American game show, talk show and pageant host Steve Harvey shared the inspirational story of his rise from homelessness to fame in a clip posted to Twitter on Wednesday.
The clip, which appears to show Harvey speaking to an audience during the taping of the game show Family Feud, shows him describe how a visit to Montreal and a performance at Just For Laughs changed his life.
I had been living in my car for 3 years, I was struggling... I went to the Montreal Comedy Festival and I entered t… https://t.co/hZ4Zk3IWlo
"I had been living in my car for three years," Harvey says in the video. "I entered this Just For Laughs comedy festival and I killed, I mean I killed, man. First night up, I had these Canadians f****** screaming."
The show was so successful, in fact, that representatives from ABC approached Harvey after the show with a performance deal, which he accepted.
The ABC reps then handed Harvey a check for $50,000. "F***," he says in the Twitter clip. "I left the festival that afternoon."
Harvey explains that he went on to buy an airplane ticket to Dallas and secure an apartment.
"Don't give up on your dreams!" Harvey captioned the video on Twitter.
Montreal's own Eve Parker Finley is one of these stars, but the artist and emerging comedic talent is anything but unassuming.
Combined, her TikTok and Instagram accounts boast over 15,000 devoted fans.
Her videos satirize everything from the 'Bonjour-Ho' fiasco to third-wave baristas and say what we're all thinking — that sometimes, living in Montreal is just too absurd to be true.
MTL Blog spoke with Finley about her videos and what's in store for her growing legion of fans.
Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
Why do you think parody is an effective way to address some of the current events in Montreal?
People laugh at comedy for a bunch of reasons, but one of the reasons that are really powerful is when they feel like they see themselves represented in a way that feels really true but also kind of absurd.
There was a really big trend of satirical parody comedy in the 2000s... Recently in the late 2010s during the Trump era, parody is difficult to do because things are just so f*cked.
You don't even have to make it fantastical. It's actually just sort of speaking the truth back to the audience.
I just wanted to create stuff that's very based on my own life and my own communities. And I think people have been responding to it really positively, which is amazing.
What are your favourite videos that you’ve done so far?
I love "Ontario girls in first year," that is a character that is definitely gonna be seen more in 2021.
A lot of these characters don't seem like real people to me that will continue living on but I'm gonna spend time thinking about them a little bit more because I wanna develop some things for the new year.
I think the one that I've had the most fun playing with is the "gross boy" character that's based on a lot of my experiences dating men.
It was really cathartic and funny to create a character from that. That's the one that kinda started at all, I feel.
I want my videos to be spontaneous. I think that's the cool thing about the medium of like TikTok and Instagram is like, yes the internet is forever but it's ephemeral — it comes and goes, it gives you like a brief moment of joy.
I think that's a fun playground to play in.
What’s next for Eve Parker Finley?
I feel like my relationship with social media used to be that I wanted to do it to connect with the community and also promote my music. And then this whole comedy angle has kind of grown into its own branch of what I like to do.
All the things that I do, the music that I make, the comedy I make, the things I film — I see them all as part of the same, artistic mission around creating stuff for people that makes them feel seen or makes them laugh, makes them cry, makes them feel things.
Sugar Sammy, a Montreal comedian, took to Twitter to clap back at the Quebec government for their efforts to decrease the use of English in the workplace.
The announcement, made on September 21, states that the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) will be opening new offices and hiring more staff to "allow the Montreal team to focus solely on the metropolis," according to a statement.
The comedian, writer and producer, whose real name is Samir Khullar, tweeted to his 286.5K followers, snarkily commenting on the decision.
Get ready to laugh. Just For Laughs is leaning into its pandemic comedy game. The organization has just revealed the first slate of comedians for its first-ever online festival, which takes place between October 9 and 10 and there are some heavy hitters.
They include Howie Mandel, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel, Emmy award nominee Amber Ruffin, Tasmania's own Hannah Gadsby, the hilarious Jo Koy, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, funny person Tituss Burgess, Canadian comedy stalwart DeAnne Smith, and others.
The two-day comedy event will feature over 100 artists and admission is completely free.
"We are very proud to offer this special edition in an optimized free edition format, enabling us to do what we do best, curating and creating the best of comedy, while making it more accessible than ever, to all fans across the globe," reads a statement from Charles Décarie, president and CEO of the Just for Laughs Group.
"We are truly able to deliver a festival that lives up to Just For Laughs standards."
Décarie stated he's hopeful the festival will "be back in a big way in 2021 with exciting plans for the comedy fans and industry who travel to join us every summer."
After the pandemic dropped, Just For Laughs worked hard to reorganize the festival for a digital audience and, needless to say, it will look very different this year.
The 2020 edition will more resemble a giant Zoom meeting with breakout groups, panels and live discussions "designed specifically for online audiences," than a traditional comedy festival, reads the statement.
For example, on October 10 you'll be able to join a live conversation with the top four finalists from Canada's Drag Race: JIMBO, Rita Baga, Scarlett Bobo, and Canada's first drag superstar, Priyanka.
But don't worry because they'll also be plenty of straight up standup as well.
This year, the festival is partnering with well-known comedian Kevin Hart's global comedy brand, Laugh Out Loud (LOL).
LOL's experiential division, which is called LOL X, will serve as the official programming partner for the festival and will host its very own comedy room, which will celebrate comedians of colour.
The room will feature a mix of live standup performances, virtual panel discussions, and other fun stuff.
"Our goal with the Just For Laughs Festival is to really engage with the global comedy community, and have some important discussions regarding big societal issues in a way that's still entertaining, with comedic relief provided by some of today's brightest comedy stars," said Bruce Hills, president of Just For Laughs in the statement.
"I could not be more honoured that Kevin Hart's LOL is our official programming partner."