Le Show Bilingual is a new format at the 30-something Just For Laughs Montreal International Comedy Festival. The idea is excellent: in a bilingual city, have comics who can work in both French and English do a set where in both. Hosted by Mike Ward, who effortlessly switches from one language to another, the show also featured Sylvain Larocque, Joey Elias, Mike Paterson, Jean-Thomas Jobin, and Franco-Brit Eric Lampaert.
Ward is an excellent host and was particularly good for this show. His ability to switch effortlessly from one language to another is what is needed for a show like this. He also had material in both languages and not, as a couple of the other comics seemed to have, material reworked in the other language.
The best was Californian now living in Montreal Mike Paterson. The Anglo half of the audience really warmed up to this guy who is trying very hard to speak French in Montreal only to have the Francos switch to English. Paterson did some of his reliable material in English and had it seemed a lot of fun doing stuff in French.
Also solid was Joey Elias who did Joey Elias stuff. He worked mostly in English but was bilingual enough for the purposes of the show. He too was a bit all over the place. Elias would really have something if he explored his bilingual side more and pushed that material.
Sylvain Larocque used some old material (i.e. looking like a serial killer) and was rather uneven and it seemed unprepared. Larocque works mostly in English and methinks he figured he could wing it.
Jean-Thomas Jobin is a French Quebec comic. He had an interesting concept for his set, delivering his material in a thick French accent but you kind of new it was fake and he did let the audience in on that part of the joke early enough to have the whole pay off.
Lampaert bombed. He wasn't even funny in English, the language he normally works in.
Le Show Bilingual is something Just For Laughs should renew but some of the comics should take it more seriously.