Get ready to laugh. Just For Laughs is leaning into its pandemic comedy game. The organization has just revealed the first slate of comedians for its first-ever online festival, which takes place between October 9 and 10 and there are some heavy hitters.
They include Howie Mandel, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel, Emmy award nominee Amber Ruffin, Tasmania's own Hannah Gadsby, the hilarious Jo Koy, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, funny person Tituss Burgess, Canadian comedy stalwart DeAnne Smith, and others.
The two-day comedy event will feature over 100 artists and admission is completely free.
"We are very proud to offer this special edition in an optimized free edition format, enabling us to do what we do best, curating and creating the best of comedy, while making it more accessible than ever, to all fans across the globe," reads a statement from Charles Décarie, president and CEO of the Just for Laughs Group.
"We are truly able to deliver a festival that lives up to Just For Laughs standards."
Décarie stated he's hopeful the festival will "be back in a big way in 2021 with exciting plans for the comedy fans and industry who travel to join us every summer."
After the pandemic dropped, Just For Laughs worked hard to reorganize the festival for a digital audience and, needless to say, it will look very different this year.
The 2020 edition will more resemble a giant Zoom meeting with breakout groups, panels and live discussions "designed specifically for online audiences," than a traditional comedy festival, reads the statement.
For example, on October 10 you'll be able to join a live conversation with the top four finalists from Canada's Drag Race: JIMBO, Rita Baga, Scarlett Bobo, and Canada's first drag superstar, Priyanka.
But don't worry because they'll also be plenty of straight up standup as well.
This year, the festival is partnering with well-known comedian Kevin Hart's global comedy brand, Laugh Out Loud (LOL).
LOL's experiential division, which is called LOL X, will serve as the official programming partner for the festival and will host its very own comedy room, which will celebrate comedians of colour.
The room will feature a mix of live standup performances, virtual panel discussions, and other fun stuff.
"Our goal with the Just For Laughs Festival is to really engage with the global comedy community, and have some important discussions regarding big societal issues in a way that's still entertaining, with comedic relief provided by some of today's brightest comedy stars," said Bruce Hills, president of Just For Laughs in the statement.
"I could not be more honoured that Kevin Hart's LOL is our official programming partner."
But don't expect a typical Montreal Pride Parade complete with vehicles, floats, dancers, and all the usual festivities. According to a press release, the current health context does not allow for a traditional parade.
However, Montréal Pride says holding a march "returns to the roots of the Pride movement by handing back the public space to participating communities," specifically focusing on amplifying the voices of diverse sexual and gender communities that were "made close to invisible" during the pandemic.
"The first demonstration in favor of the Montréal 2SLGBTQI+ communities’ rights was held in 1979, organised by the Pink Brigade [...] with 52 marchers participating," said Jean-François Perrier, interim director of the Montréal Pride Festival, in a statement.
"It is therefore with great pride that we confirm [...] a unifying activity open to all that will allow the advocacy and community aspects of the festival to shine."
The Pride March will take place on August 15 and will depart from Jeanne-Mance Park at 1 p.m.