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Leguizamo has the last laugh

There aren’t many actors who diversify themselves as successfully as John Leguizamo does.

There aren’t many actors who diversify themselves as successfully as John Leguizamo does.

The veteran Columbian- born thespian has been a solid screen presence for 25 years, essaying roles in epic crime dramas (Carlito’s Way), deranged comedies (Too Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar), cult favorites (Land of the Dead) and blockbuster kids flicks (Ice Age).

But it is with his unique brand of outspoken stand up comedy that the actor has truly given himself license to loosen the leash, break rules and go for the throat. His latest live show touches down in Toronto as part of the Just For Laughs Festival for a five night run at the Berkley Street Theatre starting tomorrow night.

The show provides more of the same devil may care spoken word mania found in Leguizamo’s previous stage bound works but this time, the emphasis is on attacking the very sacred cow that butters much of his bread: Hollywood.

“The show is more like a play and I’m more like a storyteller,” says the actor. “I get to do impressions which is a first for me. Pacino, DeNiro, Steven Segal — who I worked with in Executive Decision and who is an ass — all get a turn and I also get to be myself, of course.”

Leguizamo’s monologues and impressions run so raw that recently legal action was taken, which — when it comes to this sort of comedy — is a badge of honour.

In fact, Leguizamo was run out of New York last week due to his onstage remarks about one of his subjects.

“This lawyer came to my show and came after me,” he reveals.

“Apparently, the fact that I’m not a doctor means that because I called his client ‘bi-polar,’ it counts as a kind of unauthorized, unfounded diagnosis. I was sent a cease and desist letter. So now I have to find a way to say what I want to say about him without resorting to medical terms. It’s pretty crazy.”

Some actors who enjoy such a celebrated, successful and prolific career (he has six films due out this year alone) might be afraid to be so frank about their powerful peers, but not Leguizamo.

“Hollywood is fun and exciting and everything, “ he says, “but there’s also a lot of crap and I talk about it. It’s intense ... and funny as hell.”

The Just for Laughs schedule

The Toronto Just for Laughs Festival runs tomorrow through Sunday at various venues around the city. Here is a glance at what is coming up over the next few days.

For more details, information on the festival, or a complete list of events, visit www.hahaha.com.

TOMORROW

John Lequizamo Live, Berkeley Street Theatre, 8 p.m.
The Danny Bhoy Show, St. Lawrence Centre, 7 p.m.

WEDNESDAY
The Canadian Masters, Absolute Comedy, 8:30 p.m.
John Lequizamo Live, Berkeley Street Theatre, 8 p.m.
The Danny Bhoy Show, St. Lawrence Centre, 7 p.m.
Jon Dore Show, The Rivoli, 8 p.m.
John Caparulo and Jimmy Carr, Yuk Yuk’s, 8 p.m.

THURSDAY
The Canadian Masters, Absolute Comedy, 8:30 p.m.
John Lequizamo Live, Berkeley Street Theatre, 8 p.m.
The Danny Bhoy Show, St. Lawrence Centre, 7 p.m.
All-Star Galas, Massey Hall, 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
Jon Dore Show, The Rivoli, 8 p.m.
Bo Burham, French Comedy Bastards and a sketch show, Second City, 7 p.m. and onward.
Colin and Brad, St. Lawrence Centre, 7:30 p.m.
Todd Glass and Steve Byrne, Yuk Yuk’s, 8 p.m.

If you go ...
John Leguizamo performs tomorrow through Saturday at the Berkeley Street Theatre. For tickets and more information go to www.hahaha.com.

 
 
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