By day, Deli Planet looks like any other restaurant you’d find inside of a train station—neatly decorated with a simple arrangement of black tables and chairs and plain leather booths lining the walls. But, don’t let its unremarkable appearance fool you. By night, the restaurant transforms: A small stage is set up, a microphone is procured, and a spotlight is illuminated. Deli Planet doesn’t just serve food—it serves comedy shows. On Thursday, Sept. 1, the restaurant hosted The Remedy, a show packed with stand-up performances in association with the Montreal Comedy Club.
Throughout the night, eight Montreal comedians each performed around 10 minutes of stand-up. Despite their short stage time, the performers covered a range of themes in their set, creating an engaging show: Joanna Selvarajah and Joel Slavik discussed the perils of online dating, while Wassim El-Mounzer joked about his time teaching English in Korea. Other comics found humour in the mundane facets of everyday life, such as Viveth Kanagaratnam who described his fear of revolving doors. Each performer also had a unique comedic style: Harrison Weinreb took on a slow, deadpan delivery, which contrasted Ahren Belisle’s more animated performance. Hadi Kubba and Jason Houle repeatedly interacted with the crowd to improvise new jokes, while Selvarajah and Weinreb seemed to stick more closely to their prepared sets. The variation in comedic styles and subject matter kept the performances exciting for the audience and made each performance unique.
The show’s compère—the master of ceremonies in stand-up comedy—was comic Ali Mohammadi, who entertained the audience between sets with his sharp crowd-work. Even when his jokes didn’t land with the audience, Mohammadi smoothed the moment over with another quip and kept the show moving. The comic was particularly skilled at callbacks, referencing gags he had made in an earlier part of the show. By returning to these jokes throughout the show, Mohammadi’s performance gave the diverse sets a sense of cohesion.
Although all the comics had prepared unique and creative materials, many of the performers had doubts about their set. For example, several prefaced their jokes with a warning that the material was new or still being workshopped. Some were also nervous and spoke rather quickly, still working on their comedic timing. Many of the performers are just starting out in comedy and are still building up confidence on stage. The night’s sets were impressive overall and each of them garnered many laughs from the audience.
A particularly memorable moment in the show was when El-Mounzer swapped his L.A. Dodgers baseball cap for an audience member’s bucket hat, which was covered in fur in the image of Appa from the series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
“I look like I’m going to take you fishing,” El-Mounzer joked. “Or like a SoundCloud manager who takes all your money.”
An evening highlight was a bit from Weinreb about a friend who was moving into a new apartment because they were expecting children. The comedian criticized the friend for their lack of resourcefulness and suggested that they create room for the children by simply “stack[ing] ‘em on top of each other.” In an unwavering, serious tone of voice, Weinreb continued: “I could fit, not even exaggerating, 600 babies in here.”
While the show featured a wide variety of comedic styles, the performers were alike in the passion and energy they brought to their sets. With talented comics and a sharp compère at the helm, The Remedy provides the perfect entertainment for a Thursday night.
‘The Remedy: Stand Up Comedy Show’ takes place Thursday nights at Deli Planet on 800 René Lévesque, West. Admission is $15 online and $20 at the door.