The 2009 edition of Montreal's Just For Laughs festival is starting to take shape. Tickets for some shows already are on sale, with the rest available starting May 2 for the 27th annual fest, running July 16-26.
Here's what we know so far…
The Galas: John Cleese hosts a British gala (July 22) with Ross Noble, Jimmy Carr, Mark Watson, Danny Bhoy, Gina Yahsere, Idiots of Ants, and Simon Amstell; Lewis Black (July 23), Whoopi Goldberg (July 24), Martin Short (July 25), and the finale all-star edition features Louis CK, Louie Anderson, Jeff Ross, Caroline Rhea, Robert Schimmel and David Alan Grier (July 26).
The JFL Trifecta: Louis CK reportedly will be the first comedian to perform at all three JFLs this summer, in Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. Of course, this is JFL's first year in Chicago.
One night only: Bill Cosby performs July 25, while Russell Peters plays the Bell Centre arena on July 24.
New for 2009: The fest will launch Chaos Montreal, a spin-off that puts the "New Faces" industry showcase in a new home at the Cabaret Theatre, and also includes the Flying Solo, Amp'd, Alternative shows and a selection from Edinburgh Fringe. We'll find out more in May via the dizzying Chaos Montreal site.
One-person shows: Roberto Benigni (remember him?!) performs his "Tutto Dante" in both French and Italian; Tommy Tiernan does "Eh" (July 22-25); Gregory Charles showcases comedy and music (July 23-25); Judy Gold does "Mommy Queerest"; Elon Gold's "Half Jewish, Half Very Jewish"; and Robert Schimmel's "Cheaters Get Cancer."
Also: Look for multiple performances by Jim Breuer, Aisha Tyler, Kevin Hart, Bobby Slayton, Gerry Dee, Aziz Ansari, Wil Anderson and Dave Hughes, Rhys Darby, Jimeoin, Patrick Kielty, Ed Byrne, and Improvised Shakespeare.
And yes, they will do another two-day industry conference (July 23-24). More information on all of this will be revealed closer to the festival.