Thanks a billion

Montreal boasts vast TV audience

A billion people will see footage from this year’s Just For Laughs comedy festival, its president has claimed.

Rights to the shows shot in Montreal have been sold to 100 countries and 70 airlines, from Albania to the Yemen.

Festival president Gilbert Rozon said: “It’s one thing to be number one in Canada, but another to be seen all over the world.”

As the world’s biggest festival devoted to comedy came to an end, it was announced that  256,278 people attended the indoor comedy shows, with another 1.5million seeing the street entertainment.

The festival, which costs more than £14 million to stage, featured 526 shows in 31 venues, plus another 1,600 outdoor performances.

Of the English-language programme, director Bruce Hills singled out Family Guy Live, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and Evil Dead 1 & 2 The Musical as highlights – especially as they appealed to the younger audiences the festival is trying to attract.

He said: “Seth Macfarlane, the creator of Family Guy, couldn’t have been happier with the reception of the fans  - it was a love-in this weekend, an incredible experience for him,

“More than 50 producers saw Evil Dead – including Broadway and the West End. It’s a smash and it’s going to be made in many countries.”

Of the stand-ups, he praised John Pinette, right, Lewis Black and Tommy Tiernan for earning standing ovations. “It’s stand-up the way it’s supposed to be,” he said.

And he thanked gala hosts Tim Allen and Wayne Brady because “They don’t need Just For Laughs, but they came anyway.”

Allen was persuaded to interrupt his holiday between two movies to host a gala after initially saying no.

Next year’s event, the 23rd, takes place from July 14 to 24.


Chortle's coverage of the Just For Laughs festival >>

Published: 26 Jul 2004

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