Studies in contrast: Todd Glass and Matteo Lane illustrate range of comedy notes at JFL 2018

In his Netflix special, Act Happy, Todd Glass unveiled The Todd Glass Band to add more weapons to his comedy arsenal.

Glass uses them to great effect, especially in a live setting such as his showcase all this week in Montreal for Just For Laughs, as not only a talented four-piece band, but also as a Greek chorus to amplify him and his joyous rage.

“This is so obviously over-the-top, it’s funny,” Glass tells the audience after multiple opening salvos.

He’s right, not just about his choices to literally enter the stage, but also about the whole hour.

Glass deconstructs comedy and the interaction between the performer and the audience that places him somewhere between Andy Kindler and Don Rickles. He comments on his act throughout, but never in a way to suggest he actually cares about whether or how well you take each joke, and works the crowd and the band in a way that demonstrates he only cares about having as much fun as possible.

He is the party and the afterparty. The guy who entertains the entertainers.

Even when he manages to sneak in a solid message of tolerance and personal growth into the mix. And even if he keeps up the act even after most everyone else has left the theater. Or even still manages to make a joke about “his wife.”

“We’re going to do some hits, we’re going to do some new stuff,” Glass says at multiple points during his hour-plus performance.

Matteo Lane, meanwhile, may mock himself for performing a cabaret act in Montreal for a couple of nights only with “Streisand at the Bon Soir,” but he’s pretty damn great at it.

Lane, a fixture in Montreal this month already, showing his Italian side for The Ethnic Show, here lets his gay cabaret flag fly. Anyone who has ever seen and heard Lane perform with The Goddamn Comedy Jam already knows the man his pipes.

In that video, he’s doing his own take on Freddie Mercury.

In Montreal, Lane is full on Babs, but also Liza and Celine and Mariah. With music director Henry Koperski by his side on the keyboards and harmonies, Lane performs several Streisand songs you may not ever have remembered, vamping in between about cabaret — “Don’t you hate cabaret shows?” “I’m pretending to not be what I hate” or how he used to perform in strip clubs, singing between acts — and shuffling the set list to get to hits from Funny Girl such as “People” or “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”

After an inspired Liza Minnelli impersonation by Lane, Koperski comments that that alone fills him with hope for America’s future. To which Lane replied: “Maybe that’s what this president needs. A Mexican Italian faggot singing Liza Minnelli songs.”

And maybe an aria. And a Mariah, too.

Todd Glass performs all week in Montreal.

Matteo Lane Presents Streisand at the Bon Soir closes tonight? But Lane performs through July 27 in The Ethnic Show, the Jeff Dunham Gala, and Sidenote.

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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