The weather is warming up, the city is a war zone of traffic and construction, and this only means one thing: it’s festival season in Montreal. On May 22, 2019 media reps attended a press conference for the 37th edition of the Just for Laughs festival. At the event, media members, myself included, were treated to a preview of the festival to come, and it looks to be a great one.
Wanda Sykes is coming to town to host a gala on July 26th, joining comedy stars Howie Mandel, Hasan Minhaj, and Jim Jeffries, who are all hosting their own galas. Trevor Noah is back to do a show, and festival staples like Brit-Ish and The Ethnic Show are back, with Jimmy Carr and Cristela Alonzo hosting.
The festival is also featuring rising stars like Malaysian comic Ronny Chieng, and American Nicole Byer. The Nasty Show, a festival favorite, is being hosted by comedian Bobby Lee this year.
Just for Laughs is a festival known to have launched the careers of Ali Wong, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart, and Margaret Cho. Every year they offer an opportunity to new faces in comedy and this year is no exception. In addition to their regular New Faces series, this year will feature New Faces: Canada, featuring rising Canadian stars in comedy.
In addition to the regular fare, this year’s festival highlights the achievement of great women. Just for Laughs will feature Certain Woman of an Age, the critically-acclaimed autobiographical one-woman show by Canadian icon and international mental health advocate (and mother of our current Prime Minister) Margaret Trudeau. The show will have a three night run at the festival, from July 25th to 27th at Gesu.
The Second City Toronto is also bringing their show, She the People, to Just for Laughs, a sketch show created, written, designed, and performed by women, tackling everything from the patriarchy to the government.
This year also brings the return of the Zoofest/Off-JFL festival. Since its creation in 2009, this festival prides itself on giving more room to the next generation, allowing creators more freedom to do shows outside the traditional box of regular Just for Laughs fare. An added bonus is that tickets to these shows are generally cheaper too.
Artists this year include Ron Funches, Adam Conover from the hit College Humor series Adam Ruins Everything, Cameron Esposito, Sasheer Zamata, Andy Kindler, and the Lucas Brothers.
All that said, Just for Laughs 2019 looks like a blast. I’m going! Are you?
Tickets and info: hahaha.com