The Month of Laughter

July 5th, 2019

The Juste pour rire and Just For Laughs festivals merged last year under the direction of a Howie Mandel-fronted consortium, after Gilbert Rozon’s departure. This year, for the first time, instead of being presented on different dates the French and English festivals will run simultaneously from July 10 to 28, 2019 (hahaha.com).

Another consequence of Rozon’s departure was the emergence of an alternative, complementary French festival: Le Grand Montréal Comédie Fest. Now in its second year, and renamed Grand Montréal Comique, this festival has scheduled a series of comedy acts from June 22 to July 7, and is expanding opportunities to enjoy stand-up comedy throughout Montreal’s metropolitan area (grandmtlcomique.com).

Zoofest/Off-JFL, which celebrates its 11th anniversary from July 11 to 27, 2019, continues to promote an upcoming generation of comics and celebrate experimentation in comedy (zoofest.com).

Here’s a closer look at Montreal’s month of humour.
 
 
JUSTE POUR RIRE
 
Soirées Carte Blanche

For its 37th edition, the Juste pour rire Festival presents five Soirées Carte Blanche at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, with Katherine Levac on July 16, Phil Laprise on July 17, Anne-Élisabeth Bossé July 18, Adib Alkhalidey and Julien Lacroix on July 19, and Jay Du Temple on July 20.

Featured Shows

Mamma Mia! : after adding many waves of extra performances, the big musical of the summer, based on hit songs by ABBA, will be presented at Théâtre St-Denis until July 27.
Laurel et Hardy: an original Quebec creation that tells the story of the friendship between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, the famous comedy duo of the 1920s and ’30s. From July 15 to 21 at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.
Finale with acrobats from the Analog troupe, from July 9 to 20 at Théâtre St-Denis 2. A collaboration between two festivals: Montréal Complètement Cirque and Juste pour Rire.

Headliners

Cabaret à Laurent with Laurent Paquin, from July 12 to 14 at the Monument-National.
On va tous mourir, a comedy in vignettes by Laurent Paquin and Simon Boudreault, directed by Serge Denoncourt, from July 4th to 27th at Le National.
Le clone est triste, a play performed by Théâtre du Futur, July 18 to 20 at Théâtre Jean-Duceppe.
Show Interdit, a show hosted by Guillaume Wagner without taboos, without embarrassment, without censorship … from July 12 to 14 at Place des Arts’ Cinquième Salle.
Le roast de Maxim Martin, celebration of a 30-year career, July 15 at L’Astral.
Nautilus, 75 minutes of stream of consciousness and physical comedy with Trygve Wakenshaw, from July 14 to 16 at La Cinquième Salle.
Sèxe Illegal 361° with the duo of Paul Sèxe and Tony Légal, on July 20 at the Cinquième Salle.
Philippe Bond - Merci!, Bond’s third show in which he returns to hilarious stories about his family, from July 25 to 26, at Théâtre Jean-Duceppe.
Donel Jack’sman - On ne se connait pas on ne se juge pas; American name, African origins, European culture, universal humour, from July 19 to 21 at Salle Claude-Léveillée at Place des Arts.

Free Shows on the Main Stage

Here are some of the biggest shows on the main stage at the Place des Festivals. La Fureur, a grand opening show on July 17; Pedago on July 18; La (presque) 500e de La soirée est (encore) jeune on July 19; Anthony Kavanagh with his Showman on July 20; Juste pour ados on July 21, hosted by Pascal Morrissette; Haïti en folie on July 22, to celebrate the 215th anniversary of the Independence of Haiti; Jérémy Demay’s favourites on July 23; The Grande Veillée, a unifying show and event inspired by Quebec folklore on July 24; Extravaganza with Mado on July 15; Block Party hosted by the collective Aba & Preach on July 26, and La Grande Finale on July 28, the closing show for the 37th edition of Juste pour rire, with humour and music directed by Réal Béland.

Up Close Fun

Free shows and activities will abound at the festival again this year. Here’s a small sample of up close fun: in the Family Zone, La Petite École du rire where young festival-goers will be invited to learn the best way to tell a joke; Samaja, a participative and percussive youth musical show; and on the Place des Festivals, Jimyprod - Atharina and the Puppet (Join the Parade), the meeting of a dancer perched on a giant ball, and a puppet 4 metres tall.
 

JUST FOR LAUGHS

Galas

Just For Laughs continues to attract the biggest names in comedy. Contrary to the French festival, the English side of Montreal’s comedy festival will continue with a gala formula: big shows with multiple performers at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier. Here’s a round up of this year’s galas:
The Jim Jefferies Galas on July 25. Jefferies, named one of the top 5 touring comedians in the world, is hosting two multi-comic galas.
The Wanda Sykes Gala on July 26. Ranked among Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Funniest People in America.
Both Anthony Jeselnik’s and Michael Che’s galas are slated for July 27.
The Jonathan Van Ness Gala on July 28. Multi-comic gala hosted by the Emmy-nominated television personality, podcaster, and hairstylist to the stars.
The Hasan Minhaj Gala on July 26. The first multi-comic gala for this comedian, actor, host, and writer.
The Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala on July 24. Comedic legend Howie Mandel takes the Gala stage for the fifth consecutive time to host a lineup of top comedy stars.

Headliners

Among the dozens of comedy shows presented at JFL:
Trevor Noah - Loud & Clear, July 26 at the Bell Centre. Daily Show host, political commentator, writer and comedic powerhouse.
Hart to Heart, July 27 at the Monument-National. This late addition is the premiere of Hart’s brand new 1:1 interview series: Hart to Heart.
Michael McIntyre’s Big World Tour, July 25 at Théâtre Maisonneuve. This humour phenomenon sold out arenas around the world, including a record 28 times at London’s 16,000 capacity O2 Arena.
Margaret Trudeau: Certain Woman Of An Age, July 25 to 27. International mental health advocate Margaret Trudeau brings her critically-acclaimed, candid conversation to the Gesù stage.
Nick Kroll, July 25, Théâtre Olympia. Actor, writer, producer, and co-creator of the animated series Big Mouth.
Rachel Bloom: What Am I Going To Do With My Life Now? July 22 to 27, at Théâtre Gesù. Golden Globe winner whose show earned a five-star review from The Guardian.
comedy. by blake, July 25 at Théâtre Olympia. NBA All-Star Blake Griffin hosts a show that raises funds for the Team Griffin Foundation.
How Did This Get Made?, July 27 at Théâtre Olympia. The Award-winning podcast with Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael.
Fred Armisen: Comedy for Musicians but Everyone is Welcome, July 27 at Théâtre Olympia. Peabody Award-winning actor and comedian, best recognized as a former cast member of Saturday Night Live.