Just For Laughs Events and Comedians Favourite Comedy Films of All Time!
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
The world's biggest and best comedy festival has some of the most diverse galas they have ever had. Howie Mandel kicked things off with an All-Star gala opening of hilarity. The rest of the galas featured hosts Wanda Sykes, Hasan Minhaj, Anthony Jeselnik, Michael Che, Jonathan Van Ness, and Anthony Anderson.
This year’s Just For Laughs is once again changing and expanding as it does every year. Aside from the major gala shows there are so many other shows and events going on and we'll share some of those with you now. There are at least three brand new events added to this year's JFL that will continue to expand and in some cases need to. You get to read about them first right here.
As a part of the COMEDY/PRO series there were a few new events. THE BIG AUDITION CASTING FOR COMEDY was hosted by Amanda Lenker Doyle, an active member of the Casting Society of America. A panel of major casting directors such as Alison Jones, Jeanne McCarthy, and Sherie Hernandez spoke about the art of casting the right person for the right role and gave tips when going to a casting call. A few important ones were : no gum chewing, know the project you are auditioning for and know your lines. They shared their frustrations of dealing with film companies that want actors they can’t afford.
Another new double event was the American High actual AMERICAN HIGH CASTING CALL for a new movie and PITCH AT YOUR OWN RISK: THE AMERICAN HIGH FILM EDITION. That was a neat event as a group of random hopefuls pitched their teen film idea to producers. The winner got $1,000 and an opportunity for a production deal. The chosen winner was Erica who was “just a girl with a dream” she said. Her film idea was about an aging vampire who has to go back to high school.
One regular event at JUST FOR LAUGHS is the MIDNIGHT SURPRISE. A smaller venue
Newspeak is stage to the never know who you will get event. One night the crowd got a little
known comic named Kevin Hart. Thursday’s audience got Wanda Sykes and Michael Che. Emmy winning, SNL cast member Chris Redd is the host of the surprise night. He is a lot of fun and funnier than some of the comics he's introducing. He has an energy and crowd interaction that pumps the show up no matter who the surprise is. Friday night’s big name was Alonzo Boden who stole the show as a surprise since he was not even supposed to be there. More laughs and surprises are sure to come later on.
One run of shows not to miss was, of course, was the award-winning SHE THE PEOPLE. An all-female comedy troupe made up of Second City alumni. These six ladies sing, dance and do sketch comedy
on a variety of topics ranging from men, body image, politics, shopping, etc, There is plenty of audience participation and costume changes. One skit has a girl at a dinner party explaining why it's perfectly fine for her to be dressed up as a T- Rex. Kirsten Rasmussen hosted a game show called You Oughta Know in which an audience member was brought on stage and had to answer trivia such as "Is Justin Bieber Canadian?" Another highlight was when one of the girls tells her friends that her boyfriend just broke up their relationship by text. Her friends reveal the funny truths of what they really thought of him. That is until she finds out the text was an autocorrect and the relationship is still on, then he's a great guy.
The most anticipated panel this year was for the Netflix hit show GLOW, centred around female wrestlers of the 80's .Comedian Rachel Bloom hosted this sold-out Q&A session with co-creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, and stars Marc Maron, Betty Gilpin, Britney Young, Kimmy Gatewood, and Rebekka Johnson. One of the interesting points we heard
was the same thing they say in real wrestling and that is that this is for real. When you see the girls falling or being
thrown on ropes it's not a stunt double. Marc Manon was the most animated and funniest of everyone taking lead on most of the first portion of the Q&A. Since music is so important to wrestlers we learned that the cast has some favourite 80's songs and artists. For Britney Young it's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship. Kimmy Gatewood went for Suzie Q and The Bangles. Marc Manon mentioned how he saw Styx when he was younger. Interestingly enough host Rachel Bloom said her fave 80's group was Styx. Betty Gilpin said she's a Springsteen girl.
What is your favourite comedy film of all time?
Chris Redd : One that comes to my mind right now is 40-Year Old Virgin. It was a very hilarious movie. It was a cool break out moment for Steve Carell. He’s a genius.
Kimmy Gatewood : It's always changing but lately, I'd have to go with PeeWee's Big Adventure. It's directed by Tim Burton. His comedy is so laugh out loud, silly, funny, witty, and has a lot of art of the imagination.
Howie Mandel : I’d have to say 35 mm. I just think it’s clearer and it holds the picture well. The sound quality comes out really good.
Make sure to check out all the events and shows. For more details visit Just For Laughs at
The main festival site on St. Catherine offered up a variety of food trucks including free coffee from Tim Hortons. Each night offered a variety of street performers and free shows like actor/comedian Craig Robinson and his Nasty Delicious.