In 2020, the Just for Laughs Festival, a staple of Montreal’s festival season and the largest comedy festival in the world, went all virtual with a mini-fest for reasons evident to everyone. Last year, they offered a scaled back hybrid version with shows emanating from Montreal, New York and Los Angeles.
Now, for JFL’s 40th anniversary, the festival appears to be back in full force, making them the first major summer event to promise such a return. While most of the lineup has yet to be announced, we do know about two shows, two really big, Bell Centre-big shows:
Kevin Hart’s Reality Check Tour: Arguably one of the world’s most successful comedians, Kevin Hart has a long history with JFL. He was a breakout comic in 2001 as part of the New Faces series and has returned to perform several times over the decades.
Recently, he has been helping to promote up-and-coming comics as the chairman of the Laugh Out Loud Network. LOL has been presenting shows consistently at JFL for the past few years (minus the COVID years, of course).
In 2018, Hart sold out JFL’s largest venue, the Bell Centre, a space he returns to this summer. His Reality Check Tour stops in Montreal for one night only, Friday, July 29th at 8pm.
Bill Burr (Slight Return): Bill Burr was originally scheduled to perform here in 2020, but that didn’t happen for obvious reasons. He’s back year at the Bell Centre on July 30th as part of JFL and tickets from the original show are being honored at this one.
Burr is no stranger to JFL and a top comic on comedy stages worldwide, but he’s also no stranger to genre sci-fi audiences thanks to his appearance on The Mandalorian (honestly where I first discovered him) or to movie audiences (he co-starred in The King of Staten Island), or SNL fans (he hosted in 2020), Breaking Bad fans (he was a guest star) or fans of his own co-created show F is for Family. Plus there’s a whole new generation discovering his comedy in YouTube reaction videos.
I know, through his Monday Morning Podcast and his comedy, that he’s quite the avid sports fan. And everyone knows that he’s from Boston. So I wonder if, given his venue and the fact that the hockey team that uses it aren’t having, um, the best season, he may open with a dig at the Habs.
More acts are going to be announced soon, but for now it looks like JFL will be back at full force, and that’s a welcome development.
The 40th Anniversary of Just for Laughs runs July 13-31, 2022. More shows will be announced soon. For tickets to these two shows (Kevin Hart tickets go on sale Friday, February 18 at 10am) please visit hahaha.com