Rare is the show that receives enough widespread raves to double the audience overnight, only to then exceed everyone's expectations. This was that show. This was the show, unless something happens in the next two nights of Just For Laughs in Montreal to eclipse it. This was AMP'd.
Musical comedy acts such as Hard n' Phirm and Garfunkel and Oates are in Montreal this week, and they walked with me up the hill to Cabaret Juste Pour Rire on Thursday night to find out what everyone had been buzzing about from the night before. You know how there are some acts that are so good you don't necessarily want to follow them. Beardyman is that kind of act. And he was the host. So everyone had to folllow him.
Somewhere between Bobby McFerrin and Reggie Watts is a beatboxer-singer-comedian who is British and Jewish named Beardyman, and he is a headliner in his own right. His overwhelming talent blew up the capacity crowd right from the start, and made everyone else up their games.
Axis of Awesome, an Australia trio, demonstrated how every great and popular song relies on the same four chords, all in one song (and even included a Tim Minchin bit, to the delight of the crowd, those cheeky bastards!). The Doo Wops, winners of JFL's Homegrown Competition back in 2001, were back with a series of short musical bits that ended with a longer number in tribute to the "Crazy Bush." Where do you even start with Bridget Everett? With Kenny Mellman backing her on the piano, Everett announced: "I'm a good, old-fashioned American slut!" and proved it within the first minutes (and again later) by lifting up her dress. She wore panties this night, we can all attest to that. And we also testify to the fact that two young girls providing backup singing and rapping skills on a cover of Rihanna's "Hard" is hard to follow. "There is absolutely nothing I can say to make it make any more sense," Beardyman said immediately afterward. Bo Burnham wowed the crowd, per usual, dropping hard rhymes behind the keys and then standing up in between to break down stand-up comedy cliches. Solid work from the young man, who continues to grow both literally and figuratively in comedy. Tim Minchin presumably would be closing out the show. Beardyman joined him for a song as they ad-libbed a number and Minchin "outed" Beardyman as Darren. Then Minchin played his cheeky profanity-filled rant against the Pope. But that was not to be all, folks. Beardyman asked for an encore, and an encore we all received when Reggie Watts emerged as a special guest, and then he asked both Beardyman and Minchin to join him for a jam to close out the show. This video I shot will not do justice to it. But I share it with you, anyhow, in the hopes that you can enjoy the rare sight of three musical comedy geniuses performing onstage together. Roll it.