Just For Laughs has announced the first slate of galas and headlining shows for this summer's annual comedy festival in Montreal (July 2-25), with tickets going on sale March 31. But before you go ahead and make your travel and lodging reservations, too, let me just tell all of the Americans (and Brits, Australians and other English-speaking visitors) that they've done a switcheroo on the usual plan — this summer, the English-speaking shows aren't closing the fest. Instead, they'll be right in the middle, from July 6-18. The televised Galas will take place July 14-18.
And from the initial slate, I can also tell you that Montreal and JFL are throwing their full support behind The Marriage Ref, because the first Gala on July 14 is a special Relationship Gala hosted by Brad Garrett and featuring the show's host, Tom Papa.
Cheech & Chong get a Gala on July 16, there will be a pair of "Late Night Galas" (hmmm) on July 16-17, and the "All-Star Gala" on July 18. As always, the Galas are filmed for broadcast across Canada later, with short sets from a handful of stand-ups and other comedic entertainers from around the globe.
What else? Aziz Ansari, who performed a series of popular black-box theater shows last summer, is back, bringing his "Dangerously Delicious" tour to Montreal for one night only July 15 at Metropolis.
John Pinette will present a new one-man show at Theatre Jean-Duceppe from July 13-17.
The creators of "Mom's The Word," a hit at Montreal in 2001, return with "Mom's The Word 2: Unhinged," at the Centaur Theatre from July 6-18.
As for the club shows. Just as they'll do in Chicago in June, Greg Giraldo will host the Nasty Show, with Jim Norton along for the ride as well as yet-to-be-named stand-ups. Whitney Cummings, meanwhile, will host the Nasty Girls showcases.
Other shows include The Ethnic Show — Ethnical Difficulties, featuring Jo Koy (who got big buzz from Montreal in 2007), the U.K. acts get Britcom, while O'Comics and Late Night Down Under will combine for "Double Threat," featuring extended sets from two comics from Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The Best of the Uptown Comics moves to Club Soda. Also returning for another round at Montreal, Bubbling With Laughter (a grab-bag of stand-ups), Homegrown Comics (Canadians!), The Masters, New Faces, The Alternative Comedy Show hosted by Andy Kindler, and Amp'd — The Music Comedy Show.