Just For Laughs Cancels JFL42 for 2020; Can Montreal Be Far Behind?

This shouldn’t shock anyone in 2020, but Just For Laughs pulled the plug on this fall’s JFL42 festival in Toronto.

JFL announced the news Tuesday. Instead of taking place from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3, 2020, the ninth edition of Toronto’s JFL42 comedy festival will take place Sept. 23 – Oct. 3, 2021.

“Due to the many impacts and unpredictable nature of COVID-19, and the amount of planning that goes into organizing this festival in advance, the current situation and conditions leave us no alternative as we are increasingly getting closer to the planned dates”, organizers said. “We had hoped for a different outcome and are so disappointed that we are all subject to this extraordinary context. While we are not moving forward with the festival in its current format, we believe that 2020 demands a new plan for us to continue to entertain and bring laughter during these unprecedented times. We are currently working on these new plans and will have an exciting announcement to share in the coming weeks.”

Tickets already purchased for Trevor Noah’s planned show in October 2020 will remain valid for 2021.

“For now, the health and safety of our audiences, artists, partners, and staff is our primary driver in this situation. We will be back in a big way in 2021 with exciting plans to expand the festival for the people of Toronto, and for the comedy fans and industry who travel to join us every September.”

JFL somehow hasn’t made the similar announcement for its larger, older and more prestigious comedy convention, Juste Pour Rire aka Just For Laughs Montreal. Montreal’s JFL brings together comedians and comedy industry folks from around the world every July, representing the single biggest celebration of and deal-making week in this corner of show business annually during the final week of July. Back in April, JFL announced it had postponed this year’s Montreal confab to the fall. Specifically, Sept. 29 to Oct. 11, 2020. “We are energized by the ability of our teams to adapt to current conditions and present a festival redesigned in its form and content as early as the fall,” said Charles Décarie, President and CEO of the Just for Laughs Group, on April 3. “If the situation permits, we will resume work in the interim and thus be able to play an important role in reviving the cultural sector, but also in the social healing that we all need.”

Certainly by now we can settle on the idea that nobody from Hollywood, New York City or elsewhere is flying into Montreal in September, right?

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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