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Greg Houston wants to sell you on Just For Laughs

By Apartment613 on July 16, 2015


Post by Greg Houston.

So myself – Greg Houston a local comic based out of Ottawa, that performs all over and produces monthly and bi-monthly comedy shows is going to Just For Laughs! … As press. I thought I’d practice by interviewing myself? (with help on questions from Ottawhat? Podcast). I’m checking out the festival to sell it to Ottawaeans, and I’m going to sell Ottawa to JFL.

JFL has been around since the 80s and is an internationally recognized Comedy festival that brings industry people from all over the world. Many acts are very established while others are brand new. For many Canadian comics – this is their yearly Olympics. It’s the chance to meet pros and work with them and show off their talents to scouts. I’ve worked with a few comics featured in the festival and hope to get their take on shows, comedy and the fest in general.

Why is JFL important?

JFL has put Canadian comics on the international map and exposed Canada to many amazing international acts we might not have seen otherwise. In the age of Internet anyone can become “famous”, but to have sustainable careers in the comedy industry, you need to bring it when it’s on the line. You only get one shot. Don’t miss your chance to blow up. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime… Okay I’m just quoting Eminem right now. JFL is the the most established, successful, prestigious comedy festival in Canada. It also makes Canadian Comedy the focal point to the world during those few weeks. The chances of seeing a comic that is about to “make it”, or about to be on tv, or about to make you pee your pants is so high.

What comedians will be there?

Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Alan Cumming, Norm MacDonald, Wanda Sykes, Neil Patrick Harris, Mike Myers, Kevin Hart, Chris Hardwick, Patton Oswalt, Reggie Watts, Michael Che just to name a handful. There are over 100 comics performing from July 8-28. Plus being such an industry type event, you could get random appearances and drop ins from any comic ON EARTH. It could be the most important North American Comedy Festival, and therefore a lot of comics will be there.

Specifically, I’m looking forward to The Nasty Show hosted by Mike Ward, Kurt Braunohler, Todd Glass’s Midnight Surprise, Anything but stand-up with Jon Dore, and Wyatt Cenac, plus a few notable panels: How to Conquer the Rest of the World & WTF is Happening in Digital??.

Along with all the above, I’m hoping I can somehow catch Chris Locke, Steph Tolev and John Hastings. Basically I’m just not going to sleep or eat for 5 days I think?

Why should people see live comedy over recorded specials?

Live comedy is so different from watching a recording. It’s so much more of an organic experience. I honestly think it teaches people how to laugh again. Society is so used to watching “funny” things in the privacy of their own homes where they don’t laugh out loud. They smile and say to themselves “that’s funny”. Live comedy is a great, cleansing experience. Plus the unexpected things that happen at every show are seriously once in a lifetime events. It could be any number of factors from a glass breaking, to a heckler, to a comic falling apart on stage – anything could happen.

Where can people see live comedy in Ottawa?

They should only ever go to a independent comedy show… no  just jk. In Ottawa we actually have two really amazing clubs: Absolute Comedy and Yuk Yuks Ottawa. Both are franchises that bring in touring pros from all over North America, whilst also showcasing local acts. We have a small independent scene in town, and decent Comedy Open Mics too. There is an Ottawa Comedy group on Facebook if you’re a comic looking to get stage time.

You can follow Greg Houston and his JFL festival experiences on Twitter, Instagram and on his website