If you have a pass to JFL42 you’re probably freaking out right now because the festival starts tomorrow and you still haven’t decided which of the 42 you’re going to spend precious credits on. Technically, JFL42’s unique pass system allows you to see virtually everything, but with fall solstice ceremonies to plan you’re probably way too busy to see it all.

As members of the distinguished comedy press, we’re able to secure all-access passes that takes pressure out of the decision process, leaving us with minds clear enough to recommend some shows to check out. We truly recommend exploring acts that sound cool to you but if you’re having a tough time here are some recommendations from us guys who’ll be running all over town to catch shows:


If you're a real comedy nerd, JFL 42 is almost too much of a good thing. Among the headliners, you can't go wrong with the minimalist scribblings, song writing, and punchlines of Demetri Martin or the misunderstood, refreshingly opinionated Roseanne Barr, whose progressive critique of Hillary Clinton has made waves in recent weeks. For those hoping to drag some comedy virgins to the proceedings, be forewarned that Jim Norton and Margaret Cho are reliably filthy (not together), Maria Bamford and Sinbad have energy/endurance to spare (he's way taller though), and Todd Barry is as dry as they come. Sharing a comedy club with any of these performers is a guarantee of time well spent.


I want to see Sarah Tiana because she slayed on Roast Battle, Tig Notaro because, duh, Kumail Nanjiani because even though I’ve never seen his stand up, I like Silicon Valley and his Twitter account a lot, and Todd Barry... just because middle-aged white dudes could really use our support right now. I’m also interested in checking out Ron Funches’ show. My friends are going and a lot of fortune cookies/greeting cards say that laughter and friends are good for your soul. Even better: if Funches isn’t funny, I can lord it over these so-called friends until the next JFL. 


I’m not very lucky—the only contest I’ve ever won was a raffle for an R.E.M. Reveal prize pack at HMV fifteen years ago that I entered while waiting impatiently in line for the new Weezer CD.  I don’t even like R.E.M. but kept the t-shirt anyway because it changed colour when exposed to the sun. That being said, I have taken for granted that I’ve been lucky enough to attend the past four Just For Laughs and JFL42 festivals using passes I did not pay for. I’ve seen many of the 42 via this stretch so I’m extra excited to see acts I’ve not witnessed live before, especially mega legends like Roseanne Barr, Emo Phillips, and Sinbad. I’m also excited to check out Gary Gulman again, whose recent special It's About Time is a very fun watch.

You pass masters should also check out ComedyCon—a scaled-down version of the mother festival’s ComedyPro Conference—that includes conversations with big time stars, and live podcast recordings. Oh, and check out Weird Al Karaoke at Comedy Bar if you want to see what I look like.

You simply must go see the fest’s homegrown acts (Amanda Brooke Perrin, Mark Forward, DeAnne Smith, Nigel Grinstead, The Flirty Boys, Second City, Sabrina Jalees, K. Trevor Wilson, The Sirius XM Top Comic Finale and more) because they’re the ones who helped build a Toronto comedy scene that is now fertile enough to host such a big festival, and they’re guaranteed to rip it up on home turf. Here are some of them now: