First impressions, New Faces Unrepped at Montreal’s Just For Laughs 2014

For all of the artificial and natural word-of-mouth buzz that happens each July in Montreal, perhaps the most likely to produce buzz event of Just For Laughs is the New Faces Unrepped showcase. All of these stand-up comedians arrived in Montreal a week and a half ago without agents or managers, but would they remain unrepresented by the time they returned to America?

John Heffron, who earlier in the week had hosted another New Faces showcase, vowed to show even less favoritism or enthusiasm for individual comics in the unrepped show. “I’m not even giving them intros,” Heffron quipped. “Let’s just assume they’re from somewhere.”

They’re going places, that’s for sure. Where they go is up to you. You know who you are.

Here is a closer look at the Class of 2014 New Faces: Unrepped, and the first impressions they chose to make in Montreal this summer.

BrianFrangeBrian Frange
Frange opened the proceedings by declaring himself a feminist? “I feel I have to fight for women’s rights, am I wrong?” Turns out he’s fighting for everyone’s rights to have their own bathroom icons, and not just a guy in a dress or a wheelchair. Same goes for (or against) sports teams that add a Lady to their names, and the rich people who offer only rich-person alternatives to a situation. Take that, 1 Percenters! Speaking of which, Frange also offers several real reasons to be surprised by a chance encounter with Harrison Ford. He also revealed his own vulnerability with a closing bit about how he tried to help an old guy on the escalator at Grand Central Terminal, but only seemed to make the situation worse for everyone around him, including that old guy.

RichardBainRichard Bain
Bain is from Oregon, making a go of it in Los Angeles, and would have you know that it’s not easy when your day job is being the only white guy in a Latino auto body shop. Bain raised a pertinent question regarding the homeless: Why would you smoke something that makes you hungrier? Bain also lived with his grandmother, or he joked about it. Same difference, right? Then a non-sequitur to get everyone onboard. “Do any guys in here wash their legs?” He also drew appreciative chuckles, when in a meta moment, he observed: “You shouldn’t be sweating this much for a six-minute set!” This isn’t any regular six-minute set, though. Objection sustained!

Troy_WalkerTroy Walker
Walker is from Denver and is a licensed attorney. As he joked in Montreal: “I went to law school. That was pretty cool.” Working a corporate job made him realize how quickly he would have adapted to life as a slave a couple of centuries earlier. At least back then, classic novels of the time knew how to dole out colorful insults, like “ragamuffin.” Back in present-day contemporary jokeland, Walker observed how women will insult you, amid wishing you a happy birthday, by revealing what they really think about you. He closed with tips about going to strip clubs. In a couple of words: Don’t go.

brendaneyreBrendan Eyre
Eyre’s way with words won over the crowd, when, after talking about the great feeling you have when you catch a grammar nerd making a grammatical mistake, he declared: “I’m a tits stickler.” Those are just two funny words funnier together. Eyre’s dad was mad all the time. Don’t know what kind of stickler that made him. His mom, on the other hand, didn’t make things easy for him at school by preparing healthy lunches for him. Turns out: Lunchables is nothing without the packaging. Another Eyre thought to leave you with: “You ever wonder if Paul Newman’s goal was salad dressing all along?”

Zainab-ArsenioZainab Johnson
As one of 13 children with two parents who are still together, Zainab declared herself a winner growing up in one New York City’s rougher Brooklyn neighborhoods. More than one of her siblings didn’t marry black, though. Is that also a win? I didn’t write down more of her set, because I’d remembered seeing it before this summer on Last Comic Standing and earlier this year on Arsenio.

Here is the link to Zainab’s debut on Arsenio from February 2014.

NoahGardenswartzNoah Gardenswartz
Gardenswartz started in Denver, moved to Atlanta, and now works out of NYC. Some dating rules apply no matter which city you’re in; for example, he notes: A woman can’t take the pink Starburst! I wonder if he ran that rule past his two female roommates (aged 22 and 37, respectively), both of whom he claimed to relate to, depending upon the situation. He nicely turned a tattoo joke into an umlaut joke. He self-deprecatingly relayed the tale of getting cornrows for a Halloween costume two days early. And he knows what it’s like to be a Jew born on Christmas. “What are the chances!”

CodyHustakCody Hustak
Hustak recently won the Funniest Person in Austin competition, and he certainly set himself apart from the field with his out-there writing. “I want my audience to relate to my jokes. That’s why they’re not all winners.” Most of his quips are winners, however. Even if they give you dark nightmares that make having your dog eat your homework seem like a safer option for living. Or make you think twice about grabbing that colorful Easter egg. “Is that just a joke, or are any of these jokes?” Hustak asked. They’re jokes. Definitely jokes. Lots of jokes. Keep an open mind.

SamEvansSam Evans
Evans clearly has lived a life already. He jokes about once dating an alcoholic: Her party trick was hurting everybody’s feelings. Similarly, a serving of cocaine is however much coke you have. No wonder Evans feels as though every “adult” party is really just a meeting. But he’ll explain it for you. While lots of people are joking about Tinder or Grindr, Evans wants to hip us all to the new dating app for women called Lulu. Which Evans claims is “Yelp for people.” That cannot be a good thing, can it? Help!


AlexStoneAlex Stone
Stone moved from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Chicago a-year-and-a-half ago, and has found himself in two long-distance relationships. You’d hope the second one treated him better than his first, which ended with his ex confessing to cheating on him with nine guys. That’s not even a relationship at that point, is it? From the sounds of it, Stone has a more intimate relationship with the mouse he found in his Chicago apartment. Especially since the glue traps he bought were no match for this mouse. Eek!

JasonSaenzJason Saenz
Saenz is a regular at the UCB and at The Creek and The Cave in New York City. He opened with a relatable tale of how he came up with the best quip about the 2013 movie, Pain and Gain, despite the fact that movie theaters don’t appreciate it as much as each individual audience does. “That joke cost me $300.” Growing up half-white, half-Latino, he let us know how his father became a superhero named Cool Dad, and all it took was 20 minutes alone in the bathroom. And a certain smoky smell. Saenz took a risk with a classically big, old-fashioned prop joke involving multiple ties, which works when he’s as classically committed to the bit. Yeesh! He also finishes with a series of quick jokes on the Latino Pope. Latino Pope!

LizaTreygerLiza Treyger
Treyger, based in Chicago, wants us to know that nothing fazes her. Single life is great. Her friend is a bad-ass bitch. “I park amazing.” Her attitude lets her get away with going for the jugular, or the other end of a man’s head, and forcing the jokes down our throat. “All the world’s problems have been caused by weird-dicked men,” Treyger declared. I did not know that. File that away for future reference, though. She should do that, too, because as she wonders, how can she call herself a feminist when she’s had bad dick in her mouth? Touche, Treyger. Touche.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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