Russell Howard heads for Montreal does Nina Conti

Russell Howard and Nina Conti have been invited to perform their solo shows at the prestigious Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal.

They are the only Brits taking part in the Zoofest strand, which showcases more alternative fare than the main programme.

Zoofest’s line-up was announced last night, and also includes Adam Hills, The Pajama Men, Eugene Mirman and Maria Bamford.

It runs from July 9 to 31 – the same time as the main festival, and similarly features a French-language programme followed by an English one.

Howard – who perviously appeared at the 2006 festival – will be performing his show The Time Is Now, with Conti – who was in Montreal in 2009 – showcasing her interactive ventriloquism show Talk To The Hand.

As previously announced, Danny Bhoy, Jimmy Carr, Tim Minchin and Eddie Izzard will be performing solo shows in the main festival; with Izzard performing his show Stripped in English, then in French, on the same night.

One-man shows are the exception as Just For Laughs primarily revolves around short sets, with a number of high-profile televised galas alongside theatre-sized showcases.

However, the usual Britcom showcase has been merged with the Irish and ‘down under’ events this year to produce one ‘World Tour’ show – meaning fewer international comics will be flown into Canada. Hills will host this show, with Howard on the bill – although the rest of the line-up has yet to be announced. However Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Russell Kane and Melbourne Comedy Festival Barry-winner Sammy J are scheduled to appear elsewhere in the festival, so could well feature.

Other stars appearing at the invitation-only festival include Caroline Rhea, Craig Ferguson, John Oliver, Jeremy Hotz, Kevin Smith, Marc Maron and Russell Peters.

The festival has an enviable reputation for helping some comics break the American market, with Tim Allen having famously been offered his Home Improvements sitcom after appearing there.

Published: 10 Jun 2011

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