New Grand Montreal Comedy Fest announces line-up
Grand Montreal Comedy Fest – In the wake of the scandal this past fall that saw Juste pour rire/Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon step down from his duties overseeing the comedy festivals that has made Montreal an international capitol of comedy, a group of about 50 prominent Francophone Quebecois comedians decided to break with the festival that for many of them – including Mike Ward, Martin Petit, Maxime Martin, Sylvain Larocque, Marie-Lise Pilotte and Laurent Paquin – got their starts in the comedy world. Shortly afterwards, they launched their own summer time comedy festival called the “Grand Montreal Comedie Fest.”
Two months later, after a great deal of feverish planning, organizers have announced the programming line-up for its inaugural edition, which is scheduled for July 1-15, about two weeks prior to Juste pour rire/Just For Laughs’ 36th edition. Martin Petit, along with festival director-general Paul Larocque and several other comedians, officially unveiled the line-up at a press conference on December 20 at the Olympia Theatre on St. Catherine Street East, which is one of the chosen venues for the festival.
Petit told the gathering that the Grand Montreal Comedie Fest’s programming will be done in three distinctive series of shows: the Grand Montreal series, the Clubs de Comedie series and the “18 ans +” series.
The Grand Montreal series will have comedy shows performed several times on the same night in different venues across the island and within the outskirts of the city, in which the artists will be shuttled from one venue to another via the festival’s own special fleet of helicopters.
The Clubs de Comedie series will bring stand-up comedy to the St. Denis Street area for the first time in nearly a decade. This time, six intimate venues in the immediate area, such as the Theatre St. Catherine, L’Abreuvoir, and Le Bordel, will offer pure stand-up comedy shows that will serve as a platform for both up-and-coming comics and veteran comics, and give spectators a chance to see the Francophone comedy stars of tomorrow, as well as some of their favourites return to a setting where they got the chance to develop their comedy chops.
The “18 ans +” series, which will take place at the Olympia Theatre on July 5 and 6 at 11 p.m., will be the perfect setting for those comedy fans who like their humour with a very adult edge to it, and will feature some of Quebec’s edgiest comics including Mike Ward, Mehdi Bousaidan and Julien Lacroix.
As well, the Grand Montreal Comedie Fest will stage a special benefit comedy show called “Vive ton courage” on April 24 at the Olympia in support of victims of sexual assault and harassment. Hosted by Patrick Groulx and Melanie Ghanime, with an all-star cast of comics who will volunteer their time and talents for this show, the proceeds from the evening will directly benefit three local organizations dedicated to combating sexual assault and harassment: the Regroupement quebecois des CALACS (Centre d’aide et de luttte contre les aggressions a caractere sexuel), the Marie Vincent Foundation and the La Traversee organization.
Tickets for the inaugural Grand Montreal Comedie Fest are now on sale. For more information, check out the festival’s Facebook page or go to www.olympiamontreal.com.