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All kinds of funny at Just For Laughs 2013

July is a loose, silly time in Montreal, not only because it’s the height of summer holidays, but because long-running comedy festival Just for Laughs, July 10-28, lets some of the biggest names in comedy reign the city’s downtown core…

Laugh for Less at Zoofest and Off-JFL

July in Montreal could be renamed Comedy Month, such is the abundance of stand-up, humour-driven theatre and comical circus in the city. Between the Just For Laughs and Zoofest festivals alone, hundreds of shows add more laughter to the city soundscape. But while it’s a sure bet to splurge on Just For Laughs tickets to see your favourite famous comedians, both festivals also make it possible to see comedy every night and still not break the bank… Along with its many galas and big-name solo shows, Just For Laughs showcases an array of lesser-known – yet still recognizable – funny people at Off-JFL, a series of shows where two tickets run for $30. Many of the comedians at Off-JFL have come up through the ranks via television shows and online fame, and all have spent years honing their laugh-making skills. Among them: Marie Bamford, Tig Notaro, Judah Friedlander, Trevor Noah, Chris D’Elia, Scott Adsit, John Lutz, Andy Kindler, Pete Holmes, Kyle Kinane, Brian Posehn, Todd Barry, Todd Glass, Rory Scovel, Debra Digiovanni, Sam Simmons, Zabruso, The Midnight Beast, Deanne Smith, Robert Kelly, Ronna & Beverly, Godfrey, and Gavin Crawford. While much of the quirkier side of English-language stand-up has moved over… / Read More →

THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL (JULY 21-28)

Whenever I travel to another city, I try to stay for at least a full week if I can. It’s nice to get this daily perspective and take the time to see what city life is really like. Of course, in Montreal, Tuesday has been the new Friday for about two years and a work night means going to sleep at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. And that’s why I’m covering the whole week in this column now! Give in to the Montreal heat wave at one of many festivals – music, comedy, circus and more awaits all week long!

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC AT JUST FOR LAUGHS

“I knew nobody would want to see me in a meat dress,” said Weird Al Yankovic from his home in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and daughter. The frock of meat is one of the many costumes (from bees to cheese) his weirdness dons in the kooky music video for Perform This Way, his popular parody of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. “So it’s a female body with my face surgically imposed,” explains Yankovic, who also directed the video that generated two million Youtube hits in two days.

PINKARNAVAL: A JEAN PAUL GAULTIER-INSPIRED PARADE

Montreal’s love affair with designer Jean Paul Gaultier poured out onto the streets when Pinkarnaval, a Gaultier-inspired parade and party, took over downtown. As he did for the premiere of his internationally-acclaimed exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Gaultier himself showed up to join in on the fun…

JOEY ELIAS AT JUST FOR LAUGHS

Montreal comedian Joey Elias has performed at over a dozen Just For Laughs festivals. With two very different shows on the go this year, we figured he was the perfect person to ask about the JFL 2011 lineup and answer the question of what, exactly, makes Montreal so great in the summer…

THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL (JULY 14-17)

It would seem, at least this month, that the circus never stops in Montreal – for real! Circus festival Montréal Complètement Cirque goes strong all weekend in various locations and Just For Laughs’ Pinkarnaval parade and performance night are like stepping right into the three-ring – if it were directed by Jean Paul Gaultier. Festival Nuits d’Afrique has fantasic music options outdoors and in, while the Fantasia film festival turns the lights off inside so whole new worlds can pour out from the screen, and Kid Koala brings joy to our ears at the Biosphere…

WHAT TO SEE AT THE JUST FOR LAUGHS FILM FEST

The Just for Laughs Film Festival, an offshoot of Just for Laughs, the world’s biggest comedy festival, has become an attraction in its own right, by featuring films about funny, like Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!, as well as much-lauded releases, like A Beginner’s Guide to Endings, starring Harvey Keitel and Scott Caan…

HYATT REGENCY MONTREAL

What came first, the Hyatt Regency or the Jazz Festival? Well, the Hyatt did in 1976 but the Jazz Festival moved right across the street shortly afterwards, designating the Hyatt as the place to be for the best shows in town. In fact, you don’t even need to be within the Jazz Festival grounds to enjoy the world-class entertainment. Simply saddle up to the bar, order a cocktail and hit the expansive wrap-around terrace with the best view of the shows happening right across the street. With a full bar and restaurant and a pool with glass sliding doors, why would you want to be anywhere else?

ZOOFEST 2011

Zoofest! I’m so glad it’s back again in all its weird and wonderful glory. The fest, begun as an off-shoot of Just For Laughs three years ago has come a long way in a short time (don’t even get me started on what their inaugural website looked like – my eyes still sting) and continues to bring the funny and the strange in a well-curated program of up-and-coming comedians and genre-defying performers. This year, they’ve doubled their programming: from July 9–31, we’ll have our choice of 83 original shows from over 200 artists. And all this can be yours for the low price of $39!…