Phot Credit: shopgirlmtl.com  

            The most famous comedy festival of all time is about a month away from beginning a three-week showcase of the biggest names in comedy ranging from all-star comedians, television personalities, and popular podcast hosts. As always, Just For Laughs will be held in Montreal and will begin Wednesday, July 10 and go through Sunday, July 28.

Just For Laughs was founded in 1983 by Gilbert Rozon and was primarily a French-speaking event. However, in 1985, Andy Nulman joined the festival’s staff and created the month long event that it is today, as well as introducing the English-speaking aspect to the festival. Just For Laughs brings in the most credible comedians in the world, which attracts a global variety of audience members. Though, a lot of the audience members are talent scouts, booking agents, producers, and managers from the entertainment industry looking for brand new talent that is always available to see at the festival.

So not only does Just For Laughs entertain its audiences with big-name comedy personalities, it also allows opportunities for the rising or undiscovered funny-people to get noticed and potentially begin a career in comedy. With that being said, let’s get into who’s all showing up at this year’s festival.

The biggest events at the shows are the major Gala Shows held at St. Denis Theatre. There are four Gala Show hosts this year, with the four being Seth Meyers, Eddie Izzard, Joan Rivers, and Sarah Silverman. Each host has one or a few comedians that they feature during their show. Seth Meyers is featuring Hannibal Buress while Eddie Izzard has a special guest Gad Elmaleh, who is a French comedian but is performing his entire act in English.

Izzard’s feature comedians are Jean Paul and Trevor Noah. Joan Rivers is featuring Lynne Koplitz and Josh Thomas while the edgy and sometimes controversial Sarah Silverman is hosting two back-to-back shows: one featuring comedians Wil Anderson, Kyle Dunnigan, Tig Notaro, and Kyle Kinane; and the second featuring comedians Arj Barker, Pete Holmes, and Marc Maron. All of those comedians are just showing up for the Gala Shows and some of them have their on Solo Show like Pete Holmes and Marc Maron.

Some other Solo Shows to look forward to seeing are Nick Kroll, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from Who’s Line Is It Anyway in their show Colin and Brad, and the Youtube sensation Bo Burnham. There are also a number of Theme Shows, which take a specific topic and a comedian hosts the subject.

For example, Godfrey is hosting Date Night: The Relationship Show—dealing with the craziness and hilariousness of human coupling—at the same time as SNL favorites Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan and one of the bubbliest female comedians out there Kristen Schaal host the #TalkOfTheFest that informs audiences and twitter viewers what is going on each day of the festival.

An interesting and unique element of Just For Laughs is the live podcast showings, where hosts from popular podcasts set up on stage and do an episode of their show, live. WTF With Marc Maron, The Todd Barry Podcast, You Made It Weird With Pete Holmes, and Professor Blastoff are just a few of the podcasts that will be broadcasting a brand new episode live from Montreal. 

Last but not least, on the Just For Laughs website, the staff of the festival has picked their favorite comedians and theme shows for the upcoming festival. The final five favorites: The Nasty Show hosted by Bobby Slaton with special guest Jimmy Carr; comedian Amy Schumer; The Ethnic Show hosted by Shaun Majumder; the theme show Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody and Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional.

Obviously, there is no way you’ll be able to see every single one of the wide variety of comedians and shows, but there is bound to be one that is just perfect for you and your friends to see. And right around now is the best time to start planning a trip up to the Great White North to see the best comedy you will ever witness, all while being in an atmosphere that can only be felt if present in Montreal for this years Just For Laughs. So select which act you want to see and get ready to have a grand ol’ time, eh! 

Article By: Sam Dysart