Montreal or bust...

Just For Laughs line-up revealed

Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, Frank Skinner and Jimmy Carr will all be performing at this year’s Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, organisers announced yesterday.

But it’s not just these celebrity names who will be performing their own shows. Danny Bhoy, Jim Jeffries and Phil Nichol will also be among the very few international comedians invited to bring their hour-long shows to the festival’s 25th anniversary in July.

Most acts instead perform just seven minutes of material at showcases and club nights in the high-profile event, which is a favourite with American agents, talent-spotters and TV producers.

Stephen K. Amos will host the Britcom showcase, which will feature Russell Brand, John Moloney, Richard Herring, Frankie Boyle, Michael McIntyre and Wes Packer, who won last year’s So You Think You’re Funny new act competition in Edinburgh.

Line-ups of most of the other themed nights, including a sketch show, a relationship show and a ‘down under’ show, have not been revealed, but Dara O'Briain will be hosting the O’Comics Irish showcase which will also include Andrew Stanley.

British theatre group Spymonkey will be performing their show Cooped at the festival, and cult Canadian sketch comedy troupe Kids In The Hall will reunite for the occasion.

Other names attending include Tommy Tiernan, Ardal O'Hanlon, Canadians Russell Peters and Jeremy Hotz, spoof Christian folk band God’s Pottery and American stand-ups Dom Irrera, Sinbad and Zach Galifianakis. Howie Mandel, John Pinette, George Lopez will host the televised galas.

The Family Guy cast, will return to perform a stage version of the show, as will La Clique’s burlesque vaudeville show.

Another idea, which will be familiar to British fans of Robin Ince’s Book Club, sees the cast of US sitcom How I Met Your Mother reading excerpts from celebrity biographies.

Festival boss Bruce Hills said the festival was trying to broaden its appeal from stand-up to include more sketch and musical comedy.

'Our core is stand-up, but that's not where we have to expand. The younger demographic is what we need most to refresh,' he said.

And programming vice-president Maureen Taran added: 'We have the best line-up of British, Australian and Irish acts. There's no other comedy festival in the world that does that.'

The main English-language events take place from July 12 to 22 .

Published: 2 May 2007

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