One of the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival's annual comedy staples, The Ethnic Show, otherwise known as Ethnical Difficulties touches on, as per the fest's webpage on the subject, diversity: "a rich tapestry of dysfunction, misunderstanding and humiliation."
Show host Maz Jobrani stayed true to theme, enquiring on the audience's various ethnic backgrounds -- "Any Indians in tonight? Three? There's a billion of you and only three show up?! That is bullsh*t." -- though the same can't be said for the entire crew of the night. Not that it mattered, really.
Italian American representative Frank Spadone reflected more heavily, and brilliantly, on gender differences than cultural idiosyncracies. Jewish gent Orly Adams eschewed tribal stereotype rehashing in favor of universal concerns, notably germ control management. And the highlight of highlights? He who knocked the wind out of me, Nigerian American Godfrey. The once Zoolander cast member ignored his roots to make room for a fixation on public transit, air transportation, and ridiculously gut-bursting observations on the dwindling crackhead count in Montreal's fading red light district located just outside The Ethnic Show's venue. Somebody give this guy a one-man show. Or an ab-busting DVD series. You could build a six-pack from the bellyache.
As for 2011 America's Got Talent finalist/up-and-coming impersonator Melissa Villasenor, she rarely strayed from the theme of the night, sharing insights on living in a Mexican American family and demonstrating why Shakira should never sing a capella. And kudos to Filipino Canadian Ron Josol, whose spot-on-timing laughter-drenched set managed to cram in commentary not only on his own upbringing, but on a variety of Asian cultures and their respective mannerisms. Keep your eyes on Josol. He's going places.
Ethnical Difficulties runs now through July 26, 2012. Admission $35.50 plus service charge. Buy tickets
In line with About.com's and the New York Times Company's full disclosure policy, readers should be aware that Evelyn Reid was provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of reviewing The Ethnic Show, a common procedure in the entertainment industry. Also note that the latter gratuity has not influenced this review. For more information on full disclosure at About.com, please consult our ethics policy.