Howie Mandel’s Just For Laughs with ICM announces full 2018 lineup

Howie Mandel showed up to join Just For Laughs COO Bruce Hills and the new team running the show at JFL (which includes Mandel and powerhouse agency ICM) to announce the full details for Montreal’s Just For Laughs fest this coming July.

Among the new notable items:

The Keynote Address returns after a year’s absence. For 2018, Kenya Barris has the honors of telling comedians and the industry what’s what. Barris, creator of ABC’s black-ish, now has a spin-off on Freeform, grown-ish, as well as another new Freeform series just ordered (Besties) plus a Shaft reboot to head up. Barris will deliver his keynote at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, 2018.

That’ll be followed by Anthony Atamanuik’s Make Canada America Again! The Trump Rally: 3:45 p.m. Thursday, in the Grand Salon Opera, at the Hyatt Regency Montreal.

The day before, JFL also is doubling-up on another keynote just to make sure the Canadian side of comedy show business is represented — as Mark Forward and Rebecca Kohler will present their “Oh Comedy! A Canadian Perspective” address. That’ll happen at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 25.

And Andy Kindler once again will deliver his annual State of the Industry that Friday.

All of these events happen as part of the JFL ComedyPro conference in the Hyatt Regency Montreal, ground zero HQ for all of the comedians and conferences during the festival’s final week.

As for other events announced yesterday…

Festival favorite, Howie Mandel, is returning for the fourth consecutive year to host the popular gala with a lineup of top comedic stars. Winning over audiences for over 30 years in the business, Mandel continues to push the creative boundaries of the entertainment industry. Join Howie Mandel for one night only as he hosts The Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala, taking place on Thursday, July 26 at 6:30pm, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts.

There’s never a dull moment when Ken Jeong is performing, whether it’s on the big screen, the small screen or live on stage. This year, Jeong will be hosting his own multi-comic Gala. Best known for his role as Mr. Chow in the movie The Hangover, Dr. Kuni in Knocked Up, and Prof. Chang in Community and the upcoming summer film, Crazy Rich Asians, Jeong is notorious for picking roles that steal the scene. See him host The Ken Jeong Gala on Thursday, July 26 at 9:45pm, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts.

Additional Galas will be announced in the coming weeks.


Russell Peters returns to Montreal this summer with his “Deported World Tour” show. It’s all new material including plenty of Peters’ own signature interactions with the audience. He will hit the Just For Laughs stage on Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27 at 7:00pm, at Maison Symphonique.

David Cross “Oh Come On”, one night only performance on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00pm, at L’Olympia.

One of today’s leading comedians, Iliza, is bringing her new comedy show, Iliza: Elder Millennial, to Montreal this summer! liza’s one-night only performance at Just For Laughs is not to be missed! Iliza: Elder Millennial will take place on Friday, July 27 at 9:30pm, at L’Olympia. 

Stand-up comedian, actress, voice actress and writer, Maria Bamford, is returning to the Just For Laughs festival with her unforgettable new show. She is performing one night only Friday, July 27 at 7:00pm, at MTELUS.

Canadian comic, Tom Green, is coming to Just For Laughs this summer to perform, Tom Green: One Night Only! Don’t miss the chance to see him live Wednesday, July 25 at 9:30pm, at the Maison Theatre.

Award-winning comedian, Dylan Moran, will be bringing his new show, Dylan Moran- Grumbling Mustard. Catch one of only two performances, on Thursday, July 26 and Saturday, July 28 at 7:00pm, at the Maison Theatre.

Roy Wood Jr. will entertain Just For Laughs audiences with his solo show, taking place Friday, July 27 at 9:30pm, at Cinquième Salle.

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby has created a truly global phenomenon with her masterpiece, Nanette, which earned her Australia’s most prestigious comedy award ‘The Barry’ for Best Show at the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, as well was the world’s biggest prize for live comedy, the Best Comedy Show award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2018, Nanette will be released on Netflix worldwide, and her visit to Montreal for Just for Laughs will be the last time Hannah performs Nanette on the stage: Thursday, July 26, at 9:30 pm, at the Maison Theatre. 18+

Comedian Doug Benson, as seen on @midnight, Trailer Park Boys, and Super High Me, brings his Comedy Central hit The Benson Interruption to the festival. This is a unique show where Benson invites his special guests to do stand-up, but stays on stage and interrupts whenever he feels like it. The Interruption will be back at the festival for one night only on Thursday, July 26 at 9:30pm, at Cinquième Salle in the Place des Arts.

Additional solo shows will be announced in the coming weeks.

Just For Laughs Festival is excited to introduce a premium new comedy series, The Stand Up Show with Katherine Ryan, which will filmed for The Comedy Network. Join our provocative and stylish host along with a roster of cutting edge talent as they perform their very best material on Wednesday, July 25 to Friday, July 27, at 7:00pm and 10:00pm, at L’Astral


The star of the Crave TV hit series, Letterkenny, K. Trevor Wilson returns to Just For Laughs this summer to host a celebration of Canadian comics and stand-up comedy in this year’s 20th edition of Homegrown Comics. A great Canadian comedy superstar himself, Wilson is the perfect guide to the brightest new comics specially chosen from coast to coast of The Great White North. Don’t miss your chance to root for the home team at JFL this year when Homegrown Comics will be taped for a future broadcast on The Comedy Network. Come watch the taping when it takes place on Saturday, July 28at 9:00pm, at L’Astral.

Just For Laughs’ New Faces is all about giving big breaks to the next big comedy superstars just like it did for Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, Ali Wong and Hannibal Buress, to name a few. You don’t want to miss the moment when a fresh new comic breaks the barrier and becomes a household name when they take the stage at salle Ludger-Duvernay at Monument-National with our New Faces showcases on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00pm and 9:30pm, and with New Faces: Characters and New Faces: Unrepped showcases on Thursday July 26 at 7:00pm and 9:30pm respectively.

After its successful launch last year, New Faces: Creators returns. A showcase of the up-and-coming influencers, New Faces: Creators shows us the creators who, through digital content creation, are contributing to the evolution of the comedy industry. The festival is excited to have comedian and host of the wildly popular global-hit HQ Trivia, Scott Rogowsky host this show when it takes place Thursday, July 26 at 12:30pm, in the Grand Salon Opera at the Hyatt Regency Montreal.

With so many brilliant comics at Just For Laughs, sometimes it’s hard to make a list of who to see. If that’s your biggest problem then Variety’s “10 Comics To Watch” is for you. Recognizing a wide range of talent in stand-up, sketch and web content, this show exposes audiences to the artists making the biggest impact on comedy this year. Get your tickets now and see who made the list for 2018 on Friday, July 27 at 9:30pm, at salle Ludger-Duvernay at Monument-National.

Who needs an invite to the Royal Wedding this summer when you can rub elbows with British Comedy Royalty right here in Montreal with TheBrit(ish) Show. Hosted by Nish Kumar, and featuring Paul Chowdhry, Joel Dommett, Sara Pascoe, Ed Gamble and Lauren Pattison, this show will have you laughing so hard you might lose your bangers and mash! Bring your best mate and have a gander at the best comedians the UK has to offer and leave gobsmacked on Wednesday, July 25th and Friday, July 27 at 7:00pm, at the Maison Theatre.


Some of the comics you’ll catch this year include comedian-actor, and one of the favourites from NBC’s 30 Rock Judah Friedlander; Canada’s own comedian-actress Sabrina Jalees, who guest- starred on Amazon’s Transparent; Saturday Night Live cast member Melissa Villaseñor; unfiltered comedian Godfrey in his Yea…I Said It… show; 20-year vet and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert regular Tom Papa; and Life In Pieces actor-comedian Nick Thune pairs up with The Good Fight’s Michael Ian Black for their co-headlining show.

This series will also feature comedians Aparna Nancherla, Todd Glass, Neal Brennan in his “Here We Go” tour, Chris Gethard, Fortune Feimster, Gary Gulman, Mike WardBig Jay Oakerson, “What’s Your F@#king Deal” and countless others that bring their comedy A game to the stage.

And if you’re still waiting for it… back by popular demand, the festival has lined up fan favourites: Fest At The Nest, Midnight Surprise, Hosts with the MostBest of The Fest and the ever so popular, The Alternative Show hosted by Andy Kindler.


From the serious side of humour to the humorous side of murder, podcasts have become just as popular to listen to during a long drive, a walk or a workout as music ever was. To the luck of audiences worldwide, comedians have cornered the market with eclectic concepts and uncensored conversations that are reshaping how we view the world around us, all from our earbuds. JFL brings some of the most popular and relevant  podcasts to the festival this year to record LIVE, such as Doug Loves Movies with Doug Benson, Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People with Chris Gethard, the Watch What Crappens Podcast with hosts Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam, The Todd Glass Show, About Last Night Podcasthosted by Brad Williams and Adam Ray, You Know What Dude! with Robert Kelly, Good One: A Podcast About Jokes hosted by Vulture’s Jesse David Fox as well as Industry Standard w/ Barry Katz, and Chosen Family hosted by Tranna Wintour and Thomas Leblanc.

The Ethnic Show, returning for its 10th Edition, brings some of the world’s most brilliant comedians from different cultures and backgrounds to the center stage. This year’s master of ceremonies Maz Jobrani, will be joined by comedians Gina Brillon, Francisco Ramos, Matteo Lane, Arthur Simeon, and with special guest, Orny Adams. 16 performances take place at Club Soda, from Wednesday, July 11 – Sunday, July 22; and 3 more Tuesday, July 24 – Thursday, July 26 at 7:00 pm, at MTELUS. 

The Nasty Show, the show your parents warned you about, returns with a masterful line-up of daring standup comics guaranteed to push the boundaries of what’s appropriate to joke about. Hosted by Robert Kelly, whose honest, abrasively funny, yet refreshingly vulnerable take on life has been winning over audiences for years, the lineup also includes Brad Williams, Nikki Glaser, Mike Britt, Ms. Pat and Derek Seguin. This uncensored show not for the faint of heart runs Wednesday, July 18 – Saturday, July 21; and Tuesday July 24 – Saturday July 28, at 9:30 pm, at MTELUS.

More to come…

Pre-sale tickets available now, and to the general public Friday, May 18, 2018 at 10:00 am at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival runs from July 11-29, 2018 in Montréal, Canada.


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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