By: Stuart Nulman – mtltimes.ca
After offering comedy fans in Montreal the biggest names in comedy, not to mention many up-and-comers who ended up being some of the biggest stars in the comedy world for the past 32 years, organizers at the Just For Laughs festival announced that for its 33rd edition (which runs from July 8 to 28) it will be a new and bigger event.
“This year, Just For Laughs is going to offer 35% more shows in our line-up. We are growing gracefully and in a much more intelligent manner,” said festival COO Bruce Hills. “Social media and comics who use social media are our biggest assets, because they have a combined total of 60 million followers. And when these comics write on social media that they are in Montreal for Just For Laughs and they are loving every minute of it, their fans want to buy into it. They want to get the chance to see these major international comedy stars from film and TV. “
“And thousands of spectators are buying more Just For Laughs passes, so we have to give them more bang for their buck and present more quality shows for them to see. In fact, the quality of the British acts alone can fill Wembley Stadium,” added Hills.
And how is Just For Laughs going to attract more people to its 33rd edition? By having an international man of mystery and a former boy doctor-turned-awards show host extraordinaire as part of its headline-making line-up.
Saturday Night Live alumnus Mike Myers, best known for the Austin Powers movies and his “Wayne’s World” sketches, makes his festival debut on July 24, as he reminisces about his long career in comedy with “An Evening with Mike Myers” at the Maison Symphonique.
And Neil Patrick Harris, who started his career in the title role on the TV series “Doogie Howser, M.D.” more than 25 years ago, as well as his role in the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”, will bring his talented skills as an awards show host as he hosts the closing Videotron gala at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts. Other gala hosts include Jane Lynch of “Glee” fame and Trevor Noah, the controversial South African comic who is about to succeed John Stewart as the host of “The Daily Show”. Other gala hosts will be announced within the next few weeks.
“Weird Al” Yankovic will return to Just For Laughs for the first time in 25 years to perform a free English outdoor show at the Quartier des Spectacles on July 21. Kevin Hart, whose July 24 show at the Bell Centre has already sold over 10,000 tickets, will be honoured at the festival with its Comedy Person of the Year Award. Other comics who will be performing at the festival and receiving special honours at the Just For Laughs Awards Show on July 24 include Dave Chappelle (the newly-established Generation Award), Patton Oswalt (Stand-Up Comedian of the Year), and star of the sitcom “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” Ellie Kemper (Breakout Comedy Star of the Year).
And other shows that are not to be missed at this year’s festival include two midnight shows by Reggie Watts at the Gesu (July 24 and 25), a solo show by Scottish comic Danny Bhoy at the Maison Symphonique (July 25), the Uptown Comics show hosted by JB Smoove from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (July 25), Tom Papa hosting the Date Night Show with Brent Morin, Debra DiGiovanni and Orny Adams (July 21 and 22), the popular “Midnight Surprise” series of shows (July 16-25) and an expanded Off-JFL line-up that includes Janeane Garofalo, Andy Kindler, Harland Williams, Brian Posehn, Mosher Kasher and Kyle Kinane.
To experience the new and expanded Just For Laughs festival, buy your tickets now by going to www.hahaha.com, or call 514-845-2322.