With Just For Laughs’ inaugural digital festival a mere couple of weeks away (October 9 and 10, to be exact), a whole new slate of talent and shows have just been added to the line-up, which will give comedy fans an unprecedented digital comedy experience.
Organizers have put together a format that will give spectators an easy way to hop from one show or presentation to another through whatever digital device they have, and in the comfort of their own home. There will be a number of virtual comedy rooms that will run festival programming simultaneously starting on October 9 at 5:15 p.m. EDT and October 10 starting at 6 p.m. EDT. As well, each JFL show will remain on its website through video on demand through October 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. And best of all, the festival is 100% free of charge.
It all begins on October 9 with a special one-on-one conversation with two giants of today’s comedy world: Judd Apatow and Kevin Hart. Both of them will discuss anything and everything comedy, especially the creative process that has become part of their respective comedy empires. This will take place in every virtual comedy room of the festival.
Comedian, best selling author and talk show host Chelsea Handler will share with viewers stories about her life, career, family and personal therapy sessions on October 10 in a live, unscripted and no-holds-barred hour as part of the “Conversations with Funny People” series, which will be presented by HBO Max. Other programs that will be part of this series are to feature Jimmy Carr, Noel Fielding, Ronny Chieng, Hannah Gadsby, DeAnne Smith, Jo Koy, Kenya Barris, Sarah Cooper, Amber Ruffin & Jeremy Hagel, Titus Burgess, Trixie Mattel and Nicole Byer.
Just For Laughs veteran Gina Yashere will deliver the festival’s moderated keynote address on October 9. This event will be have another JFL veteran, comedian Wanda Sykes, to serve as its moderator.
Howie Mandel, who has been a festival favourite since 1998, will now add “armchair psychologist” to his impressive career resume. On October 10, he will bring his comedy couch for a special virtual show called “Comedy Sessions”. Mandel will chat with a number of popular American comics, who will relate to him how they used comedy as a means of confronting past and present life circumstances, tragedies and adversity.
Writer/director Steve Byrne discusses his upcoming movie “The Opening Act” on October 10 with some of its cast, as well as comics Cedric the Entertainer, Jimmy O. Yang, Anjelah Johnson and Roy Wood, Jr., who will share their past experiences of breaking in to the stand-up comedy scene.
As well, Kevin Hart’s worldwide comedy brands Laugh Out Loud (LOL) and LOL X, is a co-presenter at the Just For Laughs festival for the first time with a specially curated line-up of comedy programming that will celebrate “Comedy in Colour”. This will include two showcase of stand-up comedy with established and up-and-coming comedians hosted by Godfrey and Affion Crockett; a panel discussion on the current state and future of the live comedy business that is being hosted by LOL President Jeff Clanagan; a special screening of Owen Smith’s popular comedy talk series “Notebooks”; a live taping of comedian Earthquake’s SiriusXM Laugh Out Loud show “Quake’s House”; and the presentation of a filmed version of another SiriusXM Laugh Out Loud radio show hosted by Kevin Hart and the Plastic Cup Boyz called “Straight from the Hart”.
Finally, three longtime Just For Laughs stalwarts are going the virtual route for the very first time this year. The Eat My Shorts film competition will feature 13 original comedy film shorts, in which the top three films judged by Alonzo Bodden Jeremey Garelick and Nisha Ganatra will receive awards for their efforts. New Faces: Creators will showcase a selection of up-and-coming digital comedy creators chosen from hundreds of applicants. And last, but certainly not least, comedian Andy Kindler will deliver his always eagerly anticipated “State of the Industry Address”. For the 25th anniversary edition of the address, it will be open to the public for the first time and Kindler will present it live from his own home.
To join in the Just For Laughs digital festival virtual fun and laughter on October 9 and 10, just tune into www.hahaha.com/en/2020festival.
The 2020 Just For Laughs Festival is presented by La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services, in collaboration with Loto-Quebec.
Feature image: Judd Apatow, Chelsea Handler and Kevin Hart