Toronto’s JFL42 comedy fest returns this month for its third annual 10-day laugh riot. For the uninitiated, the “JFL” part stands for Just for Laughs, and the “42” refers to the number of acts on the lineup, which this year includes Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Seth Meyers and a handful of local comedians. If, like most of us, you require comic relief all year round, this is a great moment to live in Toronto: the city’s indigenous comedy scene has flourished of late. We’re currently flush with neurotic kibitzers, daffy sketch troupes and enough nostalgically divey comedy clubs to fill an entire season of Louie. Here, a guide to navigating all the funny.
The Saturday Night Live honcho is the ultimate Hollywood kingmaker. Here, a who’s who of his star system
Lorne Michaels, the Toronto-raised creator of Saturday Night Live, has plucked dozens of unknowns from obscurity and turned them into stars. He’s created box office heavyweights like Will Ferrell and Mike Myers, whose films can net $200 million worldwide. He transforms people like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler into prime-time icons. And last month, he took over The Tonight Show—a comedic brass ring—and placed his protégé Jimmy Fallon in the host’s chair. Here, the people who owe their careers to the prescient producer.
After hearing that Chicago is crazy jealous of Toronto’s annual Luminato festival—and the international tourists it attracts—we got to wondering how Hogtown really stacks up against its similarly sized cousin. We looked at everything from restaurants named Acadia to notable rich guys to talk show hosts extraordinaire (and a whole bunch of other admittedly arbitrary categories). Here’s how the two cities compare in matters cultural.
Toronto native Lorne Michaels has been dodging queries about SNL’s cast changes, stating in a conference call with the Canadian Press that he could comment, but he’s actually not certain himself. Rumour has it that Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg are all set to leave come season’s end (May 19), but no official statement has been made. Michaels noted that he’ll be spending the summer scouring dark comedy clubs for possible additions to the show’s cast (it could be you!). If some of the best cast members do end up calling it quits, at least we’ll always have Penelope.
• Lorne Michaels talks about SNL cast changes [Toronto Star]
Justin Bieber seems to adhere to the Justin Timberlake school of publicity: date cutesy pop stars, and if all else fails, change your hair. So it was basically inevitable that he would try to emulate Timberlake’s Saturday Night Live success. On his latest “Here’s the Thing” podcast, host Alec Baldwin visited the office of SNL creator Lorne Michaels and found a list of upcoming hosts that included Ben Stiller, Katy Perry, Jonah Hill and Stratford’s own patron saint. (Oh, Alec! You’re always stirring up trouble!) The Biebz has already dabbled in sketch comedy, but we’re not sure that his brand of Bambi-eyed charm will bring the LOLs for a full episode. Not that the beliebers care.