Mirth in Montreal

Just for Laughs rolls out int'l comic roster

MONTREAL — Tim Allen, William Shatner, “King of Queens” star Kevin James, Monty Python’s Eric Idle and “Family Feud’s” Louie Anderson are among the stars heading to Montreal for the 18th edition of the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival July 13-23.

The lineup for the event was unveiled at a press conference Monday in Montreal. Fest drew more than 1 million to its indoor and outdoor shows last summer and remains one of the key laugh fests on the continent.

James, former Montrealer Shatner, Idle, Allen, and Anderson will each be hosting galas at the St. Denis Theatre, which are the main comedy showcases at the festival.

Other performers slated to appear at the fest include D.L. Hughley from “The Hughleys,” “Saturday Night Live” alumni Jim Breuer and Rich Hall, Bob Saget, Kathy Kinney from “The Drew Carey Show,” U.K. comic Harry Hill, former “Conan O’Brien” regular Andy Richter, Pauly Shore, Canuck pop star Kim Stockwood, Bobby Slayton, Dom Irrera, Andy Kindler, Jeff Rothpan and Suzanne Westenhoeffer.

“This summer’s festival will be our biggest, best and most international yet,” said Just for Laughs chief operating officer Bruce Hills. “This year, we’ve expanded the depth and range of programming.”

Christopher Titus from the series “Titus” will be performing his solo show “Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding.” In addition, San Francisco puppeteer Basil Twist will be bringing his underwater puppet/music/dance show, “Symphonie Fantastique,” for a 20-day run at the Monument National, and the fest will be hosting the North American preem of “Gumboots!,” a South African-flavored song-and-dance show featuring a cappella singing and contemporary percussion.

The fest has an expanded film section this year following the recent merger of the festival with Montreal genre-film fest Fantasia.

The film programs include short-pic section “Eat My Shorts”; a showcase of nine features, “Comedia”; and “Comedy Classics,” which will this year pay tribute to Buster Keaton.

The fest also includes a number of sidebar club series, notably the Just for Laughs Fringe Series, the Alternative Comedy Show, Comix Jam, Homegrown Comic Competition National Championship, Britcom, New Faces of Comedy and Globecom.

There is also a parallel French-language festival, Juste Pour Rire, with performances by Franco funnymen Anthony Kavanagh, Michel Boujenah, Normand Brathwaite, Martin Petit, Mario Jean, and Maxim Martin.

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