The Just For Laughs Festival is one of the most popular annual events in the city of Montreal and the largest festival of its kind in the entire world. Gilbert Rozon founded the Montreal Comedy Festival in Montreal in 1983. It was originally a two-day festival that featured only French-speaking comedians and performers. Two years later, the festival grew to incorporate English-speaking performers as well. Over the course of the past 25 years, the festivities have grown to include hundreds of high-profile Montreal Comedy Festival events, from stand-up performances by up-and-coming amateur comedians, to keynote performances in large theaters around the city by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Many times these big-name comedians are at the Just For Laughs Festival to perform, other times just to be in the crowd.
Although there is a certain looseness that goes along with a festival of this kind, it is not altogether without organization. International acts and other non-verbal performers like mimes are interspersed throughout the program, but besides that, they are split between Francophone and Anglophone comedians. There are formal and informal performances at the month-long Montreal Comedy Festival. Many of the New Vaudevillians perform throughout the day, especially in the Latin Quarter, known for its boutiques, cafes, and clubs. These street performers certainly lend to the overall dynamic and atmosphere of the festival, but the main attractions are the night shows that take place around the city in a variety of theaters and nightclubs. There are literally hundreds of Montreal Comedy Festival events. It will not be difficult for you to find a show that interests you. The only potential difficulty will be deciding between which shows and performances to attend.
It is not only fans of comedy that attend the Just For Laughs Festival. There are also a good number of talent scouts, agents, producers, and the like in the audience, checking out the new talent. For this reason, it is obviously a huge opportunity for new comedians to take the stage at this internationally renowned event. But many well-established performers show upas well. Just some of the huge names in the industry that have either attended, performed, or hosted one or more of the Montreal Comedy Festival events include: Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Tim Allen, Jason Alexander, and many more.
The Montreal Comedy Festival is also expanding. There is a satellite festival held in Hollywood, Florida every year (a popular vacation destination for Quebec's citizens), as well as Just For Laughs festivals in Toronto and Chicago. Another cool aspect of this festival is the Comedia Comedy Film Festival, which screens over 100 short films from around the globe as well as a decent number of full-length comedies.
Montreal is often referred to as the City of Festivals. The Just For Laughs Festival certainly ranks among the most popular in the city for both residents and tourists. If you are planning to be in Montreal during the month of July, you will quickly realize that, although busy, this is a great time to visit the city. There is so much going on with the festival’s events, and you will also want to make time to enjoy sightseeing in the city as well.
Image: Just For Laughs Festival