You know in The Big Sick how getting invited to the “Montreal comedy fest” is portrayed as a huge professional break? Well, it is, only in the real world the festival’s called Just For Laughs. Running in Montreal since 1983, it’s the biggest comedy festival in the world, and the preeminent industry event for comedy professionals, with agents, producers and network executives scouting talent and making deals. Getting invited to perform can be a career-making event for any comic, and a big part of that is the annual New Faces series.
This year’s Just For Laughs kicks into high gear this week, and in anticipation of the various New Faces showcases they’ve just announced this year’s recipients. For the first time, there’s four categories of New Faces, with New Faces: Creators, devoted to digital video creators and influencers, making its debut. It’s a good bet that at least a few of these comics will be among your very favorite within a few years. Remember these names.
New Faces of Comedy
The original New Faces category focuses on stand-up comics who already have professional representation, and this year the honorees include:
James Austin Johnson
JR De Guzman
Norm Nixon Jr
New Faces Group 1: Wednesday, July 26, 7 PM at Monument National, Ludger-Duvernay Theatre
New Faces Group 2: Wednesday, July 26, 9:30 PM at Monument National, Ludger-Duvernay Theatre
New Faces: Characters
Instead of stand-up, the performers in the Characters category focus on, well, building characters. Rooted more in sketch and performance art than stand-up, these are the comedians you’re most likely to see showing up on Saturday Night Live down the line. And this year’s line-up includes a friend of Paste who has performed at one of our Paste Comedy Nights, Ana Fabrega.
Show time: Thursday, July 27, 7 PM at Monument National, Ludger-Duvernay Theatre
Watch Ana Fabrega live in the Paste Studio
New Faces: Unrepped
These comedians won’t be unrepped for long. Getting invited to this showcase basically guarantees you representation.
Show time: Thursday, July 27, 9:30 PM at Monument National, Ludger-Duvernay Theatre
New Faces: Creators
As we wrote above, the newest New Faces category is built around comedians who primarily work on YouTube or other digital platforms. If this existed over the past decade, we imagine you could’ve seen performers like the Lonely Island, Good Neighbor or Derrick Comedy among the honorees. The inaugural recipients include:
Good Cop Great Cop (Matt Porter and Charlie Hankin)
Handsome Dancer (Matt Pavich and James Manzello)
The Cooties (Ethan Edenburg, Jacob Jeffries, Eric Jackowitz and Raul Fernandez)
Show time: Thursday, July 27, 1:45 PM at Grand Salon Opera, Hyatt Regency Montreal