Montreal: The funniest city in the world
If you think laughter is the best medicine, head up to Montreal between July 8 and 28 to take the cure at the Just for Laughs Festival.
Now in its 33rd year, Just for Laughs has built a gigantic international reputation for bringing together the biggest and best names in comedy.
Holding the record for the highest number of tickets ever sold at JFL, Dave Chappelle returns to perform no less than seven shows at Theatre Maisonneuve (July 20–23), while one of comedy’s biggest movie stars is, rather surprisingly, making his first ever appearance at the festival in “An Evening with Mike Myers.” And Kevin Hart is on course to be performing the biggest individual indoor show in the festival’s history, at the Bell Centre on July 24.
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Twelve gala events are to be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, Trevor Noah, Norm MacDonald, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Sir Patrick Stewart, Ellie Kemper, and Alan Cumming, and other headliners include Bill Burr, Patton Oswalt, Chris Hardwick, Jason Reitman and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Comedians from around the world — 19 countries, to be exact — are a big part of the festival, particularly in “The Ethnic Show” at Club Soda (July 8–19), hosted by Alonzo Bodden, with Gina Yashere, Ahmed Ahmed, Frank Spadone, Ronny Chieng, Dan Naturman and Rachid Badouri. British-Iranian actor-comedian, Omid Djalili, has his own show, “Iranalamadingdong."
There are themed shows, too, so if you think relationship issues are a hoot, check out “Date Night” with Brent Morin, Orny Adams, Debra DiGiovanni and Tom Papa. If plain speaking has greater appeal, “The Nasty Show” has hilarious malcontents like Mike Wilmot and Gilbert Gottfried, and the oft-outrageous Jimmy Carr taking the stage to rip at various subjects in the bluntest terms. To get a peek at where Canadian humor is headed, “Homegrown Comics,” hosted by Shaun Majumder, is a contest for up-and-coming Canadian comedians.
Alongside all the shows, you’ll find plenty going on for free out on the streets of Montreal, including street performers, family fun, music, and art. The highlight, on July 21, is a free open-air concert by “Weird Al” Yankovic, the 2015 Grammy winner for est Comedy Album.
Not all of the shows are big-ticket items, and you’ll find names you recognize — "Saturday Nigh Live"'s Colin Jost, "The Daily Show"’s Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, and many more — at surprisingly good prices in intimate venues hosting “Off-JFL” events.
For more information and tickets visit www.hahaha.com.
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