JFL40: Yannis Pappas Makes Triumphant Return To Montreal


Yannis Pappas has a message for anyone debating whether to catch one of his shows at the Just For Laughs festival: “Come enjoy the jokes people! They’re jokes. Thicken your skin and grow up!”

On stage and on his podcast LongDays, the Brooklyn native unabashedly shares his thoughts on the extremes and hypocrisies of both the right and the left. Hilarious? Yes. Offensive? Maybe.

“People can get offended,” Pappas said. “You have to not be so narcissistic and say, ‘Hey, I might not have liked this but somebody else might have. I took offence. That’s fine. I didn’t like it. I got offended.’

“Well guess what? Life is offensive. Things offend you. And things much worse than what a comedian says is going to come down your pipeline.”

Pappas said he believes comics are providing a valuable service by putting into perspective some of the truly horrible things people have to face in their lives.

“You should thank comedians who are offensive, or who offend you, because they’re preparing you for life, which is going to offend you even more,” he said. “Trust me on that one. Life ain’t beautiful.”

Ultimately, Pappas just wants people to laugh at each other and themselves. “We’ve got to remember that underneath all of the politics and beliefs we’re just people struggling day-to-day to keep our mental health strong, to put food on the table and find some meaning,” he explained.

Pappas is returning to JFL in a big way. He’s part of the Just For The Culture show (formerly The Ethnic Show) and will do two full shows of his own plus a set at The Iliza Shlesinger Gala. (He'll also record an episode of LongDays at the fest.)

“I’m glad that it’s back and that we can be in the same room together at the greatest comedy festival in the world with the best comedians,” he said. "It means more this year, obviously, than ever because you don’t miss something until it’s gone.

“I look forward to trying to avoid poutine but it’s going to happen.”

The new dad is also hoping that spending some much time in Montreal will allow him to get some quality shut-eye. “They could have paid me zero and I would have come if I can just freakin’ sleep a little bit,” he joked.

Pappas has high praise for JFL audiences. “The crowds are incredible. This is it. This is the reward when you’re a comedian. You go to Montreal  and you go to the best comedy festival in the world. You celebrate comedy and what it does for people.”

With all that’s going on in the U.S. right now, is it possible Pappas would consider making the move north?

“Everybody in America is thinking about dual citizenship right now,” he said. “I’ll gladly give my tax dollars for health care because I’m a hypochondriac. I’ll milk that system. I’ll be a burden on your health care system. I’ll go every other day with panic attacks until they have to kick me out.”

Yannis Pappas is part of Just For The Culture, which runs July 13-17 and 20-24 at Club Soda and July 26-28 at MTelus. He also performs full shows on July 27 and 29 at Salle Claude-Léveillée at Place des Arts and appears July 29 at The Iliza Shlesinger Gala. Click here for tickets. Just For Laughs runs July 13-31.

Virgin Radio and CHOM are sponsors of the Just For Laughs festival, which is partly owned by parent company Bell Media. This article was adapted from a feature article at PopGoesTheNews.