After 32 years of bringing the best in comedy to Montreal, the Just For Laughs festival gives us another laugh-packed program in 2014, with hundreds of comedians – from the latest-and-greatest stars to influential legends – keeping the city happy July 9-28.
Once again, Just For Laughs brings in the big names for its major Gala shows, each filmed live for TV at the fabulous Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Art and featuring a roster of brilliant comedians hosted by major players in comedy. Pick your favourites from among this year’s hosts and get ready for hours of entertainment: the great Don Rickles headlines on July 23 and 25, Chevy Chase adds fire to the fest on July 24, a Mega Stars of Comedy Gala dazzles on July 25, Seth Rogen steps off the big screen and onto the stage on July 26, SNL star and Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg smirks and charms on July 24, Mr Fluffy himself Gabriel Iglesias hosts on July 23, Russell Peters leads the way July 27-28, the ever-funny Jim Gaffigan comes to town on July 27, and Amy Schumer may or may not try to tame her language and wild ways on July 26.
Spend more time with almost all of the comedians featured in Gala showcases, along with many more, at the festival’s array of solo shows. Recognizable from their many TV and film appearances, as well as being regulars at Just For Laughs, the fest welcomes Bill Burr, Lewis Black, Mike Birbiglia, Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari on his Modern Romance tour, Ron White, Jim Jefferies, podcast star Marc Maron, the cast and creators of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Tommy Tiernan, Doug Benson, Jim Norton, Chelsea Peretti, TJ Miller, Chris D’Elia, Jimmy Carr, Kathleen Madigan, Kumail Nanjiani, Miranda Sings, Pete Holmes and dozens more comedians, ready to roll with new material and more sharp observations on life’s idiosyncrasies.
For those of us who have a hard time picking favourites, Just For Laugh’s numerous themed shows offer a buffet of comedy all in one evening. Best of the Fest and New Faces of Comedy nights and Talk of the Fest showcases highlight festival success stories and often feature surprise performances by big stars – don’t miss Broad City’s comedic duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman, Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon and others. The Ethnic Show, hosted by Maz Jobrani, makes taboo subject matter into laugh-worthy material with Erik Griffin, Angelo Tsarouchas, Paul Varghese and more. The All Star Show, hosted by Dom Irrera, gives us just what its title suggests, with Alonzo Bodden, Ryan Hamilton, Adam Hills and Judy Gold. The Date Night Show, hosted by Godfrey, lampoons all things relationship-related, with Lynne Koplitz, John Heffron, Joe Matarese and more. While The British Show, hosted by Noel Fielding, brings the UK to Montreal and The Nasty Show, hosted by Bobby Slayton, gets more down and dirty than anything else at the fest.
Just For Laughs is also one of the best ways to see the most up-and-coming comedians in one place – say you saw them back in the day, before they signed to TV shows and movie deals. The festival’s OFF JFL program presents dozens of emerging comedians and off-the-beaten-path funny people throughout the festival, from Paul F. Tompkins to Greg Proops, DeAnne Smith and Ari Shaffir. On top of that, keep an eye out for the 130 eclectic shows from JFL’s sister festival Zoofest bringing not only rising stars of stand-up comedy to the city’s smaller stages, but subversive theatre, burlesque, music, circus acts, cabaret and more at extremely affordable ticket prices. Meanwhile, the comedy continues off stage at several film screenings, including Hit By Lightning, starring Jon Cryer, and Eat Drink Laugh: The Story Of The Comic Strip, the famed New York City club that served as an early stomping ground for Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and many more who would go on to become comedy icons.
Just For Laughs also brings comedy to the great urban outdoors, with plenty of free, family-friendly performances, music and interactive activities at Place des Festivals (just outside entertainment hub Place des Arts and throughout downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles. And while comedy may feed the soul, be sure to feed the body too – never go hungry with several of Montreal’s food trucks parked throughout downtown, serving up everything from gourmet hot dogs to coffee and crepes, and numerous restaurants in the area and in nearby Old Montreal. No matter what, expect your days and nights to be served with a side of comedy during Just For Laughs.
Just For Laughs, July 9-28, 2014
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