Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival is leaning in more to its Canadian roots in 2019

Last week, the folks at JFL (Just For Laughs) announced a slew of additional headliners for the annual comedy celebration that takes place each July in Montreal.

They included Wanda Sykes, Blake Griffin, Nick Kroll, Fred Armisen, Ronny Chieng, Steve-O, and the return of Jeff Ross’s The Roastmaster’s Invitational, all of whom are joining previously announced headliners Adam Sandler, Aziz Ansari, Trevor Noah, Jim Jefferies, Jonathan Van Ness, Howie Mandel, Hasan Minhaj, and Rachel Bloom at JFL for 2019.

But the real news here is how JFL is carving out more space this year for homegrown talent from Canada. Especially after hearing from Canadian artists when JFL took over the SiriusXM Canada comedy channel.

To wit:

Margaret Trudeau, the mother of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian icon and international mental health advocate will present a one-woman show at JFL called Certain Woman of an Age. In this show, still in development via The Second City, Trudeau will dish on her own wild child days, as well as days and nights in isolation as the prime minister’s wife, and then her own experiences with mental illness. Her show gets a three-night run July 25-27 at Gesù.

She The Peoplea sketch show from the women of Second City Toronto which won the Helen Hayes Award this month in D.C. for Outstanding Visiting Production, plays the Centaur Theatre from July 22-27.

Shaun Majumder, a regular on CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes for 17 years, brings his new “HATE” tour to Cinquième Salle at Place des Arts on July 27.

Comedy Night in Canada welcomes top comedians from across our home and native land on July 24 at Club Soda.

Canadian natives are added to both long-running themed showcases, The Ethnic Show and The Nasty Show. Robby Hoffman, who filmed a stand-up special for Canada’s Crave streaming platform, joins The Ethnic Show, while Bonnie McFarlane performs with the crew on The Nasty Show. Both of those showcases run for multiple weeks.

Speaking of Crave, the platform will tape four specials at JFL, including new hours by Aisha Brown and Graham Kay, with two additional comics to be announced in the coming weeks. Brown has performed on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network and The Comedy Network’s All Access Special, as well as written and performed on IFC’s Baroness Von Sketch, CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes and CTV’s The Beaverton. Kay’s credits include Much Music’s Video On Trial, as well as a writer for the popular CTV sitcom Spun Out starring Dave Foley.  Their specials will be taped in front of a live audience on July 22-23 at L’Astral.

Jon Dore will host The Stand-Up Show, presented by Canada’s The Comedy Network, filmed from July 25-27, 2019 at L’Astral.

For the second straight year, there’s a Canadian version of a combined keynote/state of the industry…Mark Forward (LetterKenny, Fargo, Cupcake and Dino) and Courtney Gilmour (The Beaverton, CBC’s The Debaters). will present “Oh Comedy!” A Canadian Perspective on July 24 in the DoubleTree By Hilton Montreal.

NOTE: It’s the same hotel HQ as the past dozen or so years, as the Hyatt has merely rebranded as a DoubleTree by Hilton now. DOUBLE NOTE: So maybe no more labor strikes during the festival?!?

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, there’s now a New Faces Canada showcase.

Yes, that’s right. Brand new for 2019, New Faces: Canada will be making its festival debut this year. That showcase takes place on July 26 at Salle Ludger-Duvernay at Monument-National.

Montreal’s Just For Laughs runs this year from July 10-28, 2019. The vast majority of panels, conferences, podcasts, showcases and parties happen the final Wednesday-Saturday, or July 24-27.

Don’t forget your passport!

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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