Who books that?
It’s an oft-posed question whenever your comedian friend lands a huge opportunity, and among the best stand-up gigs in the show business these days are a Netflix special and a slot in Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival. Both of those places now have new bookers in charge, so please congratulate them both, but don’t be so eager about it to ask them for hours, New Faces or anything in between today.
Robbie Praw has left Just For Laughs to program stand-up comedy specials and more for Netflix. Praw joined JFL 12 years ago as a production assistant and rose up the ranks to become vice president in charge of all festival programming. He also rebranded the Toronto edition each September as JFL42, and helped forge new/revised JFLs in Sydney, Chicago and now Vancouver, in addition to the annual industry confab each July in Montreal.
Robyn Kaszor, who started with JFL in 2005 and assisted Praw with festival programming, received the promotion to replace him. Kaszor’s team of bookers includes Paul Ronca, Nick Brazao and Zoe Rabnett, plus other consultants such as Jeff Singer and Hannah Kyle Crichton, who have been conducting 2016 New Faces auditions this week in New York City.
Kaszor, meanwhile, was in Austin this past week scouting talent at SXSW.
Coincidence or not, seven of the eight comedians featured in the new Netflix showcase series, The Characters, have performed as New Faces at Montreal over the past few years.
“It’s obviously a loss for us, but it’s a huge gain for him personally, and we have to be thrilled that Netflix reached out to Robbie for such an important job,” JFL COO Bruce Hills told The Montreal Gazette about Praw’s departure. “I’m only proud for him, because he’s perfect for the job. I’m glad Netflix was smart enough to realize that the best guy for the job was living in Montreal. It not only says so much for Robbie but also for the type of individual that Just for Laughs can bring to the forefront of the business. We’ve got a record of fantastic people coming out of this event and taking on great roles in Hollywood. Producing executives for Hollywood will go a long way for our recruiting the future generation of players in the business.”
Welcome to Hollywood, Robbie Praw!