4 wiseguys and only one kill is the best way so sum up the Italian comics Wiseguys show at the 2007 Just For Laughs Montreal International Comedy Festival. The line-up was there, to quote the guy at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, but the results were not so spectacular. Perhaps the blame lays a bit on the 7 o'clock (well, 7:20 by the time the show started) crowd which did not seem as Italian as last year's; perhaps it is because the show started late and the house band was spectacularly awful -they could not even play the Just For Laughs theme right--; perhaps it is because the sound was not really that good tonight, but the Wiseguys show really left me wondering if this is going to be a return gig.
The line-up was promising. The hosts were The Doo-Wops, a couple of Italian guys out of Trona who do musical comedy (not my forte) and they were quite good as an act and as hosts, They were to introduce Tammy Pescatelli, Joey Kola, Dom Irrera, and closer Mike DeStefano.
Tammy Pescatelli was off her game. The audience was not real warm, which I am sure did not help, and the sound guy did not do her any favors tonight. I am willing to see Tammy Pescatelli again, especially since my business partner Denis remembers her as being solid in the past.
The highlight of the evening for me was Joey Kola. This was not the first time I had seen Kola and looked forward to seeing him again. Not only did Joey Kola kill, he dug up the body and emptied a few more magazines of his dark, off-colour for a Wiseguys Just For Laughs 7 o'clock show, stand-up comedy. Kola was very, very good. He is a comic worth making the effort to go see.
Dom Irrera came on after the intermission and he kept searching for the audience like a blind man in an empty room. Denis pointed out how we have not seen Irrera have a solid set in at least three years. Irrera tried every kind of joke in his massive joke book and nothing really worked.
The closer for the 2007 Wiseguys show was Mike DeStefano and he was very solid. I probably would have left more impressed with DeStefano if Joey Kola had not totally got my attention tonight and become the yardstick of the evening.
After last year's Wiseguys Just For Laughs show I was not totally convinced I would go back. This year helped me make up my mind comedy dollar wise: I am perhaps not the right audience for this particular show and 7 o'clock is not the right show to go to if you do get the ticket.