CJLO @ JFL: Kill Tony Podcast: Kill or be Killed

For some reason, they say don’t meet your heroes. Last night, one of my comedic heroes was in Montreal and I wanted to meet him. Tony Hinchcliffe will be the first one to tell you he’s one of the top young rising comedians in the world, and we have to believe him. Being the go-to roast writer, this unapologetic comedian has written on six of the last Comedy Central Roasts as well as writing and performing on All Def Snoop Dogg Smoke Out (Snoop Dogg’s roast). His comedy is like rapid-fire. It’s quick and painful… If you’re on the receiving end of it that is. The concept of the podcast gives anybody in the room the opportunity to sign up and perform an uninterrupted 60 seconds of comedy in front of the live audience as well as Hinchcliffe and his guests. If he pulls your name out of the bucket, you’re up. If you do well, you’ll know it and if you don’t do well… you’ll definitely know it.

Last night, Tony Hinchcliffe and his crew brought the Kill Tony Podcast, the number one live weekly podcast in the world (with over a million downloads a month), to the Cinquième Salle of the Place-des-Arts. As he usually does, Tony invited some of the world’s top comics to sit by his side. Last night Montreal had the treat of hanging out with Jimmy Carr and Big Jay Oakerson. Tony also brought along his trusty sidekick, Jeremiah Watkins (JFL’s New Faces of Comedy nominee), to help him punch up the night (Watkins dresses up and commits to different characters throughout the show). 

The Cinquième Salle was about half-full with approximately 150 audience members. Not many performers signed up, and I can attest to that, because I was one of the last to put my name in, thinking “oh boy, I’m going to get pulled”. Tony opened up the show by making light of the situation, surprised that the biggest comedy festival in the world only had 15 people sign up to perform on his popular podcast. It didn’t matter though, that was enough.

I stood there in the fifth row, nervously. I braced myself every time he pulled a name out of the bucket because I was afraid it was mine, yet, the thought of having the opportunity to perform in front of these legends would make this a story to tell my grandkids. Roughly seven names were pulled out of the bucket, performing 60 seconds of comedy and then getting roasted and/or interviewed by the gang. These wannabe “comics” were beginners to intermediate open-mic comics that didn’t really show any promise of being on a Gala next year. Although some showed a bit of potential, most of them forgot their jokes at home, which is when Tony and the boys showed up for work. The more the comics bombed, the more the pro’s made fun of them. One comic, who had a very muscular upper body and small Kermitt the frog legs (as Jimmy Carr stated), was wearing skinny jeans and squeaky-clean shoes that gave Big Jay Oakerson the perfect pitch to hit a home run with his observation: “You look like a genie with his feet still in the lamp”. These kinds of moments were not scarce throughout the show as the pros made the audience tear up with their improv and roast style of comedy.

The show lasted an hour and five minutes, which was shorter than expected. Being an avid listener of the podcast, they usually pull at least 10 names out of the bucket and go on for an hour and a half. Perhaps I was just disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to perform in front of these comedians that I strongly admire. But then again, maybe being spared was a sign; sometimes meeting your heroes really isn’t a good a thing.

Catch Devon, host of Hot Chaud!, every Sunday morning at 11:00am where he interviews some of the hottest acts in comedy and music. This show offers an entertaining hour of music, sports, comedy and local news avec une touche d’humour!