Just For Laughs savors new buzz

New biz confab draws big names to Montreal

An unfailingly polite sort, Just for Laughs chief operating officer Bruce Hills bristles ever so slightly when asked if the fest’s spin-off of a two-day laughs biz-oriented confab is an opportunistic reaction to the demise last year of Aspen’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

“Even before Aspen went away, there were more network and development deals done in Montreal, they just were never covered by the press,” Hills says. “We just lost the public relations battle.”

Regardless of the rationale behind the formation of the two-day Just Comedy confab — which takes place July 17-18 at Montreal’s Hyatt Regency amidst the 26th incarnation of the broader, more city-wide Just for Laughs, which runs July 10-20 — public relations shouldn’t be a problem for Hills and Company this year.

Featured on the inaugural Just Comedy guest list will be comedy feature titans Judd Apatow, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman and Edgar Wright, as well as cable TV laughs kingpin Steve Koonin.

“When you’ve got the Reitmans, when you’ve got Judd, when you’ve got Steve Koonin and Edgar Wright, it draws press,” Hills adds. “And it draws other important people like agents, managers and studio executives.

TIP SHEET

When: July 10-20

Where: Montreal, Canada

Web: www.hahaha.com/en/

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