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Just For Laughs Festival: July 11-31, 2011

Posted by Amie / July 6, 2011

Montreal Just for Laughs 2011The Montreal Just for Laughs Festival was apparently offering a special "20-for-1 poutine" deal but you've already missed it (by approximately 28 years...). Still, it's about time to think about getting some tickets to the biggest comedy festival of the year. This year's lineup has the some big names but some even better little names to discover. Zoofest - the series of smaller cabaret-style performances - offers probably the best bang for your buck. Sure, the comedians could suck, but the all-you-can-Zoofest pass (even though it's up from $30 last year to $40 this year, $15 individual tickets) still helps you discover some side-splitting gems at the one-hour shows you want at four venues: Cleopatra, Katacombes, Theatre Ste. Catherine, and Underworld.

This year's Zoofest Comedians include:
Hannibal Buress (30 Rock and former SNL writer)
July 21-29, 7pm
Theatre Ste-Catherine

The camera-friendly John Mulaney (also an SNL writer)
July 26-30, 11pm
Theatre Ste-Catherine (264 rue Sainte Catherine Est), $15 without Zoofest Pass

Russell Howard
- Writer and star of his own BBC Three show "Russell Howard's Good News"
July 25-30, 8:30pm, Theatre Ste-Catherine, $15


the UK, Australian, and Irish Comedy show: One Stop World Tour featuring Russell Kane, ventriloquist Nina Conti, Tom Gleeson, David O'Doherty, Greg Davies, and Rhys Darby (July 25, 27, 29), $37.25

There's also the Comedy Conference where you can check out the academic side of hilarity - panel discussions, speakers and an awards lunch. The ComicPro $99 pass will get you into MOST of this event plus the Just for Laughs Film Fest on at Cinema du Parc, any Zoofest shows you want, and the Insider's Series. If you want to get into the Conference cocktail, other lunches, and most importantly the pitch sessions, it'll cost you an extra $100. That's for all the up-and-coming comedians around more than for the general public just looking for a good laugh. Panels include THE PODFATHERS - comedy podcasters Marc Maron (WTF), Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Scott Mosier (SModcast) and Paul F. Tompkins (The Pod F. Tompkast) on being the best in online audio; Rob Corddry, David Wain (executive producer Jonathan Stern) and VP of Comedy Development at Adult Swim, Nick Weidenfeld, on comedy migrating from the internet to TV in Adult Swim presents NEW SHOWS WITH REAL PEOPLE; and a party on July 29th's Funny or Die MIDNIGHT PARTY - "a star-studded, industry-filled extravaganza where tons of Montreal's famous smoked-meat will be served".

The big shows and one big splurge

The galas and some of the bigger, often recorded shows are aimed at...well, a demographic with a pretty high disposable income, but if you're looking for a special event and one show to splurge on, choose well and it should be worth it:

The Decline of the American Empire with Mark Critch, John Oliver of the Daily Show, Greg Proops ("Whose Line is It Anyway?" - the original and the sadder Drew Carey version, but isn't everything he does sadder? The Price is Right? Really?), Alonzo Bodden, Colin Quinn, Marc Maron
July 31, 7pm
Salle Wilfred Pelletier, Place des Arts

The Big Bang Theory's A Tribute to Nerds
July 29, 10pm, Salle Wilfred Pelletier, Place des Arts

Wierd Al Yankovic at AMP'D
with Bo Burnham, Reggie Watts, Garfunkel & Oates and Tim Minchin
Club Soda
July 28, 2011 at 7 PM and 10 PM

Regular Midnight Poutine readers will expect me to skip the "Mom Com" night hosted by Caroline Rhea (July 29-30). They promise "no apple pie will be served". What kind of selling point is that?

There are no $20 ticket packages like last year, but one or two single tickets to zoofest, the zoofest pass, or a single bigger ticket are worth the price. There's also a last-minute show box office where tickets go on sale up to 50% off. I thought laughter was free? At least you can cross your fingers the comedians are actually making some money at these shows. Maybe cross a lot of fingers on that one.

And there's a VIP room and special place you can watch the shows while not being at the venues. You might ahve to buy some food and look like you're important, but it's worth a shot. I'll let you know how that goes.

All this and more at...

Just For Laughs 2011
Online, or "if you're scared of the internet": 1-888-244-3155



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