Montreal comedy fest celebrates year's top funnymakers
WHAT: Just for Laughs
WHEN: July 10-28
Comedy Person of the Year: Amy Poehler
Poehler kicked 2013 off right by hosting the Golden Globes with Tina Fey. After a year of devoting herself to the Peacock’s “Parks and Recreation,” Poehler’s getting back to the box office. She lends her voice to Thanksgiving-themed toon “Free Birds,” and will star in Matthew Weiner’s feature directing debut alongside Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis. Poehler is also joining fellow “Saturday Night Live” alums Fey and Kristen Wiig as the newest additions to the “Anchorman” gang, making a brief cameo in the sequel.
Comedy Director of the Year: Edgar Wright
Next out of the gate for the Brit helmer is Summit’s “The World’s End,” which hits theaters Aug. 23. More inebriated than apocalyptic, the laffer follows five old pals who reunite for a pub crawl through their hometown, only to find it’s been overrun by killer robots. “The World’s End” stars Wright’s usual cohorts, including co-writer Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman and Rafe Spall — all of whom also appeared in “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”
Comedy Writer of the Year: Mitch Hurwitz
Hurwitz has been racking up scribe and executive producer credits since “Arrested Development” left Fox in 2006, but none generated nearly as much excitement as “Arrested’s” return as a Netflix original. The skein spiked overall Netflix traffic almost instantly, and drew nearly twice as many viewers during its launch weekend as the service’s celebrated “House of Cards.” The reboot’s popularity begs the question: Will fans finally get that long-rumored “Arrested Development” pic?
Breakout Comedy Star of the Year: Nick Kroll
What exactly constitutes a breakout in the world of comedy? Well, launching Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” isn’t a bad place to start. Starring in FX’s bro-friendly “The League” doesn’t hurt. Making guest appearances on “Parks and Recreation” and “New Girl” merely seal the deal for Kroll, who returns for a second season of his eponymous sketch series in 2014. Now entering its sixth season, “The League” stands among four comedy skeins that will bolster the sked at FX’s new sibling net, FXX.
Comedic Short Film: Brazzaville Teen-Ager
In the past year, Michael Cera stepped away from his indie roles as a geeky youngster to direct a quirky YouTube-distributed short. “I basically got trapped into doing it,” Cera says.
When Cera dropped the idea of adapting Bruce Jay Friedman’s 1960s short story “Brazzaville Teen-Ager” into a pic, former “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” exec producer Daniel Kellison netted it. His YouTube channel, Jash, is drawing the likes of Sarah Silverman and Reggie Watts to produce made-for-Web content.
“Brazzaville Teen-Ager” stars Cera as a young man who copes with his father’s serious illness by staging a bizarre act: begging his grim-faced boss to sing backup vocals on a doo-wop track. Recording artist Kelis provided the tune, Cera the deadpan oddity and Friedman the chance to work with a “personal hero.”
“I’ve never done that before — reached out to a hero of mine and had it work out,” he says. “It was really exciting.” Charles Grodin plays the dad.