Comedians launch the Montreal Laughter Festival

Great names in humor as well as up-and-coming artists want to create a new comedy festival in Montreal, and intend to tap into the Just for Laughs Festival team to pilot the project.

The Montreal Laughter Festival, created at the initiative of comedian Martin Petit, will hold its first edition in 2018.

The instigators of the project admit that the creation of this new festival of humor is “a direct response to the scandal that recently struck Quebec”, while personalities, including the president of the group Just for Laughs Gilbert Rozon, were struck by allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a telephone interview, comedian Réal Béland did not hide the fact that the band wanted to surround themselves with experienced people – including employees who had worked for the Just for Laughs Group – to stage the festival.

“Just for fun, it must be understood that it was a person, it was Gilbert Rozon (…). Just for fun, it’s a name for me that can no longer exist for comedians, because the name is no longer respectable. It does not feel like going to Just for Laughs, but everything else, other than the people who are directly related to Rozon, everything else for me, can not fall. On the contrary, there are people with talent who are in place and can never be dropped, “he said.

The end of the Just for Laughs festival?

This new festival, which must involve great names in humor like Jean-Michel Anctil, François Bellefeuille, Lise Dion, Cathy Gauthier, Jean-Thomas Jobin, Anthony Kavanagh and Laurent Paquin, will sound the death knell of the Just Festival for laughs, scheduled for July 2018?

For Réal Béland, if comedians have come together to create another festival, it’s because they no longer want to be part of Just for Laughs.

“On the other hand, if this company wanted to make a festival, we can not stop it …”, he added.

François Brouard, a professor of accounting and taxation at Carlton University who leads a research group on the humor industry, also sees the creation of the Montreal Laughter Festival as bad news for the Just for Music Festival. laugh and for the Just For Laughs Group, which is for sale.

“In any case, if I were a buyer, I would ask myself questions,” he said.

According to the professor, the Just for Laughs Group will now have to focus on what it has to offer outside the festival – for example all of its contracts, contacts or products like the show Les gags – if he wants to attract buyers.

A more ethical festival

In a statement, Martin Petit says that the group of comedians for the creation of the new festival “is built around important values, values ​​of ethical management, social responsibility and pay equity”.

“Respect for artisans, artists and the public is at the heart of the Montreal Laughter Festival’s mission,” he says.

“We thought, among ourselves, that we would be the most vigilant environment from today. We, the comedians, we all looked at each other and we said to ourselves: “We, the women, we will defend them”. And also men who are abused, not just sexually, says Réal Béland. There has been so much manipulation, and in all areas, but here we will monitor ours. ”

For the humorist, the key to ending unacceptable behavior is to “talk to each other” and “open your eyes”.

The grouping of about fifty comedians will soon appoint a board of directors and a general direction, whose task will be to oversee the creation of the festival “in full transparency”.

Réal Béland points out that more details will be revealed in the coming days, but he assures that the group of comedians is “very supported”.

The Montreal Laughter Festival also highlights that the governments of Quebec and Canada and “credible financial partners” have already expressed their interest in the process.

Comedians at the heart of the initiative

Adib Alkhalidey, Jean-Michel Anctil, Michel Barrette, Real Beland, François Bellefeuille, Étienne Dano, Charles Deschamps, Lise Dion, Stéphane Fallu, José Gaudet, Cathy Gauthier, Simon Gouache, The Great Floods (Ève Côté and Marie-Lyne Joncas) Patrick Groulx, Pierre Hébert, Jean-Thomas Jobin, Anthony Kavanagh, Julien Lacroix, Philippe Laprise, Sylvain Larocque, Denis Drolet, Francois Massicotte, Jean-Francois Mercier, Dominic Paquet, Laurent Paquin, Martin Petit, Pierre-Luc Pomerleau, Phil Roy, Mario Tessier, Silvi Tourigny, Rosalie Vaillancourt, Mike Ward.