Just For Laughs – comics, talent scouts, television and movie producers all converge in Montreal for the world’s most important comedy festival

The Just For Laughs Festival is back with the 34th edition of the largest comedy festival in the world. Here’s an overview of some of the shows scheduled, including solo concerts, Celebrity Galas, the ever popular Nasty Show and the fan-favourite Ethnic Show.

Just for Laughs

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the cast of VEEP on July 27
Photo: Melanie Acevedo

The cast of Veep up close.

HBO’s Emmy® Award-winning and Golden Globe®-nominated series Veep is taking a break from politics with a live appearance in Montreal. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine), winner of four consecutive Emmy® Awards for her portrayal of the Vice President and subsequent President of the United States, Selina Meyer will engage in a conversation about one of the funniest and highest rated comedic political satire shows ever made. Joining her on stage will be cast members Tony Hale, who plays personal aide Gary Walsh, Timothy Simons, who plays White House liaison Jonah Ryan, and showrunner, the multiple Emmy®-nominated David Mandel. An Evening with the Cast of Veep will take place at Maison Symphonique at Place Des Arts on July 27.

Just For Laughs to be seen on US television by more Americans than ever before

Unprecedented in the festival’s 34-year history, the Just For Laughs Festival will be telecast across North America with a very special four-night event. In the tradition of Comedy Central’s highly successful Roast franchise, fans will be treated to Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle, a new comedy competition featuring a no-holds-barred verbal boxing match in which comedians will compete head-to-head in a battle of wit and insults. Led by the Roastmaster General, Jeff Ross, and the referee/comedian Brian Moses, this Fight Club of comedy is presented in a bracket style competition where two comics in each round will face off, roast each other, and a winner is declared by a celebrity panel of judges. This Thunderdome-of-comedy, four-night special event will be live-taped at the Just For Laughs Festival at L’Astral from July 27-29 with the July 31 finals airing live to millions of viewers as it will simulcast on Comedy Central in the US and the Comedy Network in Canada.

Just for Laughs

Howie Mandel will host a Gala on
July 29 at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier

Filmed for The CW network at last summer’s Festival in Montreal, Just For Laughs starring Howie Mandel was an exclusive 90-minute special featuring one-of-a-kind performances from some of the best stand-up comedians working today, and gave JFL exposure to a whole new US audience. Given its phenomenal ratings success, CW renewed for this summer and festival organizers welcome Howie Mandel back as host of the second edition of this highly anticipated, all-star multi-comic gala. Mandel thrives in the spotlight, and from Deal or No Deal to America’s Got Talent, he has been an unstoppable force in show business for over 30 years. Howie Mandel’s Videotron Gala presented by Air Canada at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place Des Arts on July 29.

David Cross to host an incredible Videotron Gala presented by Air Canada

Emmy® Award winner and Grammy® Award nominee David Cross is one of the most inventive performers, writers and producers in the industry. Cross recently made his return to stand-up comedy after a six-year hiatus with his tour, Making America Great Again, which he performed this past winter at JFL NorthWest in Vancouver. Cross’s popular sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David was re-launched as With Bob and David on Netflix this past fall and IFC recently announced a third season of Todd Margaret which Cross stars in and created. Cross wrote and directed the dark indie film Hits, which was released at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and he notably reprised his beloved role as Dr. Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development, which aired its fourth season on Netflix in 2013. David Cross’s Gala featuring a lineup of comedic heavyweights at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place Des Arts on July 27.

Concerts that are not to be missed

After graduating from university, Lewis Black wrote hundreds of plays for a theatre in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen from 1981 to 1989. It was a small operation, and he also acted as the Emcee, introducing the plays and performing as the opening act.  His transition to stand-up comedy was a natural evolution. His influences include George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and Lenny Bruce. Lewis first auditioned for JFL in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2003 that he first performed that the Montreal festival. “For some reason, they liked me in 2003; even though I did the same set that I auditioned with in 1998! Since then, I’m happy to be a regular. Just For Laughs opened up the whole of Canada for me, and I stared doing shows all across the country.” On the current state of politics in the United States; “The statements that the Republicans and Donald Trump are making are so absurd – the public may not even need me anymore! I could be out of work!! Those guys are pining for a time 50 years ago.” On Hilary Clinton; “She’s like the high school class president! But – it is significant that the United States has a woman running for President; and few people have taken the time to appreciate that.”

Just for Laughs

Lewis Black brings his signature
acerbic rant to Theatre Maisonneuve on July 27

A self-proclaimed socialist, Black has great admiration for the progress that Bernie Sanders made in bringing younger Americans into the political process.     

Lewis Black is known as the king of the rant, and he’s here to give you an earful in The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth Tour. Black fittingly voiced the character, Anger, in the 2015 Academy® Award-winning Pixar film, Inside Out. Few others are so perfectly suited to personify anger. Black’s hilariously heated outbursts are truly cathartic and shed light on the hypocrisy and madness of the world. His performance will take place at Theatre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts on July 27.

Currently a cast member on Comedy Central’s hit series Broad City, Hannibal Buress is a favourite of fans and critics on big and small screens alike. He sold out his first national theatre stand-up comedy tour and was praised by The New York Times as one of the most “supremely gifted and respected” comics around. Catch this emerging comedy superstar when he performs at L’Olympia on July 30.

Jeremy Hotz spent the winter braving the harsh elements as he travelled from coast to coast, entertaining Canadian audiences with his International Man of Misery tour. Now the sun is out and the lovably miserable comedian is coming to the Just For Laughs Festival to continue spreading the joy. Don’t miss this hilarious grump live from L’Olympia on July 28.

Brian Regan visits close to 100 cities a year doing stand-up and has sold out some of the most beautiful venues on the continent. He recently made Comedy Central history by performing the first-ever live comedy special at Radio City Music Hall. Regan is a unique comedian whose material is relatable to generations of fans and revered by some of the best comedians in the business. Catch him live at Theatre Maisonneuve at Place Des Arts on July 30.

The Hottest National Bank Solo Shows and Club Series

Maria Bamford was praised for her work in the Netflix reboot of Arrested Development, has a recurring role on FX’s critically acclaimed Louie and is the first female comic to have two half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials. Maria is the star of the upcoming Netflix series Lady Dynamite, and can be seen live with two performances at 5e Salle at Place Des Arts on July 28 & 29.

Russell Howard, star of the hit BBC TV show Russell Howard’s Good News and one of the UK’s most popular comedians, returns to the Just For Laughs Festival with a brand new hour-long show. This is a high-energy, upbeat and eye-wateringly funny rollercoaster of a set at 5e Salle at Place Des Arts on July 27 & 30.

Iliza Shlesinger is the host of the new relationship-based game show on TBS, Separation Anxiety, winner of Last Comic Standing and star of the Netflix specials Freezing Hot and Warpaint. Don’t miss Iliza when she returns to Montreal for two performances at 5e Salle in Place Des Arts on July 28 & 30.

Over Kathleen Madigan’s 25-year comedy career she has performed on nearly every late-night show ever made. She’s had stand-up specials on Netflix, HBO, Showtime and Comedy Central, and won the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Comedian.” Don’t miss your chance to see Kathleen as she brings The Mermaid Lady Tour to Just For Laughs for one night only at 5e Salle at Place Des Arts on July 26.

Nikki Glaser is quickly becoming one of the most sought after young comedians and actors in the comedy world today. The creator and star of Comedy Central’s Not Safe w/ Nikki Glaser will host a lineup of special guests at JFL All Access Live with two performances at Club Soda on July 30.

The Commonwealth’s sharpest comedic talents are coming to this year’s festival for Brit(ish), hosted by Mark Watson with Russell Kane, Joe Lycett, special guest Sarah Millican, and more comedians still to be announced. It’ll make you proud to have the Queen on your money. Brit(ish) will take place with two shows at Club Soda on July 26 and a third show at 5e Salle at Place Des Arts on July 27.

For more information about the hundreds of performers and to purchase tickets, please visit www.hahaha.com or call the Just For Laughs Box Office: 514-845-2322

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