JFL42 is here once more, bringing with it to Toronto hordes of skilled comedians who give us mad lady-boners every time they kill it hard on stage. And it’s not just the jokes: They’re all super-hilarious, definitely, but each of these comics has that He’s, Like, Genuinely A Great Dude, You Guys quality that inspires lifelong crushitude. (And no, that isn’t just code for Mulaney’s hot face, you perverts.) We wanted to share why we love these six funnymen coming to town for the festival, plus a little taste of their work to tide you over ’til showtime.
Hannibal Buress (Oct. 3)
Where you’ve seen him: Playing Ilana’s sweet, sassy dentist semi-boyfriend Lincoln on Broad City; landing a coveted Comedy Central show, Why? with Hannibal Buress, where he just talks about whatever he damn well wants; putting up with Eric Andre’s antics as the sidekick on The Eric Andre Show; heckling me about my hipster apple juice choice at a tiny Brooklyn stand-up showcase four million years ago
Why we love him: His slow-as-molasses delivery and sense of wonderment at the world’s ridiculousness make you just want to squeeze him and squeeze him. Plus he is a great ally to women—it was his old stand-up routine decrying Bill Cosby as a rapist that finally kickstarted Cosby’s eventual downfall at last.
Patton Oswalt (Oct. 2)
Where you’ve seen him: As one of the Internet’s most beloved comedians, Patton is known for boosting his talented pals and producing thoughtful rebuttals to the hot-button comedy issues of the day, from joke-stealing to taboo bits—one of your friends has definitely retweeted him or reposted one of his rants. He also voiced the lead mouse in Ratatouille and played beautifully an awkward old nerd sorta-romancing Charlize Theron in Young Adult.
Why we love him: He just seems to radiate goodness and helpfulness, but we gotta give a special shout-out to routines that skewer his wife’s obsession with murder shows and Wesley Snipes insane behaviour on the set of Blade: Trinity.
John Mulaney (Sept. 25)
Where you’ve seen him: The puppetmaster behind masterful Saturday Night Live creation, Stefon; posing for Vogue with his hot new wife on the steps of a tasteful New York brownstone; doing the late-night stand-up circuit
Why we love him: His eponymous sitcom Mulaney was one of the worst shows we’ve ever seen sh-t out of a good comic, but Mulaney’s boyish charm, sharp wit and giant, glorious smile forced us to forgive everything near-immediately. (And if you’ve seen Mulaney, you know that’s huge.) Now that we’re back in love with the dude, we’re stoked for his Netflix special The Comeback Kid—apropos, Mulanes, apropos—due in November. (Check out our interview with him here; pics of his bulldog Petunia are included!)
Trevor Noah (Sept. 26)
Where you’ve seen him: In the 9,135,085 news articles heralding him as the much-ballyhooed heir to the Jon Stewart throne at the titan of late-night comedy, The Daily Show.
Why we love him: Bitch is PRETTY. We’re also super-intrigued after having read his v. candid GQ interview in which he opens up about the abuse and violence in his childhood. For now, we’ll put our trust in the godheads over at the Daily Show that he is worthy of Stewart’s seat and our budding crush (no presh or anything, TREVOR).
T.J. Miller (Sept. 27)
Where you’ve seen him: As Erlich, the arrogant, handlebar-mustachioed dirtbag who houses and “mentors” the ragtag Pied Piper start-up on Silicon Valley; fleeing killer robots in Transformers: Age of Extinction (spoiler alert: this Michael Bay monstrosity is totally worth watching for T.J.’s comic relief and epic death scene)
Why we love him: T.J. Miller is like a sentient id walking around, all gruff-voiced and shouting and curly hair exploding everywhere and constantly trying to grab the balls of his Silicon Valley costar Thomas Middleditch on set in constant gleeful explosions of man-jubilance. There’s a real joie de vivre—and strange, wicked sense of humour—in T.J. that makes you just want to have a beer or 13 with him at the cottage, like, every weekend; instead you can just enjoy his salty stand-up, which has the same loose, silly fun of our imaginary cottage weekend I think about far too much.
Chris Hardwick (Sept. 26)
Where you’ve seen him: Patton Oswalt’s fellow nerd-king has the excitable, good-natured affability and Southern-blond cuteness that has powered TV since its inception—Chris has spent the last two decades in service to the tube, constantly, constantly hosting shows, including Singled Out (remember that old chestnut?!), Web Soup, approximately a billion other programs, and his current gigs on Talking Dead and @midnight.
Why we love him: He has that rare quality of seeming like a regular dude who happened to stumble on show set after show set and just charmed everyone in the room into listening to him and his eager, unalloyed enthusiasm and just-so-pumped-to-be-here-guys-ness. We still choke up every time we remember the episode of Talking Dead where Chris took a moment at the end of the show to eulogize his recently-departed father. Sob!
Follow Senior Editor—Culture Briony Smith on Twitter at @brionycwsmith during JFL42 for her reviews of these shows and more!