Laughter is known to be the best medicine, and lately laughter yoga and laughter therapy and something laughingly called laughology are springing up, all very laudable to be sure.
But laughter feels so much better when it is triggered by humour. Flat or funny, the people whose business it is to make us laugh must be the bravest souls on Earth.
Founded in 1983 by Gilbert Rozon and with Andy Nulman’s collaboration, adding English-language shows in 1985, the Just for Laughs/Juste pour Rire comedy festival has attracted the funniest performers from around the globe and an audience of 2 million every year.
This year’s lineup is stellar and prominently features female comics, including Joan Rivers.
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Unitarian Church of Montreal
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Hosted by Shaun Majumder, The Ethnic Show features Gary Gulman, Fahim Anwar, Rocky
La Porte and Cristela Alonzo. Billed as comedy’s cultural stew best enjoyed with a grain of salt, these comics with very different deliveries take an irreverent look at the customs and traditions we bring together in this city. July 10-14; 26-27, 7 pm, Club Soda.
Tig Notaro’s album LIVE sold more than 100,000 units in just six weeks, a rarity for comedy albums. She will appear in her solo show Boyish Girl Interrupted. July 23-27, 7 pm, Theatre Ste. Catherine.
Broaching a subject dear to Montrealers’ hearts and something we really need to laugh about together is The Bilingual Show, hosted by Mike Ward. Some of Quebec’s most beloved comics—including Sylvain Larocque, Jean-Thomas Jobin, Joey Elias, Eric Lampaert and others—perform in their official language of choice July 23, 7 pm, 9:30 pm, l’Astral.
Considered to be one of the brightest rising stars of the comedy world, the blonde, innocent and wickedly funny Amy Schumer will present her solo standup July 24, 9:30 pm, Metropolis.
You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the Bar Mitzvah show, hosted by Elon Gold with appearances by Gary Gulman, Jessica Kirson and Ronna (Glickman) & Beverly (Ginsberg) of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame. July 25, 7 pm, Place des Arts, Theatre Maisonneuve.
Audiences may remember Eddie Izzard from The Riches, a television series he wrote and starred in about a family of Irish travelers and con men. He hosts a gala, The United Nations of Comedy, featuring Gad Elmaleh, Trevor Noah and special guest Jean Paul. July 25, 10 pm, Place des Arts, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier.
In what is considered to be his best work yet, Danny Bhoy returns to Just for Laughs in a critically acclaimed solo show, Dear Epson, July 26-27, 7 pm, Place des Arts, Theatre Maisonneuve.
Joan Rivers hosts a gala with comics Lynne Koplitz, Josh Thomas, Jen Kirkman and Ronna & Beverly. July 27, 5 pm, Place des Arts, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.
Sarah Silverman, “the most outrageously funny woman alive” according to Rolling Stone magazine, will host two galas back to back on
July 27, featuring Wil Anderson, Kyle Dunningan, Tig Notaro and Kyle Kinane at 8:15 pm and Arj Barker, Pete Holmes and Marc Maron at 11pm. Place des Arts, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier.
The Just for Laughs Festival runs July 10-28. For information on venues and programming, visit hahaha.com. 514-845-2322.