The Just for Laughs comedy empire, which includes the city’s annual comedy festival of the same name, unveiled its new Intl. Museum of Humour Monday night, and, though the museum is set to open its doors to the public on April Fool’s Day, it’s no laughing matter.

The set-up cost is $ C21 million ($ 16.8 million), with $ C13.5 million ($ 10 .5 million) coming from federal, provincial and city grants, and that level of government funding already has been roundly criticized by opposition members of Parliament in the House of Commons.

The museum complex in downtown Montreal will include a 250-seat theater, the classrooms and studios of the National School of Humour and the offices of Le Groupe Rozon, the company that runs the Just for Laughs operations.

There will also be a Humour Hall of Fame, to be inaugurated this summer by George Burns, who will be performing at the Just for Laughs festival Aug. 1.

Groupe Rozon prexy Gilbert Rozon admits to having had some difficulty finding private support for the project, but he insisted that the museum will be self-financing in the near future.

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