Just For Laughs, the largest comedy festival in the world, is collaborating with live entertainment company AEG Presents to debut the event at London’s The O2 in 2023.
The annual comedy festival, Just For Laughs London, will bow March 2-5, 2023 and will feature solo shows, live podcast recordings, in-conversation events and cast panels from U.K.-based artists and international stars.
Famously, U.K. comedy icon Rowan Atkinson introduced Mr. Bean to global audiences at the Montréal Just For Laughs festival in 1987. Despite having no dialogue at all, Atkinson insisted that Bean be presented in the French section of the program rather than the English segment as a way of gauging how the physical comedy would translate to non-English speaking audiences.
Other British stars who have performed at Just For Laughs include John Oliver, Jimmy Carr, Jack Whitehall, Eddie Izzard, Gina Yashere, Sarah Millican, Stephen Fry, John Cleese and Lenny Henry.
From its origins in 1983 in Montréal, the festival has expanded to Toronto, Vancouver, Austin and Sydney. The 2021 North American festival was held as a hybrid event combining online and in-person shows live from Montréal, New York City and Los Angeles, with Dave Chappelle honored with the Comedy Person of the Year award and Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo receiving the Comedy Writers of the Year award for their comedy hit, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.”
Bruce Hills, president of Just For Laughs, said: “We couldn’t be happier to be producing a Just For Laughs festival in the U.K., celebrating the contribution and influence British comedy has had on JFL as well as the industry as a whole.”
Charles Décarie, President and CEO of Just For Laughs Group said: “Just For Laughs has produced many successful superior comedy festivals and tours in cities across the globe, and we are now beyond excited to plant some roots by adding a new comedy festival in one of the world’s most notorious comedy cities, London, England.”
Steve Homer, CEO of AEG Presents U.K., said: “We are delighted to be working with such a well-respected and talented company as Just For Laughs, and look forward to presenting an amazing festival at The O2 next year.”
Emma Bownes, VP of venue programming at The O2 added: “Just for Laughs are world leaders in comedy programming, and we can’t wait to host the very best U.K. and global stars, alongside podcast recordings, table reads and breakout comics across multiple stages under our roof. We look forward to Just For Laughs LONDON returning to The O2 for years to come.”