Just For Laughs officially wraps up its 35th year, celebrating more artists, sold-out shows, TV tapings, panels and networking events
than ever before!
Jerry Seinfeld & Gad Elmaleh, Jim Carrey, Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah, Judd Apatow, Craig Ferguson, Ali Wong, Sugar Sammy, John Mulaney, Laverne Cox, Colin Jost & Michael Che, Jane Krakowski, Howie Mandel, Joel McHale, Rick Mercer, David Spade, Lilly Singh, Mike Birbiglia, Chris D’Elia, Danny McBride and many more!
Montreal, QC (July 31, 2017) – The Just For Laughs Festival, presented by Videotron in association with Loto-Québec, successfully upped the ante on hilarity with more artists and TV tapings than ever before, popping the cork over an astounding 42 sold-out shows. With a flood of television tapings, social media coverage, and international press, JFL experienced more worldwide exposure than ever before! JFL’s name is synonymous with comedy. You can’t turn your head without catching stand-up captured at the festival; major players include Netflix, HBO, The Comedy Network, CBC, Showtime, The CW, CNN, Hulu, CBS, Comedy Central, LOL, TruTV and countless other media outlets from across the globe.
Jerry Seinfeld and Gad Elmaleh rocked the Bell Centre for a ground-breaking, co-headline stand-up performance. The two comedy legends packed the arena for the one-of-a-kind event, receiving an astonishing two standing ovations. The concert marked Seinfeld’s first return to the JFL festival since his 1989 debut and Elmaleh’s triumphant return to Montreal. Undoubtedly the most talked-about event of the festival, the show is destined to go down in JFL history.
Gad Elmaleh and Jerry Seinfeld at the Bell Centre on July 26
Photo credit: JFL/Susan Moss
The 10th Annual Just For Laughs Awards Show presented by SiriusXM, brought the glitz and glam, rolling out the red carpet for Trevor Noah (“Comedy Person of the Year”), Jim Carrey (“Generation Award”), Mike Birbiglia (“Stand-Up Comedian of the Year”), Ali Wong (“Breakout Comedy Star of the Year”), Craig Ferguson (“Alumni Tribute”) and Kenya Barris (“Comedy Writer of the Year”). The show was hosted by JFL regular Alonzo Bodden. The ceremony was filled with an abundance of laughter and raw, heartfelt, emotional speeches that celebrated the craft of comedy.
Jim Carrey accepts the Generation Award on July 28
Photo credit: JFL/Felicia Michaels
For fans of Jim Carrey, the panel for the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here was a chance to get re-acquainted with the “kid from Canada” and to hear about his own experiences as a young stand-up comedian in Toronto and LA. The 90-minute panel was hosted by Dave Itzkoff from The New York Times and included several cast members from the hit series. While in town, Carrey was also spotted taking in some comedy at several festival shows.
Kevin Hart was his usual magnetic self at the Laugh Out Loud! Presents: Just For Laughs Eat My Shorts Film Premiere and competition, where he handed out a development deal to the winning film, Special Skills: Episode 3 “Hot Tea” by filmmakers Marina Squerciati and Patrick Webb. A total of 750 films were submitted and the final five films received over 60,000 online votes. This is the second year that Hart’s Laugh Out Loud! Network and Just For Laughs have collaborated on a comedy content competition. Additionally, JFL produced and filmed 39 episodes of a new digital comedy series, set to premiere on their soon-to-be-launched LOL Network.
Kevin Hart surprises the OFF JFL Midnight Surprise audience on July 27
Photo credit: JFL/Joseph Fuda
Trevor Noah brought laughter and insight for two sold out stand-up performances at Place des Arts, delivering two radically different sets. Fans couldn’t get enough of Noah, packing the house the following day for ComedyPRO’s industry insider In Conversation event, listening in as Noah touched on everything from intimate life experiences to scathing political commentary.
Trevor Noah “In Conversation” on July 29
Photo credit: JFL/Felicia Michaels
Judd Apatow made his triumphant return to stand-up, performing live at Place des Arts’ Cinquieme Salle for five sold out performances. No stranger to the fest, Apatow chose Just For Laughs to capture his upcoming, very first Netflix special.
Netflix crews were on double-duty, also shooting Craig Ferguson’s back-to-back sold out performances of his latest hour The New Deal Tour.
Ali Wong provided further proof as to why she’s one of the hottest names in the game, following up her smash-hit special Baby Cobra with a stellar set for a sold-out crowd of rabid fans at Maison Symphonique.
Another sold-out hour was John Mulaney’s Kid Gorgeous. Mulaney returned to the JFL stage, following up last year’s riotous Oh, Hello run with two performances of his gut-busting new set. Other hot-selling runs included Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, presented as part of the Jack Astor’s Solo Series, and a killer night with Chris D’Elia.
More stars came out to shine at Place des Arts for 10 jam-packed Videotron Galas presented by Air Canada including Sugar Sammy’s International Gala (two sold out shows over two consecutive nights!), The Howie Mandel Gala (with special guest Cedric The Entertainer), The Colin Jost & Michael Che Gala, The Jane Krakowski Gala (featuring her The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-star, Titus Burgess), The Lilly Singh Gala (with Grace Helbig & Mamrie Hart), The David Spade Gala, The Joel McHale Gala, The Laverne Cox Gala, and The Rick Mercer Gala, all filmed for our broadcast partners The CW, The Comedy Network, and CBC.
Tonight’s final gala, an all-out celebratory Montreal: An Intervention Gala closes the festival and features comedians Rachid Badouri, Caroline Rhea, Jimmy Carr, Alonzo Bodden, Mark Critch, DeAnne Smith, David Pryde and presenters, Corey Hart, Jay Baruchel, Anthony Kavanagh, Brittany LeBorgne, Vanessa Grimaldi, Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Drouin, Tara Spencer-Nairn, and a show-stopping performance by The Tenors.
Proving that you never know who will stop by a show unannounced, Kevin Hart stopped by Midnight Surprise, rewarding a packed house of comedy-loving insomniacs with a 45mins set, and things continued to heat-up at OFF-JFL with unannounced performances from Jeff Ross, Michael Che, Sugar Sammy, and not-so-newlyweds Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher who are in the midst of their Endless Honeymoon tour.
Other non-midnight surprises included Michael Che popping up at The Lucas Bros., Gad Elmaleh performing at The Masters; Sugar Sammy stopping by The Ethnic Show, and Mike Birbiglia, Chris D’Elia, and Russell Peters flexing their improv muscles at Stand-Up on the Spot.
Industry folks and festival artists were abuzz about Bumping Mics, featuring comic legends Jeff Ross and Dave Attell, who joined forces for three riotous nights of co-headlining hilarity. They even invited special guests Judd Apatow, Jimmy Carr and Craig Ferguson in on the fun.
The word at ComedyPRO this year was ‘inspirational’ — from Kevin Hart’s Q&A at the Laugh Out Loud Presents: Just For Laughs Eat My Shorts, where he talked about the long, slow climb from bit player to international film and comedy star — to Andy Kindler’s legendary State of the Industry Address and in-depth panels featuring the casts and crews of HBO’s Vice Principals, CNN’s The History of Comedy, FOX’s The Mick, CBS’s Superior Donuts, and Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, this year’s conference was one for the books.
This year’s Podcast Series was the festival’s biggest yet, featuring the immensely popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast, My Dad Wrote A Porno, and internet sensations Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld, who surfed into town to offer audience members life advice for a recording of their chart-topping podcast If I Were You. Additional big-name podcasts included Wedlock with Kurt and Lauren and Eugene Mirman’s Hold On.
Over at SiriusXM’s Homegrown Comics competition, industry judges awarded two winners for the first time in Homegrown history; Montreal’s D.J. Mausner & Toronto’s Courtney Gilmour were the first female comedians to receive this top honour. Both winners will head to JFL42 in Toronto in September and will return to film sets at JFL 2018 for Just For Laughs: All Access, to be broadcast on The Comedy Network.
In its inaugural year, the CBC Comedy Originals Pitch program featured five projects from Canadian creators. The industry panelists selected Christophe Davidson and Courtney Gilmour’s animated property Diversity League: Social Justice Division for further development as part of CBC Digital Originals.
OFF-JFL continued to expand, playing host to some of the most notorious names on the scene as they performed in Montreal’s most intimate and alternative performance spaces. International comedy icons squeezed their enormous talents into Montreal’s most intimate, hippest venues.
OFF-JFL’s jaw-dropping lineup included the hit improv show Stand-Up on the Spot, Howie Mandel’s Dub Wars Live, Boast Rattle, and Ari Shaffir’s Renamed Storytelling Show. Other stand-up standouts included David Baddiel, Ron Funches, Ali Siddiq, W. Kamau Bell, Ryan Hamilton, Katherine Ryan, Bryan Callen, Aunty Donna and SiriusXM’s Top Comic Showcase.
Undisputedly the most important new talent comedy showcase in the world, The New Faces series celebrated its 21st anniversary this year with yet another spectacular line-up of up-and-coming talent. New to this year’s program was New Faces: Creators, JFL’s successful leap into the online world. The event showcased digital content creators and influencers, and played to a packed room in the Grand Salon Opera.
Jack Astor’s The Ethnic Show continued its tradition of uniting nations, all the while setting box-office records. Hosted by Alonzo Boden and featuring crowd-favourites Jessica Kirson, Steve Byrne, Mike Rita, Vladimir Caamaño, and The Doo Wops, the show played to affectionate audiences and critical raves throughout its two-week run. As always, The Nasty Show was the talk of the festival, filling the Metropolis with riotous laughter throughout its 11 performances. Host Ari Shaffir oversaw the down and dirty festivities, which included sets from Jimmy Carr, Robert Kelly, Yamaneika Saunders, Godfrey, Big Jay Oakerson, and a surprise appearance by Dave Attell.
JFL took over the streets of Montreal for sixteen full days of programming. Major highlights included Russell Peters’ Old School Mixtape featuring Naughty By Nature, Melle Mel, and Lisa Lisa, the late-night Melting Pot party, and Josh Adam Meyers’ rocking Goddamn Comedy Jam.
Russell Peters’ Old School Mix Tape Live on July 27
Photo credit: JFL/Nicolas Abou
Business was booming throughout the festival, with a record-breaking industry passes sold, multiple digital business venture announcements, and the exciting news that JFL will be crossing continents with Just For Laughs Africa, a brand new comedy festival making its debut in 2018.
The 35th party may be over, but the JFL team is already planning on how to top this year’s extravaganza. Next up: JFL Sydney from September 11-17, followed by Toronto’s JFL42, taking place from September 21-30, 2017.
The Just For Laughs Festival ran from July 12 - 31, 2017 in Montréal, Canada.
Find us on social #JFLMTL #JFL35
The Just For Laughs Festival would like to thank its public partners: Government of Canada, Destination Canada, Gouvernement du Québec, City of Montréal and Tourisme Montréal for their support.
SiriusXM- proud supporter of Canadian comedy.
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About Just For Laughs
Founded in 1983, the Just For Laughs Group’s growth is concentrated on three major focal points: festivals (in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney); television production and stand-up specials (most notably Gags, seen in 135 countries and on 95 airlines); and live shows (Canadian tour dates for Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Bill Burr, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Louis C.K., Jimmy Carr, Danny Bhoy, North American dates for John Cleese & Eric Idle and Family Guy Live!, to name a few). Its inaugural Montreal Festival, which will celebrate its 35th edition in 2017, is the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy event, welcoming more than 2 million people each summer. The Group has offices in Montreal, Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, and London.
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