After a few days perusing the many comedy venues available throughout the Festimania offerings, I’ve noticed a pattern emerging in the programming — at least among the English speaking events.
Tim Minchin, Louis CK, Kelly Carlin talking about her father George Carlin — the headliners at these events are not just known for comedy, but also for social commentary. And this insight gives one a much deeper insight into the richness of both the experience and the French Canadian culture of this fabulous city.
One thing you will quickly realize if you spend any amount of time in Montreal is that the citizenry are intense. They love with passion, they laugh with abandon and they flair into irritated rants at bikers riding on sidewalks. So it only makes sense that they would gravitate toward comedy with a distinct edge and bite.
Tim Minchin’s show was particularly true of this. Not only does he have a reputation for mocking unthinking devotion to religious fervor, but he unabashedly addressed the obvious anger that many Canadians feel toward the U.S. As an American sitting in the audience, I felt not so much threatened as enlightened. In many ways it helped me get in touch with the truth of our place in the world as a super power that is too busy throwing its weight around to recognize that we live in a global community that wants an equal say in how policy is conducted.
It’s funny to me (pun intended) that it takes comedy to communicate these things. Because where diplomacy and news coverage fails, laughter can often communicate things we are too blind to see.
Once again this experience here in Montreal has surprised me with its depth. And I’m beginning to realize that attending Festimania is not so much an entertainment experience as a cultural exchange. Definitely not your typical festival.