Montreal’s annual comedy extravaganza Just For Laughs looms ever closer, which means a fresh batch of comedians have been announced. Mind you, JFL’s lineup of 90-plus comics was already stacked, but as long as they don’t have to sleep in boxes due to lack of space, we’re not complaining about more funny people. Here are all the newest additions to JFL 2016.
Rogen is coming back to JFL for a special screening of his much-anticipated movie Sausage Party, the first ever R-rated CG animated film. The film follows a sausage (voiced by Rogen) who leads a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they are chosen to leave the grocery store. The film features the vocal talents of quite a few stars, including: Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton and Salma Hayek. The film is directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, with a screenplay by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, and a story by Rogen, Goldberg and Jonah Hill. Sausage Party hits theatres Aug. 12, but JFL attendees will be able to catch a special screening on July 30, 8:30 p.m. at Imperial.
Ansari, Noël Wells, Kelvin Yu and Alan Yang are coming to Montreal this summer for a Master of None cast panel at Just For Laughs ComedyPRO. Master of None, a Netflix original series created by Ansari and Parks and Recreation writer Yang, follows the personal and professional lives of Dev (Ansari), a 30-year-old actor in New York who has trouble deciding what he wants to eat, much less what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Dev’s story takes him through subjects as diverse as the plight of the elderly, the immigrant experience and how to find the most delicious pasta for dinner. The Master of None cast panel will take place on July 30, 4 p.m. at The Hyatt Regency.
Lane, an accomplished stage, film and television performer, is perhaps best known for his performances in The Producers and The Birdcage, both of which earned him Golden Globe nominations. He’s lent his voice to animated films like The Lion King and Stuart Little, and was last seen on FX’s anthology series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Lane has had recurring roles on The Good Wife and Modern Family, as well as many guest appearances, all of which have earned him six Primetime Emmy Award nominations, two Daytime Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award. In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. The Nathan Lane Showstopper Gala is set for July 28, 7 p.m. at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier Place-des-Arts.
Peters, having put on more than 250 shows in 120 cities across 25 countries, with more than 500,000 fans in attendance, over a two-year span, is returning to host another incredible night of comedy in Montreal. Known for his lightning-fast improv with the audience, as well as for his racial and cultural observations, Peters is currently working on a number of new television and movie projects, and can be heard as one of the voices on Disney’s The Jungle Book. He was recently a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing alongside Roseanne Barr and Keenan Ivory Wayans, and had a role in Jon Favreau’s critically acclaimed Chef. One of the highest earning comics in the U.S., Peters has spent the past 25 years building a career as one of the biggest comics in the world, performing six sold-out shows at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, a feat that no other comedian has been able to achieve. He sold out two Just For Laughs galas in 2014, and one of the hottest tickets at JFL this summer will be The Russell Peters Gala on July 30, 9:45 p.m., at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Place Des Arts.
Mystery-lineup show “Midnight Surprise” is bringing in an all-star host, literally. NBA all-star Blake Griffin will host five nights from July 26-30 at Theatre Sainte-Catherine. The five-time NBA All-Star, 2011 Rookie of the Year and Slam Dunk Champion is also a very funny man with an innate knack for comedic timing, as exhibited in numerous national ad campaigns and top-tier media, including an uproarious guest spot on a recent episode of Broad City.
YouTubers Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart Take Over Montreal
YouTube sensations Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart are coming to Just For Laughs this summer for a night of comedy. Helbig is a comedian, actress and video blogger, as well as the creator and star of the Webby Award-winning web series It’s Grace (over 2.5 million subscribers). Hart is a potty-mouthed, pun-filled internet comedian who creates weekly cocktails inspired by pop culture’s latest train wreck celebrities and headlines. She also wrote and starred in the 2014 feature film Camp Takota, and is currently working on her second book after the successful release of You Deserve a Drink, which landed on The New York Times bestseller list. These two talented ladies will host a lineup of special guests at JFL All Access Live, July 28 with two performances at Club Soda at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., presented as part of the National Bank Club Series.
Two New Improv Shows
From the minds of improv and comedy legend Colin Mochrie and master hypnotist Asad Mecci comes the mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, side-splitting show HYPROV: Improv Under Hypnosis. Twenty random volunteers from the audience will be hypnotized (the process of which is a show in its own right), their inhibitions evaporated and their minds no longer their own. The five best are left on stage when one of the world’s leading improvisers enters. HYPROV: Improv Under Hypnosis takes place July 30, 11 p.m. at 5e Salle Place des Arts, as part of the National Bank Theatre Shows.
Fellow improv-ers Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, stars of the Emmy-nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway?, team up again to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy. Using their quick wit, The Colin and Brad Show takes contributions from the audience to create hilarious and original scenes, often calling them to the stage to participate in the fun. Their high-profile presentations have played to corporations, universities and theatres all over the country. The Colin and Brad Show takes place July 27, 7 p.m. at L’Olympia.
Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch
One of the biggest events in the comedy world each year is Variety’s unveiling of their annual “10 Comics to Watch” which recognizes stand-up, sketch artists and web content creators who’ve risen to prominence over the past few months. This year’s list includes Vlad Caamano, Lauren Lapkus, Lilly Singh, Granger Smith, Daily Show correspondents Roy Wood Jr. and Ronny Chieng, and those selected to perform at JFL this year: James Adomian and Tony Atamanuik of Trump vs Bernie: Debate for America fame, Cameron Esposito, Jermaine Fowler and Aparna Nancherla. Catch some of the best and brightest as they perform on July 29, 9:30 p.m., at Monument-National in the Ludger-Duvernay Theatre, hosted by Lil Rel.
The Ethnic Show Adds Nemr to the Lineup
The Ethnic Show is a gathering of comedians with unique backgrounds and perspectives including Nigerian-American Godfrey, Greek-American Yannis Pappas, from the Bronx, Puerto Rican Gina Brillon, Jewish-American Jessica Kirson, special guest and festival favourite, Italian-American Dom Irrera and now Nemr. Nemr is a Lebanese-American stand-up comedian credited with establishing and pioneering the stand-up comedy scene throughout the Middle East where he performs in English. He has seven full feature specials and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine (Middle East edition). Hosting The Ethnic Show, after breakout English performances at last summer’s festival, is one of Quebec’s biggest stars, Rachid Badouri. The Ethnic Show will take place at Club Soda and Metropolis with 19 performances from July 13-28, presented as part of the National Bank Club Series.
Homegrown Comics Lineup Announced
Don’t miss your chance to see the next generation of Canadian comics as they strut their stuff in a showcase of the best talent hand-picked from across The Great White North, including Nigel Grinstead, Mike Rita, Keith Pedro, Chris Robinson, Mayce Galoni, Sophie Buddle, Ryan Dillon, Chantel Marostica, Jordan Chyzowski and Daniel Carin. The 18th edition of Homegrown Comics presented by Sirius XM and hosted by The Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson will take place at 5e Salle in Place Des Arts on July 29 at 7 p.m., presented as part of the National Bank Club Series.
Jo Koy to Perform a Solo Show
Jo Koy sells out clubs across the nation, created his own podcast The Koy Pond with Jo Koy, and serves as a regular panelist on Chelsea Lately. He’s had two Comedy Central specials titled Don’t Make Him Angry and Lights Out. Koy has also appeared on World’s Funniest Fails, The Joy Behar Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly and Jamie Foxx: Laffapalooza. His infectious, explosive energy onstage, as well as his insightful jokes and family?inspired humour, cross all boundaries. Don’t miss his solo show July 30, 7 p.m. at Monument National in the Ludger-Duvernay Theatre.
Check out the rest of Just For Laughs’ insane 2016 lineup and find out more info about the festival in general here.