'Doctor Lewis' takes feature kudos

MONTREAL – The 21st Just for Laughs comedy festival wrapped here Sunday night with a standup gala hosted by vet comedian Carl Reiner, who was inducted into the Just for Laughs Intl. Comedy Hall of Fame.

Earlier in the day, “American Splendor,” based on the life of comic-book author Harvey Pekar, received the Just for Laughs’ Comedia film festival award at a low-key press confab. Local French-language comedy “Seducing Doctor Lewis” took feature kudos.

Cathy Gauthier won as festival discovery. The prize for funniest French-language show went to Gad Elmaleh’s “La vie normale,” and the public prize for street show went to “Second Nature.” Montreal comic Ryan Wilner won the Homegrown Comic Competition National Championship.

The 11-day fest reported robust ticket sales for the 355 indoor shows and strong attendance for the free outdoor fare on the city’s streets.

While final box office and attendance will be announced today, fest chief operating officer Bruce Hills admitted it was tough to top last year’s star-studded 20th edition. He said the fest had garnered its best critical reaction in years.

“Overall there was just a happy atmosphere around the festival,” he said.

There was no shortage of high-profile acts including Brad Garrett, Tina Fey from “Saturday Night Live,” Kelly Ripa, Bill Cosby and the Blue Man Group.

Comics generating industry heat included Mitch Fatel, Andrew Kennedy from the Masters series, “Uptown Comics” host Bruce Bruce, Lee Mack from the U.K., Toronto-based Brian Lazanik and Bob Marley.

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