29th edition of Montreal comedy fest wraps
TORONTO — The king of comedy festivals, Just for Laughs Montreal, wrapped its 29th edition Sunday boasting more shows (1,762 English and French combined), more sell-outs, more talent (3,695 artists and participants) and more tapings for broadcast than previous years.The Gala series sold out four shows — over 10,000 tickets — hosted by Russell Peters. Fest’s comedy person of the year, Louis CK, along with Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0” and international funnymen Eddie Izzard and Danny Bhoy were among many hot tickets. Almost 1,000 industryites attended the fest, with 400 execs from the film, TV, digital and live entertainment biz hitting the JFL Comedy Conference, featuring a keynote from Marc Maron and a Q&A Master Class with JFL comedy director of the year Paul Feig. Two new categories — Characters (for sketch artists) and Unrepresented (acts with no agents) — joined fest’s New Faces strand, while the sophomore edition of The Insiders Series saw several hits including Colin Quinn’s Broadway show “Long Story Short” and Funny or Die’s “What’s Going On? With Mike Mitchell.” Live comedy podcasts made their first appearance and drew capacity auds, but TV cameras were the most ubiquitous tech presence. JFL produced a record number of taped TV specials this year. Montreal roster includes two one-hour “Funny as Hall” specials for BBC America; four one-hour specials hosted by John Oliver, Russell Peters, Craig Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet for Canuck pubcaster CBC; two one-hours — Weird Al’s “Amp’d” musical special and JFL live hit “A Tribute to Nerds” hosted by “Big Bang Theory’s” Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg — for Canada’s The Comedy Network; and specials for GNWTV (Australia), Paramount Spain, Germany’s TBC and Comedy Central channels in The Netherlands and Sweden.