Laugh it Up

What is Montreal jfl and why you should love it.

Comedy fans among you have probably heard about Canada’s top comedy festival – Canada JFL (Just For Laughs) in Montreal. Historically a French-speaking festival, it started incorporating English speaking shows in 1985. Following this addition, the festival grew to an entire month of comedy shows, with the first half dedicated to French speaking shows, and the second half dedicated to English speaking comedians.

Shows occur daily throughout the city of Montreal during the month of the festival, especially in the area known as the Latin Quarter of the city, which is known for theaters and cafes. The festival attracts performers and audiences from all over the world, as well as many talent scouts, booking agents, managers and producers in search of the next big thing. The festival is an immense opportunity for a newcomer to present their skills and abilities and get discovered by the industry.


Many great performers participated in this incredible month of laughter. This year performers such as Marc Maron, Danny Bhoy and Russel Howard performed. In previous years the festival saw many of the greats: Howie Mandel, Jimmy Carr, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, and many many more.

For those who want to go see a great comedy show but aren’t sure which one to choose, any headliner of this festival is a very safe choice. Just make sure to take some chances and check out new talents alongside the established performers. You never know what you might find.  


In 1995 the festival started incorporating the Comedia comedy film festival, which hands out awards to comedy films from around the world.

Over the years, the festival started a few franchises both in and outside of Canada. In 1994 it opened Juste Pour Rire-En Vacances in Hollywood in an outdoor venue. In 2007 the festival launched Just For Laughs Toronto. In 2009 Chicago aired Just For Laughs Chicago for the first time. In 2016 London held Just For Laughs in Russel Square.

In 2018 the festival underwent a change of ownership and was sold in part to a US based talent agency. Canadian comedian Howie Mandel took over management. The festival remained in Montreal as Mandel saw it as a key component of the local culture, and had to face off with a competing comedy festival – Le Grand Montréal Comédie Fest – which was founded by a group of Quebec comedians to compete with JFL. In 2018 the owning company sold 51% of its stake to Canadian based companies in order to place the main stake of the festival in Canadian hands and be eligible for tax credit in Canada.