JFL42 Review: Jon Dore Is a Master of Discomfort

Royal Theatre, Toronto ON, September 25

BY Audrey CarletonPublished Sep 26, 2019

"It's been a pleasure for me to open for me," Jon Dore said after the first five minutes of his set, as he literally opened for himself at the Royal Theatre. The comedian walked on stage with two beers and a stack of notes in hand, the latter of which he spent the first bit of his set referencing as he rattled off clever one-liners, all the while joking that he was doing open mic material before getting to his real stuff.
It all felt a bit unplanned, but it was sort of beautiful to watch — Dore seems to be at ease amid chaos, and leans into moments of discomfort on stage. Perhaps the funniest bits of his set were places when crowd work went wrong: When the comic asked an audience member about their recent trip to Juneau, Alaska (where Dore now lives), and got a cryptic response back, he confidently questioned them until he put the pieces of their vacation together, ending with a decisive, hilarious, "Yep, still got it."
When he asked if anyone in the room had ever had seizures (something Dore recently experienced himself), he got a single, shouty "No!" from the back of the theatre — and as Dore mocked the one very loud, very seizure-free audience member, the room erupted into laughter.
Crowd work isn't his only strength, however: He exhibited quite the range of ability over the course of his hour, getting just as many laughs from dark stories about his unbridled love for alcohol and his latest trip to the hospital as he did from his extremely silly one-liners about New York's sewage system and marathon runners.
Dore exudes both the confidence of a seasoned comic and the excitement of someone eager to make each set unique. There's something to be said for someone who can take discomfort and twist it into humour; Dore has mastered that act.

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