Just for Laughs

This article is about the comedy festival in Montreal. For other uses, see Just for Laughs (disambiguation).
Just for Laughs

"Victor", the Just for Laughs trademark mascot
Genre Comedy festival
Location(s) Montreal, Quebec
Founded July 14, 1983 (July 14, 1983)

Just for Laughs (French: Juste pour rire) is a comedy festival held each July in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1983, it is the largest international comedy festival in the world.[1]


Saint-Denis Theatre in Montreal with Victor
Inside Saint-Denis Theatre, 2005 Just for Laughs festival

Just for Laughs was founded in 1983 by Gilbert Rozon as a two-day French language event. In 1985, Andy Nulman joined the festival's staff and introduced English language events as well; under Nulman's stewardship, the festival increased to a full month, with French-speaking performers during the first half, and English speakers in the second half. International and non-verbal acts (acrobats, pantomimes, etc.) are scattered throughout the program.

In 1999, Nulman left the festival's full-time employ; however, he directed its major Gala Shows at the Saint-Denis Theatre every July, and remained on the board of directors of the festival's parent company. After an 11-year absence, Nulman returned to Just for Laughs in July 2010 as president of Festivals and Television.[2]

Each day, performers, "New Vaudevillians" and other acts both vocal and visual perform throughout the city, particularly in the "Latin Quarter"—an area known for its theatres, cafés and boutique shopping. In the evenings, the nightclubs and live venue theatres offer special programs supporting the performers.

Although Just for Laughs attracts spectators from around the world, many of those in the audience are talent scouts, booking agents, producers and managers from the entertainment industry. Performing at the festival is one of the biggest opportunities for undiscovered talent to showcase their act in front of industry professionals.

The Just for Laughs festival also has the Comedia comedy film festival component, which started in 1996. It gives awards for feature and short films. 2005, Comedia screened 125 short films from around the world as well as several feature-length films.

In February 1994, the festival sponsored a splinter project in Hollywood, Florida. That coastal area is a favourite winter destination for Quebecers who head south to vacation in the warmer weather. The event, Juste Pour Rire—En Vacances (Just For Laughs—On Vacation), was held in the Young Circle Park, an outdoor venue with an urban park setting.

In July 2007, Just For Laughs celebrated its 25th edition, launching a festival in Toronto, Ontario. In 2009, the Chicago festival was launched and aired on TBS.

TV shows

Just for Laughs has also been a launchpad for many US network television and sitcom careers, and is frequently featured as a foreign on-location highlight of late-night US network talk shows.

Just For Laughs films many performances at the annual festival in Montreal and the TV productions from these tapings air regularly on CBC Television, The Comedy Network, TVA and YTV. The shows feature stand-up performances from the festival and sometimes include "canned bits" shot on location around Montreal, Canada.

During the summer of 2007, ABC aired episodes of Just for Laughs: Gags.[3] It consisted of two half-hour episodes, and aired mostly on Tuesdays from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.

The content and format was exactly the same as the Canadian counterpart, but was hosted by Rick Miller, who introduced each segment with a quirky pun. The show returned to the ABC lineup as a mid-season replacement on January 1, 2008.[4] The series was initially not renewed after the half-season, but ABC reversed their decision.

The third season of the show, titled simply Just for Laughs, began airing on June 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm ET.[5][6] The program returned in the 2014-15 season under the Just for Laughs: Gags title as a syndicated offering to the United States through PPI Releasing, which mainly specializes in syndicating Canadian programming to American stations.

Just for Laughs: All Access, which airs on The Comedy Network, airs recordings of live stand-up comedy performances from the festival.

See also


  1. Georgia Brown (March 16, 2007). "Five top comedy festivals around the world". The Guardian. London. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  2. "Andy Nulman » Speaker Profile » National Speakers Bureau". Nsb.com. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  3. "Just For Laughs". American Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
  4. "From The Futon Critic". Thefutoncritic.com. December 14, 2007. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  5. "ABC Announces Their 2008-09 Schedule. Who's Been Cancelled?". May 13, 2008. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  6. "Just for Laughs returns". June 18, 2009. Archived from the original on October 3, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009.

External links

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