HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD AT “JUST FOR LAUGHS” FESTIVAL

JUST FOR LAUGHS’ 26th EDITION WAS A SERIOUSLY STAR-STUDDED AFFAIR

MONTREAL (RUSHPRNEWS) July 24, 2008 – You asked for star power and you got it! Hollywood heavyweights, A-list directors, internationally-renowned comedy stars and industry executives all converged on Montreal this summer for the 26th edition of the Just For Laughs Festival presented by Vidéotron. Along the way legends were created and deals were made as we displayed why we’re still the world’s largest and most influential comedy event. Read on to discover some of the incredible highlights from this year’s Festival.


Hottest Shows of the Summer
• Temperatures weren’t the only thing on the rise this summer. Ticket sales were also way up as JFL reached the 100,000 ticket milestone more than two weeks before the Festival even began. With 78 shows (English and French shows combined) presented to over 230,000 spectators indoors, the 26th edition of the Festival pulled in approximately 10 million dollars.

• Our most requested show of the summer, Apatow for Destruction had fans lining up around the block to witness the star power of producer Judd Apatow and big screen stars Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Russell Brand and Bill Hader. Adding to the fun were performance artist Charlyne Yi and rocking musical act Million Dollar Strong. Judd Apatow was an omnipresent force at the Festival, showing up to perform on more than seven different club shows including Bubbling with Laughter, The Ethnic Heroes of Comedy and AMP’D.

• Emmy Award-winners Matt Stone and Trey Parker descended upon Montreal for South Park Live, a no-holds-barred look inside their groundbreaking program South Park. The pair had fans howling during both sold-out shows with scatological songs and a montage of hilarious clips from the hit series, created exclusively for the Festival.

• Bohemian British superstar Russell Brand continued his hot streak with an incredible string of intimate, sold-out solo shows.

• American comedian Mike Birbiglia, Canadian superstar Jeremy Hotz, Aussie cutup Brendon Burns and The French Comedy Bastards had media and audiences clamouring for tickets, leading Just For Laughs to add additional shows to satisfy the high demand.

• Aussie comedian Brendon Burns packed in crowds night after night for his deliciously shocking Flying Solo show So I Suppose This Is Offensive Now, earning nightly standing ovations. Nasty Girls and The Ethnic Heroes of Comedy both sold-out, as they made their highly anticipated debuts in our incredible Club Series.

• Improvisational geniuses Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops drew rave reviews as they performed their gut-busting, off-the-cuff sold-out show Stiles & Proops: Unplanned, for the first time ever in North America.

• Returning spectacles like Slava’s Snowshow, part of the Prestige Series presented by Laurentian Bank, also continued to impress, earning a blizzard of praise from media outlets like ET Canada who referred to the otherworldy production as “breathtaking and beautiful.”

• The charming Tom Papa presented his solo show Only Human at the Gesu and received great fan response including nightly standing ovation and encores.

Breakout Performances

• Patrice Oneal earned great buzz as he starred in The Nasty Show, Best of the Uptown Comics, a Videotron Just For Laughs Gala and his solo show, Positivity, a righteous look at his incident-crowded life.

• Craig Robinson and his band had audiences grooving ‘till the wee hours of the morning on AMP’D. Highlights included a memorable Hall and Oates duet with Judd Apatow, killer performances by Million Dollar Strong, 17-year-old sensation Bo Burnham and Montreal internet sensation, Jon Lajoie.

• Hot and “fluffy” Latino comic Gabriel Iglesias and Tonight Show veteran Elon Gold had crowds roaring with laughter on The Ethnic Heroes of Comedy

• Obie Award-winning actor Danny Hoch had audiences and critics eating out of the palm of his hand as he brought nine distinct characters to life in his spectacular solo show, Taking Over.

• Congrats go out to Homegrown Comic Competition winner, Tyler Hawkins of Edmonton, who beat out eight other Canadian comics to take home the gold as the best new comedic talent in Canada. Hawkins and runner-up Phil Hanley earned the opportunity to perform three extra Festival spots each at Comedy Night in Canada and in the Best of Homegrown 2008 show at the Just For Laughs Toronto Festival.

• Brendon Walsh, Nate Bargatze, TuRae, Mo Mandel, Sean Patton and Trevor Boris gave their careers a boost at New Faces as industry once again flocked to take in four shows over four nights… all in search of comedy’s next superstar. Over at Masters stand-out performances were given by: Billy Gardell, Henry Philiips and Hal Sparks.

• The Videotron Just For Laughs Galas brought in some of comedy’s top names including hosts: Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin and Jimmy Fallon who all gave unforgettable performances at The St. Denis Theatre. Stand-out Gala acts included: Tom Papa, Law & Order-obsessed comedian John Mulaney, Aussie musical act Tripod, Brit wit Matt Kirshen, Gabriel Iglesias, Patrice Oneal and Greg Giraldo. Sunday’s final All Star Gala featured killer sets by Ron White, George Wallace, Ron James and Jeremy Hotz.

• Laugh-rodisiacs line-up featured veteran host Greg Behrendt and stand-out stand-up Billy Gardel. Anne Sutherland of The Montreal Gazette called the relationship-themed extravaganza “the best club show I have seen in more than a decade of covering Just For Laughs.”

• Audiences applauded the fine performances given by Sketch Show hosts: Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live and Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk.

Memorable Moments:

• Knocked Up star Seth Rogen positively killed as he performed stand up for only the second time in 10 years at Apatow of Destruction.

• Gala host Kathy Griffin, Space Chimps director Kirk De Micco and filmmakers Ivan and Jason Reitman were among the celebrities who showed up to watch South Park Live.

• Gala host Craig Ferguson and Margaret Trudeau delighted fans as they made special surprise appearances on Stiles & Proops: Unplanned, the improv show where everything can – and did – happen.

• Montreal Internet sensation Jon Lajoie received the rock star treatment on AMP’D as fans sang along to every one of his songs, reciting the lines by heart. Dozens of comedians and Hollywood stars also turned up to rock out until 2:30 am.

• Festival favorite Andy Kindler packed the room again at his annual State of the Industry Address.
Just For Laughs Film Festival presented by Visa®
• Now in its 12th year, the newly branded Just For Laughs Film Festival brought in more Hollywood A-listers than ever before not to mention record breaking box office dollars. Film fans were treated to a stellar line-up of stars such as: Judd Apatow (Pineapple Express), Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express) Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express), Danny McBride (Pineapple Express), Evan Golberg (Pineapple Express), William H. Macy (The Deal), Jay Baruchel (Just Buried) Rose Byrne (Just Buried), Trey Parker (South Park), Matt Stone (South Park), Spencer Rice (Confessions of a Porn Addict), Kenny Hotz (Kenny vs. Spenny), Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps), Dany Boon (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis), Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) and Jason Reitman (Juno).

• Star power was also clearly on display in the Festival’s fabulous shorts films, with brilliant contributions from Bill Murray, Kate Hudson, Dakota Fanning, David Arquette, Quentin Tarantino, Lars Von Trier, Jenna Elfman, Kenny Hotz of the sold-out Kenny vs. Spenny and Montreal Internet sensation Jon Lajoie.

• Highlights included red carpet appearances by producer Judd Apatow, stars Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and writer Evan Golberg, all of whom were swarmed by fans at the premier of their new film Pineapple Express, which sold-out the 800 seat Visa Screening Room at the Imperial Theatre.

• Academy Award-nominated actor William H. Macy and producer Michael Prupas engaged in a lively Q&A session following the premiere of their film The Deal.

• Director Chaz Thorne and actors Rose Byrne and Jay Baruchel had fans giggling as they shared stories from the set of their film, Just Buried.

• Director, writer and star Dany Boon regaled the sold out crowd at the Imperial Theatre with his hilarious tales of filmmaking before and after the screening of his hit movie Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis

• More than a dozen local filmmakers attended their films’ screenings at the Monument-National for Tout Court Québec.

• 24 filmmakers from the U.S. and the rest of Canada came to see their films screened in Eat My Shorts and Eat My Twisted Shorts and to enjoy specially arranged filmmaker access to seminars given by Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman and Edgar Wright as part of Just Comedy.

Just For Laughs Television
• Top-rated Australian broadcaster, Network Ten, signed on again for a co-production license and will take the energy of the Festival back to their television audiences.

• Aussie comedy fans can also experience the excitement of the Festival on The Comedy Channel, which agreed to air a number of stand-up series and specials on a dedicated Just For Laughs Friday night timeslot.

• Closer to home, The Movie Network and Movie Central signed on to broadcast a Nasty Show special, thereby bringing our fastest selling show to the airwaves for the very first time.

• CTV stepped up to the plate by acquiring a one-hour stand-up special starring Canadian cut-up Jeremy Hotz that was filmed live at the Imperial Theatre on Friday, July 18.

• Just For Laughs will continue to produce its TV specials for the CBC in January, 2009 for eight one-hour episodes and a special “Best Of” compilation.

• Juste pour rire will also continue to produce TV specials in French for TVA in Quebec and France 2 in France. Just For Laughs and Juste pour rire television shows are currently seen in 139 countries and on 97 airlines worldwide.

• Just For Laughs picked up the U.S. rights for the animation series Tripping The Rift and the international rights for Joke-E-Oke, a hilarious karaoke-like competition in which regular audience members attempt to perform the routines of the world’s most popular comedians.

Street Arts
• The outdoor site was once again a huge success bringing in 2 million people over the course of 11 days. Over 350 artists from 10 countries presented 1200 shows.

• The Carnival – Le Grand Charivarir, presented in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan and La Presse, paid tribute to Quebec’s seasons with a larger than life procession of wandering forests, lakes and icebergs, all waving to the songs of Quebec with a choir and the percussion of Samajam. The parade also included fireworks, a giant kiss between Victor and Rose and stellar percussionists, Trans Express. This stunning visual spectacle, dowsed completely in white celebrated the new intersection of Pine avenue and Parc.

• Perennial favourites like the Twins Parade, a Loto Québec event, continued to delight crowds of all ages.

• The Loto Québec Grand Événement was France’s critically acclaimed Oposito troupe entertained appreciative crowds with Toro, a surreal bull fight set in the streets of Montreal.

Juste pour rire
• Comedie Francaise’s irresistible Malade imaginarie presented by Jacob’s Creek was a huge fan favourite bringing together the audience with collective enthusiasm.

• All eight French Galas were sold out. Jean Marc Parent in particular was in such high demand that his Gala was transformed into an Evenement JMP. It shattered the projected attendance expectations.

• Maboul defied the laws of gravity and will be traveling around the world with its exquisite artists.

• Juste pour rire en direct brought in the highest ratings to date with a peak of 450,000 spectators.

Industry
• The Festival brought in approximately 1,000 industry members, over 400 of whom attended the Just Comedy Conference. The buzz-worthy event was attended by some of the biggest players in comedy including representatives from the genres of feature film, television, digital media, mobile and live entertainment. Among the top industry executives on hand were: manager Jimmy Miller, who represents such superstars as Will Ferrell, Sasha Baron Cohen and Jim Carrey; Ben Stiller’s movie-producing partner Stuart Cornfeld, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz Director Edgar Wright, Senior VP Production at Sony Pictures, Jonathan Kadin and President of HBO Entertainment, Sue Naegle.

• Just For Laughs kicked off its inaugural industry conference, Just Comedy, by honoring Judd Apatow as Comedy Person of the Year. The event also featured a hilarious and heartfelt tribute by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader followed by an uproarious video montage of Apatow’s career presented by Craig Robinson.

• Other noteworthy events included the touching Reitman on Reitman, an emotional, unbridled and uncensored conversation with father and son feature-film-making duo Ivan and Jason Reitman; Marketing in the Digital Space; Women in Comedy; Face to Face: Speed Dating for Producers with Broadcasters and Agents, Spotlight on Comedy Showrunners as well as a conference on filmmaking with two of Hollywood’s hottest young directors, Jason Reitman and Edgar Wright.

Media
• Just For Laughs enjoyed an unprecedented amount of attention with coverage by close to 500 journalists from media outlets around the world.

• Among the media accredited at this year’s fest were: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, E! Everything Entertainment, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, New York Times, OK! Magazine, People, Access Hollywood, The New York Daily News, Time Out New York, The Sydney Morning Herald, GQ Magazine UK, The Toronto Star and The Gazette.

Just For Fans
• Audience satisfaction reached an all-time high this summer thanks to our Laughtime Guarantee, an innovative package that brought comedy fans closer to the action than ever before with incredible deals and a guarantee of satisfaction. More than 7,000 comedy aficionados signed up for this incredible offer.

COMING SOON!
Just For Laughs Toronto 2008: July 24 to July 28, 2008
Just For Laughs Chicago 2009: June 17 to June 21, 2009
Join us next July for the 27th edition of Just For Laughs!
For all the information you need and more visit

Contact: Leisa Lee, Director of Communications, Just For Laughs
(514) 845-3155 ext.2258; llee@hahaha.com