It's only a week before Just For Laughs kicks off its first Chicago fest, so what's going to happen later this summer for the "biggie" in Montreal? Good question.
How about answers? Hmmm. For starters, Just For Laughs is spinning off some of its shows for something called Zoofest, which so far, is more confusing than remembering that the first half of the Montreal fest is for the Francophones (wait 'til the final week for the English-language shows). So, how is Zoofest different from Just For Laughs? For one thing, it's Macromedia Flashier. For another, it's taking some of the shows you knew from JFL Montreal and putting them somewhere else in Montreal. Here's a quote from JFL's Bruce Hills: ‚ÄúJust For Laughs is thrilled to launch an international program of cutting edge shows as part of the Inaugural Zoofest. We hope to challenge audiences with unique and innovative bookings; reinforcing Montreal as the top place in the world to discover untapped talent.‚Äù
That means New Faces will be in Zoofest, along with Canada's Homegrown Comic Competition, the "Flying Solo" series, the Alternative Comedy Show, Amp'd (the musical comedy show), and the Sketch show. Flying solo with one-person showcases in Montreal: Aziz Ansari, Kate Micucci, Marc Maron, Improvised Shakespeare, and Nikki Payne (and from the U.K., Ross Noble, Simon Amstell, Gina Yashere, and Mark Watson). Also new to Montreal, the Upright Citizens Brigade will bring some of its popular regular shows (such as ASSSSCAT, Facebook, The Hills) north across the border. So there's that to look forward to.
Of course, if you were to look at the official schedule for JFL Montreal 2009, you would not see those shows listed there. Because they're part of Zoofest. Which is different. JFL Montreal 2009 includes one-night-only performances by Bill Cosby and Louis CK, galas featuring Lewis Black, John Cleese and Whoopi Goldberg, and runs by Tommy Tiernan, Elon Gold, Judy Gold, Robert Schimmel and Russell Peters. Plus the non-Zoofest themed stand-up showcases.