JFL42 just gave us lots to laugh about. The annual Toronto comedy festival announced this year's lineup, which takes place September 18 to 27. It's the festival's strongest yet.
* Seth Meyers: the current Late Night host and former SNL "Weekend Update" anchor will be doing a full stand-up set
* Lena Dunham: the Girls creator/star/genius will take part in a Q&A and read from her upcoming collection of essays, Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" (which earned her a $3.7 million advance)
* Amy Schumer: the star of the insanely funny Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, is currently filming the Judd Apatow film Trainwreck and wrote one of the most inspiring pieces about body image and self-confidence.
* Nick Offerman: the Parks & Rec star and author of Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living delivers his brand new solo show, Full Bush, at the festival
* Joe Rogan: the veteran stand-up, former Fear Factor host and current UFC personality is a JFL42 regular.
* Wanda Sykes: the legendary Sykes has been a stand-up, character actor and activist (she came out as lesbian in 2008, and publicly spoke about her cancer) for years, and her no bull, sassy act never goes out of style.
And those are just the headliners. I'm actually more excited about the other festival acts, like Tig Notaro, Chelsea Peretti, Tim Minchin, Mike Birbiglia, Doug Benson, those hilarious Broad City women (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer), Paul F. Tompkins, Rory Scovel and others.
Seriously, people. Any one of these people deserves to be a headliner.
The Canadian contingent includes two of my favourite stand-ups, Mark Forward and DeAnne Smith, and the fest includes a sketch and improv component from Tony Ho, Mantown and Peter & Chris.
Passes ($49 to $299) go on sale today, and as in the past, the type of pass you buy determines the headliner(s) you see, but every pass lets you attend any of the other acts.
You simply use a credit system on the festival's smartphone app: you book what shows you want to see by using credits, and when you're at the venue you check in and get the credit back. This all seemed weird and complicated a couple of years ago when it was introduced, but actually works pretty well.
It also makes sense. Pre-bookings help make the festival an organic thing; if a certain show's selling out quickly, JFL42 can move the comic to a bigger venue or open up another show.
Psst! Amex holders can buy passes today. But if you bought a pass for a previous JFL42, this Thursday (June 5), the fest is giving you special access to more great seats, from 9 am to noon. Everyone else can purchase passes this Friday (June 6) starting at 11 am.