Fest founder to receive Comedy Award

TORONTO — The Just for Laughs comedy festival and its founder Gilbert Rozon have been tapped to receive the Banff World Television Festival’s Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award.

Banff runs June 10-13.

Over the course of its 25 years, Just for Laughs has grown from a small “just for fun” affair to the world’s largest comedy event, showcasing thousands of artists and drawing 2 million visitors to Montreal each year. Rozon, its founder, is one of the most influential and respected figures in the entertainment industry in Canada today.

“The first job I ever had was as a gravedigger,” he said. “At least now I’ve got an honor to put on my tombstone.”

There are Just for Laughs spinoffs in Nantes, France, and in Toronto, and the group participates in festivals in Edinburgh and Montreux. Just for Laughs TV fare air in 125 countries worldwide and on 95 airlines.

Previous Ustinov Award recipients include Guy Lepage, Barry Humphries, John Cleese, Bob Newhart and Martin Short.

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