You can always find something to split your sides in Montreal. Whatever day of the week, there’s a comedy event on somewhere in the city. Fans have their pick of a wide variety of offerings, some of which are downright outlandish. Like the cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show, which screens at the Imperial Cinema (1430 De Bleury) in October. As the movie plays on the screen behind them, actors perform the scenes on the stage, while audience members throw a variety of items at appropriate times, shout out along with the movie, spritz each other with water guns and yell out answers to the actors. It’s total insanity!
Somewhat less zany, but no less exceptional, the second-floor Café Cléopâtra cabaret (1230 Saint-Laurent Boulevard) presents vaudeville, burlesque and drag shows. Built in 1895, the building that houses the cabaret is one of the oldest of its kind in Montreal.
A bird of a similar feather, the highly popular Cabaret Mado (1115 Saint-Catherine Street East), emceed by Montreal’s most celebrated drag queen, the incomparable Mado Lamothe, offers fun, entertaining shows featuring popular songs and risqué jokes.
If your tastes run to the slightly more conventional, you might want to drop by the Le Jockey bar, located at 1309 Saint-Zotique Street East. Every Monday night, they host comedy nights that give the best up-and-coming talents a chance to hone their comedic chops!
If rising comedy stars are your thing, you can see many more, also on Monday nights, at L’Hémisphère gauche, 221 Beaubien Street East, or on Thursday nights at Pub Brouhahaha, 5860 De Lorimier Avenue. In addition to their Thursday night shows, the pub occasionally hosts political comedy and theatre evenings.
You can also stop by the Bordel Comédie Club, where both newbies and seasoned comedians take to the stage to make us laugh several nights a week. This is the purest form of stand-up gig: one lone comedian and a mic. The shows last 90 minutes and feature at least five comics. Founded by some of the biggest names in Quebec humour—François Bellefeuille, Louis-José Houde, Mike Ward, Martin Petit, Laurent Paquin and Charles Deschamps—the Bordel Comédie Club is located at 312 Ontario Street East.
With a format similar to the Bordel, the Terminal Comédie Club is also a comedy fan favourite. This club opened its doors last March, on the second floor of the Le Terminal bar, located at 1875 Mont-Royal Avenue (the Plateau). Founded by a group of comedy agents, the club presents stand-up evenings from Thursday to Saturday, as well as open mic shows that give ordinary folk a chance to shine in the spotlight for a few moments. Rookie comedians or established stars perform there, some to test out new materialand others to record their show. The room is well suited for this purpose as it not only features state-of-the-art equipment but artists don’t have to spend a fortune to rent it. It’s also a great deal for spectators, as ticket prices are very affordable.
Most of the aforementioned clubs present their shows in French, so if you prefer your yucks in the language of Shakespeare, the Comedy Nest, named one of the top 15 comedy clubs in North America by splitsider.com, is a must. World-class headlinersentertain audiences from Thursday to Saturday, the Monday Mix events turn the stage over to a different mix of professional stand-ups, variety and improv artists, and Newbie Tuesdays invite peoplewith day jobs to take their first steps into the world of stand-upby sharing what’s funny about THEIR lives.It all happens at 2313 Sainte-Catherine Street West, in the old Forum.
This is just a snapshot of the island’s meccas of mirth. If it’s true that comedy is a form of therapy, Montreal clearly has what it takes to call itself a “therapeutic city”! To see a full list of comedy venues, visit ritahumour.com.