Ismo JFL42, Toronto ON, September 20
Published Sep 21, 2018How many comedians can you name from Finland? Chances are that you can barely name one. That one comedian is Ismo, the only Finnish comedian who has not only learned to perform fluently in English, but has also made it in America and performed one of the best late-night sets of the year on Conan.
One of Ismo's greatest strengths is his ability to see English from an outsider's perspective. Much like his Conan set, which deconstructs the many diverse uses of the word "ass," Ismo's show at the Garrison included a very nuanced explanation of differences between bullshit, chicken shit, batshit, apeshit, my shit, your shit and losing your shit.
The care in his writing was wonderfully witty, and his matter-of-fact delivery made it even funnier. Likewise, he mined his perspective as a person who learned English as a second language for some amazingly original material about English words he doesn't approve of, such as "birth control" and "squirrel."
New York comedian Jo Firestone was an equally delightful opener. When she found out that most people in the crowd hadn't gone to the movies recently, and that absolutely no one had seen Mamma Mia 2, she declared the audience "hostile" to everyone's amusement and summed up the ABBA musical sequel in her trademark style of adorably absurd silliness. Additionally, she also told a story about finding false teeth in a movie theatre that was oddly poignant in its funniness.