Townies top comedy festival

Mandel, Peters headline Just for Laughs.

TORONTO — Hometown boys Howie Mandel and Russell Peters are among the topliners taking part in the inaugural Just for Laughs Toronto spinoff, whose lineup was announced Wednesday.

The Toronto fest, which takes place over three nights starting July 26, features a number of the performers from Montreal’s Just for Laughs, the English-language portion of which wraps July 22.

In addition to Mandel and Peters, other performers include George Lopez and John Pinette, all of whom will host or take part in six Toronto galas. Other gala performers include Richard Lewis, Kathleen Madigan from “Last Comic Standing,” Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Skinner and Alonzo Bodden.

Locals on the gala tickets include Jeremy Hotz, Elivra Kurt, Derek Edwards and Greg Giraldo, Bob Marley, Bill Burr and Tom Papa.

The lineup also includes a special Toronto edition of the Ethnic Heroes of Comedy, featuring Angelo Tsarouchas and Frank Spadone.

European-inspired street theater is also making its way from Montreal to Toronto’s downtown Young-Dundas Square neighborhood, with more than 60 performances from 80 artists from the U.K., France, Germany, Canada and the U.S.

Canuck comic Peters will be launching the outdoor events with a gratis standup routine. “We wanted the biggest name in comedy in the world right now in ticket sales in his hometown of Toronto,” said Just for Laughs chief operating officer Bruce Hills. “Think of a bigger bang than that for opening it up.”

Also appearing for outdoor performances between 7 and 11 p.m. are Circus Orange and “The Aviator,” Germany’s Bangditos Theater with their performance of “The Guardian Angels,” Big Nazo from the U.S., drumming extravaganza Bam, martial artistry from Team Ryouko and DotComedy’s “MisInformation Tent” from the U.K.

The Just for Laughs fest and founder Gilbert Rozon were recently tapped to receive the Banff World Television Festival’s Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award. In addition to Toronto, Just for Laughs hosts another spinoff in Nantes, France.

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