Fringe Review: “Cocktails and Dreams”: a life behind bars


Image courtesy of Jon Malanos

Jon Malanos is done with waiting tables and wants to be a comedian. What better than to take the story of his life and his career in hospitality and serve it up as a stand up show in Cocktails and Dreams, presented by 2 for 22 Productions.

As any comedian knows, writing comedy is hard. But as every reviewer knows, writing about comedy can be even harder. The field is wide and what is side-splitingly hilarious to one, can leave others luke-warm. So whether Malanos’ comedy is for you or not really depends on whether his humour matches yours and I will try my best to describe the experience.

Malanos’ dream of becoming a comedian first formed, as he had previously revealed in his Fringe-For-All teaser, when a classmate in primary school shit his pants. Because making fun of that kid distracted attention away from an incident two years earlier, which had marked himself as the boy who pissed his pants. Yeah. You know what you’re in for now.

With great energy and in a quick succession of rapid-fire jokes he takes us through his early years: from humble beginnings, working in his father’s Star-Trek themed, Greek restaurant, his awkward teenage attempt at getting laid by presenting his worn underwear on a tray to a gaggle of female patrons – I daresay it is not too much of a spoiler to say he did not get laid that night – and to his eventual success at scoring a dry hump, which makes his father proud.

Malanos’ waiter’s livery is a tribute to one of his early engagements with a (potentially mob-run) reception hall, where funerals would be booked well in advance and wise, seductive women waited to give life advice to our young protagonist. Somehow these women seemed to sprinkle his youth and the narrative keeps following a line of mentors who again find surprising uses for bodily fluids, which might explain why Malonos is seemingly so comfortable with them today.

He discovers that alcohol helps him overcome his shyness to talk to women which he occasionally demonstrates in his off-hand interactions with the women in the first row of the audience. Malanos’ aspirations then take him to Toronto where he lives the artist’s struggle between making ends meet and pursuing his passion for comedy. His career oscillates between comedy clubs and Greek restaurants, where he finds comfort in being the only straight man amongst the gay staff. His jokes are never quite disrespectful and perhaps he deserves some credit for not falling into that trap, even though he seems to think that homophobic gay men are totally acceptable. Because they’re gay. Get it?

Whether or not Jon Malanos has accomplished becoming a good comedian will be entirely up to you at the end of this 55-minute performance.

Anyone who enjoys the tried and tested stand-up format of a guy talking about his life for nearly an hour.

Drink suggestions:
If you wanted to take your pick from the cocktails mentioned in the show you would have to remain sober – despite the title the show is all about dreams, not cocktails. This reviewer downed two glasses of Pinot Gris.

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2 for 22 Productions presents “Cocktails and Dreams”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 6 – 16, 2019
Venue: 01 – Le Ministère
4521 Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2T 1R2
Admission: $12 | Ages 18+
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)

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