Published Jul 25, 2016"We're all just one race: the human race." Rachid Badouri reminded us as he opened and closed the show. There was no better phrase to summarize the show's attitude towards ethnicity: everyone was friends under the roof of Club Soda, so it was only natural to make fun of the differences that set people apart.
Badouri's jokes about Indian women wearing bindis to indicate they're married were energetically delivered and effectively simple, as were his jokes about how people react to the fact that he's Arab. His hosting was so enthusiastic that the whole show felt like a party, and consequently he made all the comics look their best.
After him, Yannis Pappas kicked off the show and killed with his hysterical analysis of every major language. He brutally compared Arabic to "a goat with cerebral palsy" and Russian to playing a Beatles record backwards to hear its satanic messages, then decided which languages should be kept or abandoned. The waves of laughter were steady and uproarious as he nixed Mandarin because he didn't want to "have to do a fucking crossword puzzle to say 'the'," resolved to keep English even though it honestly deserves a C+ compared to French and Spanish, and brazenly acted out dirty talk in German.
Lebanese comedian Nemr followed with some comical but less memorable material about how his father would always manage to spin things he did, or asked for into a hypothetical reasons for the demise of their family, then Jessica Kirson brought the comedy back up to the bar that Pappas set with her material about Jewish and Chinese people. Her comparison of old Jewish women to buzzing bees was hilarious, and her stories about Chinese women ranting about their customers to their fellow staff in nail salons and restaurants were even funnier.
In the second half of the show, Gina Brillon delivered a very clever line about how hearing her sister call herself ugly was uncomfortable because they're identical twins, then settled into some satisfactory material about being Latina and being hit on by a teenager at the age of 34. Following her, French superstar Gad Elmaleh dropped in for an amazing surprise guest set where he rhetorically asked what sort of phone plan cab drivers get in order have endless phone calls where the people they talk to never get to reply, then encouraged the hot women of Montreal to visit him and told the audience his actual hotel room number.
After Badouri jokingly introduced him as a newbie comic he knew from high school, Dom Irrera continued to uphold the same great standard of comedy with his riffing in a thick Jersey-type Italian accent, his self-deprecation, and his jokes about how stupid it is when people tell him they're shocked that he was never on The Sopranos.
Lastly, Nigerian-American comedian Godfrey performed some brilliantly rollicking material about getting whipped cream at Starbucks and putting up with bad-tempered flight attendants. Filled with spot-on sound effects and fantastic hyperbole, his routine got laughs just as big as Pappas' and Kirson's. To finish off the consistently entertaining evening, he happily danced on stage with the rest of the comics and the DJ after Rachid Badouri's exuberant return to the stage, and the whole thing ended with a standing ovation that for a moment made it feel like racial equality could be possible.