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Digital Subscriptions > National Geographic Traveller (UK) > April 2018 > COMEDY CENTRAL

COMEDY CENTRAL

FOR AN INSIGHT INTO MONTREAL’S LEGENDARY PARTY SPIRIT, VISIT DURING ONE OF ITS FESTIVALS. OR BETTER STILL, BECOME A PERFORMER AT ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST COMEDY FESTIVALS, JUST FOR LAUGHS WORDS: JO FLETCHER-CROSS

Just how friendly Montrealers are becomes apparent when you spend all day being sick in bins. They’re all very concerned, they want to help: in London I’m pretty sure they’d just assume I was drunk. I’m not, but I am considering it — it might help with the nerves. It’s 1pm on Saturday: just nine more hours before I go on stage as part of the Best of the Fest show at the biggest comedy festival in the world, Just for Laughs. I retch again.

First held in 1983, Just for Laughs takes place every August; a month when comedians, talent scouts and producers all converge on the city to find the next big thing, make deals, and, presumably, to have a laugh. In 2016 it pulled in 2.5 million visitors. It’s a big deal.

I’m not a newbie comedian but neither do I have the comedy chops of some of the big names here (Jane Krakowski, Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, to name just a few) — or even the medium names. Performing on the UK’s open mic circuit for three years, I’m not exactly big stuff. So when I approached Just for Laughs about performing, it was to my considerable surprise that they agreed. Even after they’d seen videos of my act.

I start my first evening in Montreal at the beautiful Monument-National, the oldest theatre still in use in Quebec, for the New Faces show, a lineup of the hottest upcoming talent. Assured, sparkling comic after comic takes to the stage, most from New York and filled with boundless confidence.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

From ancient villages to stories from the locals, we uncover some of the Aegean Sea’s most gleaming pearls as we island-hop across the paradise idylls of Greece’s Cyclades. Elsewhere, we discover authentic Maori culture in New Zealand; wind our way along the Volga in Russia; and spend a long weekend in Tunis. Our urban highlights this issue include Istanbul, Lisbon, Mumbai and Bordeaux while our photo story introduces the freedivers of Jeju Island in South Korea.