Just For Laughs Plans For 2021 Montreal Festival Revealed

As comedy festivals begin planning their comebacks in person this summer and fall, the biggest convention of them all remains in hybrid mode for 2021.

Montreal’s Just For Laughs has released its initial lineup and plans for the end of July, which include showcases and panels not just in Montreal, but also in New York City and Los Angeles, with some of it streaming globally for free from July 26-31, 2021.

Here are the details we know so far…with a fully French-Canadian press release:

In order to adhere to travel restrictions without compromising the quality of Just For Laughs’ world-class programming, the festival has confirmed that in addition to the stellar Canadian stand-up shows offered live in Montréal this summer, for the first time in the festival’s history, stand-up performances featuring all-star American and international comedians will also be taking place in New York City and Los Angeles. All performances including for the first time, the prestigious Just For Laughs Awards Show will be made available to stream online, accessible for free, for anyone who wishes to tune in from the comfort of their own homes.

The 2021 hybrid Just For Laughs Montréal Festival will also feature classic fest highlights like The Nasty Show, The Alternative Show, Comedy Night in Canada presented by SiriusXM Canada in collaboration with Tangerine, and special shows programmed by Laugh Out Loud (LOL!), comedy heavyweight Kevin Hart’s global comedy brand and multi-platform entertainment company.

The renowned industry conference, ComedyPRO, will also return in a 100% digital format this year, with a conference platform powered by BuzzCast. Returning are programming favourites including, the coveted New Faces showcases, Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch presented by Cohen Gardner LLP, Eat My Shorts competition, pitch panels, and more.


The biggest players in comedy join us for a very special virtual celebration at the 2021 Just For Laughs Awards Show! Don’t miss this unfiltered appreciation of the people who shone brightest this year, honoured by the people who know them best … their friends, colleagues, fellow comics, and some special surprise guests.

This year, for the first time in its 13-year history, comedy fans worldwide will be able to watch this industry-insider event online for free. In a year that saw many hardships, JFL and friends pay tribute to these very deserving honorees who made a significant impact in the world of comedy.

We’re so proud of this year’s Award Show as we’re starting to come out of what was a really hard time for our comedy community”, says Bruce Hills, President of Just For Laughs. “We’re honoring comedy storytellers who entertained and inspired us through this challenging past year. We’re thrilled that for the first time, we are able to invite audiences to join us online. It’s going to be a really great celebration.”

Announced today are the first of four of this year’s coveted award recipients:

Dave Chappelle is an award-winning American comedian, screenwriter, television and film producer, and actor is being honoured with the Comedy Person of the Year Award. Recognized as one of the greatest comedians of all time, Chappelle has yet again blazed a new trail in the comedy industry in 2020-2021. In 2019, he was the recipient of the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Chappelle’s work has earned him more than 30 nominations and awards in television and film for projects that include his groundbreaking sketch comedy television series Chappelle’s Show, in which he won the rights back in 2020. In the same year, we saw him return in 2020 to host Saturday Night Live for the second time. He also earned his third and fourth Emmy Awards for his comedy special Sticks & Stones in 2020. Chappelle won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, this marks winning three years in a row, 2018 through 2020. His poignant 8:16 special was released in June 2020 on YouTube and smashed an all-time record for views. In May 2021, Dave Chappelle collaborated with Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey to host their The Midnight Miracle, a thought-provoking podcast that uniquely blends the salon and variety show traditions while providing a glimpse into the inner lives of the hosts; and his new documentary film closed the Tribeca Film Festival, packing Radio City Music Hall, marking its official reopening. It’s indisputable why Chappelle is our Comedy Person of the Year.

Actress, comedian and writer Kristen Wiig and actress, screenwriter, comedian, and producer Annie Mumolo are being honoured with the Comedy Writers of the Year Award for their hilarious comedy hit, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del MarWiig joined the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live in 2005, before appearing in a series of comedy films including Universal Pictures’ Knocked Up and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures’ Adventureland. In 2011, she starred and co-wrote the screenplay for the comedy film Bridesmaids, which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for best actress – musical or comedy, as well as an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Mumolo, who co-wrote Bridesmaids with Wiig, has been seen in Universal Pictures’ This is 40 and STX Entertainment’s Bad Moms.

The writers and cast of Warner Bros. Television’s acclaimed comedy Ted Lasso are being honoured with this year’s Comedy Series of the Year Award. The multi-award-winning series returns for its highly anticipated second season July 23 on Apple TV+, the week of the JFL Awards Show. The show follows American football coach Ted Lasso, who is hired to coach a professional soccer team in England despite having no experience coaching the sport. Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence and co-creator/star Jason Sudeikis will be accepting this JFL Award on behalf of the extraordinary creative team and cast.

Comedian, actor, and writer, Bowen Yang is being honoured with the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award at this year’s JFL Awards. Yang is currently a featured player on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he wrote for one season before moving on-screen. He can also be seen recurring on Comedy Central’s Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens. Yang co-hosts the popular podcast Las Culturistas with comedian Matt Rogers, which has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Splitsider and Time Out New York. As one of the most talked-about comedy sensations of this past year, Yang leaves an indelible mark as a breakout star.

The JFL Awards Show will air online for free at hahaha.com as of Wednesday, July 28.


Comedy Gold Minds with Kevin Hart: Dive into the minds of some of the world’s funniest people with Kevin Hart in his show, Comedy Gold Minds. From rising stars to comedy legends, Kevin pairs with comedic tastemakers for “ear-opening” dialogue that takes listeners on a wild and crazy ride through some of the world’s top comedic minds. From chronicling their comedy club experiences to a sneak peek of their latest material, each episode is packed with punchlines, anecdotes, and inside jokes. Previous guests include Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Steve Harvey, Amy Schumer, Nick Kroll, Hasan Minhaj, and more. This show will air online for free at hahaha.com 

Date Night with Chris & Vanessa: Date Night with Chris & Vanessa invites couples (and sometimes single folks) on a fun date to unpack issues everyone faces in relationships and family life. A cross between Red Table Talk and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (but with far less PG topics), Date Night combines comedy and expert insight to dive deep into the complexities of relationships, as well as newsworthy issues, thought provoking ideas, and comedy with a purpose. Hosted by comedy writer, producer, actor and performer Chris Spencer and casting director, Vanessa SpencerThis show will air online for free at hahaha.com 

Quake’s House with Earthquake: Quake’s House features legendary stand-up comedian, Earthquake, at his most authentic with recurring segments, celebrity guests, and some of the funniest emerging comics around. From hilarious “Mancave” revelations to his on-air Fantasy Football updates and “All Women Wednesdays,” Quake’s signature humor is always on full display. This show will air online for free at hahaha.com 

The Ladies Room with Jazzy: Throughout each episode, online sensation Jasmin “Jazzy” Brown and four of her favorite (and most hilarious) girlfriends — Natalie Friedman, Briana Lawrence, Renita Woodland, and Kiya Roberts — gather to spill tea, kiki, and disagree about every issue under the sun from a fully female perspective where no topic is off-limits and nothing is censored. These are the conversations that women have been dying to share (and men can finally eavesdrop on). Each coming from different walks of life, these five funny women are having the ultimate meeting in The Ladies Room, and you don’t want to miss it!

This show will air online for free at hahaha.com 


Presented by Variety

After a 20+ year career in comedy, including 6 television series, 4 comedy specials, 3 massive fan-driven podcasts and a slew of record-breaking comedy tours, Variety magazine is honoring Bert Kreischer with their highest achievement in comedy. The larger-than-life stand-up comic dubbed “The Machine” for his insatiable appetite for partying, is set to receive Variety’s prestigious “Creative Impact in Comedy Award” on July 27th in recognition of his achievements in comedy over the last two decades and placing him in rare company with fellow comic Chris Rock, the only other comedian to receive such an award.  Furthermore, his ingenuity and innovation in touring, live entertainment and social media marketing has helped him reach new heights during an unprecedented global pandemic. While all indoor venues were closed due to Covid 19, Bert performed 59 shows to sold out crowds on his “Hot Summer Nights Tour” as a socially distanced outdoor spectacle spanning 35+ cities across 18 states to an audience of 80,000+ fans. His star continues to rise as he picks up where he left off pre-quarantine with his Berty Boy Relapse Tour selling out theaters across the country on the back of shooting his first full length feature film entitled THE MACHINE. The film, set up at Legendary Entertainment, is based on his viral true story of accidentally joining the Russian mob as a college student on a class field trip, solidifying his namesake not only for his unrelenting partying but now for his tireless work ethic.

In a special event which will take place in L.A. on Tuesday, July 27at the Hollywood Improv, then air for free online athahaha.com as of Friday, July 30.


Presented by SiriusXM Canada in collaboration with Tangerine

Just For Laughs is live in Montréal, hosted by Canadian writer, actor and comedian, Jon Dore. Dore has appeared on many series from CTV Comedy Channel The Jon Dore Show, Crave’s The Stand up Show with Jon Dore, CBS’ The Half of It, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, and recently co-wrote and starred in CBC’s Humour Resources. Dore is joined by Jen Grant, Nigel Grinstead, Cassie Cao, Marito Lopez, Rodney Ramsey, and more.This show will be performed in front of a live audience in Montreal and then aired for free online at hahaha.com as of Friday, July 30.


Just For Laughs is live in Los Angeles with host Sabrina Jalees, Canadian comedian, actor, producer, and story editor. Jalees starred in CBS’ Carol’s Second Act, and is a writer and consulting producer on Netflix’s Big Mouth and upcoming spin-off, Human Resources. Jalees hosts this series, alongside an all-star lineup of festival favourites, featuring Maz Jobrani, Gina Yashere, Alonzo Bodden, Jeremy Hotz, Liza Treyger, and Rachel Feinstein! This show will be performed in front of a live audience in L.A. and then aired for free online at hahaha.com as of Thursday, July 29.


Just For Laughs is live in New York with host Dulcé Sloan, stand-up comedian, actress, writer and correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central. Dulcé hits the Just For Laughs stage joined by an amazing lineup of JFL alums, including Todd Barry, Michael Kosta, Marina Franklin, and more! This show will be performed in front of a live audience in N.Y. and then aired for free online at hahaha.com as of Wednesday, July 28,


The Nasty Show is back and will hands-down be the filthiest, most shocking and taboo show of the festival. This iconic JFL brand pushes the boundaries and encourages audiences to check their political correctness at the door… let go and laugh! Prepare yourself for a special edition of one of the festival’s longest-running shows, shot live from New York! Hosted by Big Jay Oakerson, dubbed “Master of the Dirty Joke” by the New York Times and co-host of The Bonfire with Big Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder on SiriusXM, this year’s The Nasty Show will also feature Donnell Rawlings, Rosebud Baker, Robert Kelly, Yamaneika Saunders, Paris Sashay, and more! This show will be performed in front of a live audience in N.Y. and then aired for free online at hahaha.com as of Wednesday, July 28.


The quintessential comic’s comic takes you off the beaten path of mainstream comedy and into the chaotic wilderness. Hosted by Andy Kindler, who currently recurs on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers and Comedy Central’s Tosh.O, this year’s special LA edition will also feature Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, Laurie Kilmartin and more still to be announced! This show will be performed in front of a live audience in L.A. and then aired for free online at hahaha.com as of Thursday, July 29.


Presented by SiriusXM Canada in collaboration with Tangerine

Hosted by Canadian comedian, actor, and host of CBC’s hit stand-up comedy show, Laugh Out Loud, Ali Hassan will take a hilarious look at what it means to be Canadian as Comedy Night in Canada welcomes top comedians from coast to coast! These comedians may eat ketchup chips and poutine, use the metric system, and spell colour with a “u” but they all speak the universal language of funny! The lineup will include Canadian comedians, Arthur Simeon, Kyle Brownrigg, Brittany Lyseng, Derek SeguinCourtney Gilmour, and more! This show will be performed in front of a live audience in Montreal and then aired for free online at hahaha.com as of Friday, July 30.


New Faces has been an unmissable part of the Just For Laughs MONTRÉAL since 1996, where the freshest comedians in the game gear up to take the microphone and change the face of comedy. Past cohorts have included Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, Ali Wong, Mike Birbiglia, Jo Koy, Hannibal Burress, Nikki Glaser, Hasan Minhaj, The Lucas Brothers, Fortune Feimster, Michelle Wolf, and so many more. 

The discoverability of this series is what makes these showcases so sought after, and despite all of the global challenges faced this year, JFL is committed to finding new rising talent.

The 2021 cohort will be announced on Monday, July 26. For the first time ever, this year’s New Faces shows will take place live and online, in Montreal and Los Angeles. 


Come see the genuinely thrilling moment a young comedian steps up and becomes a star! Hosted by comedian, actor, writer, producer, and podcaster, Pete Holmes, creator and executive producer of HBO’s comedy-drama Crashing. Drawing on his own experience as alumni of the 2009 cohort, Holmes returns to be the master of ceremonies for this year’s series.

New Faces shows will be filmed for a live audience in L.A. and will be available to view online with the purchase of a ComedyPRO pass.


Catch the best new solo sketch comics before your only option is to see them “Live, from New York…” New Faces shows will be filmed for a live audience in LA and will be available to view online with the purchase of a ComedyPRO pass.


Presented by SiriusXM Canada in collaboration with Tangerine

Come see the freshest Canadian comedians in the game gear up to take the microphone and change the face of comedy. Hosted by Juno-award winning comedian and actor, Dave Merheje, who currently stars on Hulu’s Ramy. New Faces shows will be filmed for a live audience in Montreal and will be available to view online with the purchase of a ComedyPRO pass.


Crave and CTV Comedy is returning to Just For Laughs this summer to tape a handful of brand new, original comedy specials, in the Canadian city that does comedy best. These stand-up specials, filmed in front of a live audience in Montreal this summer, will feature some of the country’s best working comedians right now, and will launch on Crave and CTV Comedy at a later date.

Taping at this year’s festival, includes Dave Merheje (Juno Award winning comedian, star on HBO’s Ramy), DeAnne Smith (Canadian Comedy Award winner, Netflix comedy special Gentleman Elf), Chris Robinson (winner of SiriusXM’s Top Comic competition in 2016), Sophie Buddle (Juno Award winning comedian, can be seen on CBC’s This Hour has 22 Minutes, and Humour Resources), Paul Rabliauskas (CBC’s The New Wave of Stand Up), Kyle Brownrigg (named ‘Best Breakout Artist’ at the 2019 Canadian Comedy Awards, JFL42 New Face), and Chris Locke (award winning stand-up comedian, can be seen on CBC’s Baroness Von Sketch Show, Workin’ Moms, Mr. D, and Tallboyz).

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.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →