If any of us had forgotten that Jimmy Fallon is one of the funniest impressionists in the world, he offered a killer reminder Saturday night when he hosted the Just for Laughs Gala in Montreal, a task he’s going to repeat in Toronto Saturday night.
Fallon got things off to a flying start with a monologue about all the various comedy stars who’ve played the festival over the years. Without a break, he changed voices more than two dozen times as a projection behind him offered a usually unnecessary illustration of who he was imitating.
We knew from years past he did a great Jerry Seinfeld as well as a hysterical Bill Cosby, but his Rita Rudner and Norm MacDonald are also dead-on recreations.
He brought the house down with a mock Sarah Silverman video (yes, he plays Silverman and he’s far hotter than the original). I don’t think I need to say what carnal act he announces he’s doing in the clip. The surprise is who he’s doing it with.
There are also some engaging but pointed musical numbers and an astonishing finale. Assuming he does the same one in Toronto, I won’t give it away, but you’ll never look at another “let’s do a benefit for peace” the same way again.
Fallon also did a nice job of keeping the show moving, using his own personality instead of a phoney “host” persona. It’s a good sign for his future stint replacing Conan O’Brien.
People talk about how cute Fallon is, but he knows how to combine that with a surprising edge when necessary.
He singled out one latecomer and practically smothered her with caring attention. “Oh gosh, you’re late, I’m glad you’re here now, I hope you’re alright. Can I get you anything . . . like a f—ing watch?”
The way he turned the knife was a masterpiece of comic timing.
On Saturday night at Massey Hall, he’s one of the three gala hosts of Just Laughs Toronto, the other two (no slouches at comedy themselves) being Martin Short (Thursday) and Jason Alexander (Friday).
One of the most off-the-wall, envelope-ripping comedy events I’ve ever seen took place here on Friday at midnight, when the grungalicious Metropolitan on Ste-Catherine St. welcomed a sold-out-to-the-rafters show called “Apatow for Destruction.”
Comedy movie king Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad) welcomed some of his favourite performers like Craig Robinson, Russell Brand and Seth Rogen, appearing as a stand-up for the first time in 10 years and scoring big. In a free-wheeling, loose-as-a-goose session, each tried to outdo the others in terms of how raunchy the material could be and, though no one onstage was smoking, the air was blue by 2 a.m. when they finally called it quits.
Robinson (Darryl on The Office) held the audience in the palm of his hand with an awesome sing-along sequence that I hope he repeats in Toronto.
The whole thing was a reminder that the events at Just for Laughs can equal much more than the sum of their parts. Check out some of them this week in Toronto.
Go to hahaha.com for details.