew Sleighter, Dan Smith, and Tony Moschetto didn't tie for first every night tells you that there are flaws in the system. Those guys are GREAT comics, and destined for great things. Andrew just moved to Boston and will eventually, like most Boston comics, transition into New York, where he'll thrive. You can't just give 4 random people score-cards and expect fair results."
That said, we still congratulate Case on his win.