As Just for Laughs Montreal draws to a close, the world’s largest and most celebrated comedy festival called a Press Conference yesterday, to highlight the success of its 35th anniversary and to formally thank its many well wishers and supporters.
JFL Founder, Gilbert Rozon, opened the assembly by congratulating the JFL team on the success of their 35th anniversary. “Our goal has been to share happiness.” Proudly, he declared that “every one of our audience members felt like they were treated like a king.”
Bruce Hills, JFL Chief Operating Officer, had equally glowing words for his tireless organization, adding, “It’s been an amazing experience for all of us.” Despite months of meticulous planning, the city of Montreal threw in some last minute glitches, putting JFL on edge last Saturday. “We knew the streets were blocked, there was the 375th show and the Formula E race. We heard the subway was paralyzed and it was impossible to park, because of road closures… Thanks to our incredible team, we succeeded.”
JFL’s closing event, Montreal: An Intervention gala, was conceived as an affectionate roast of the festival’s chaotic hometown. “We couldn’t let it go,” said Hills, with a grin. Attending the Press Conference were many of this gala’s performers and presenters: Alonzo Bodden, Jimmy Carr, Mark Critch, Vanessa Grimaldi, Anthony Kavanaugh, Brittany Leborgne, David Pryde, Caroline Rhea, DeAnne Smith and The Tenors.
In looking back at JFL35, Hills described some of his favorite moments. “There’s been so much emotion across the board… This year’s JFL Awards Show, I think we all agree, was the best one yet.” Hills was particularly touched by Jim Carrey, who humbly accepted the JFL Generation Award. “We had Jim Carrey, talking about where he got started, and that night, he went to a comedy club and watched some young comedians… He is a gentleman.” Hills explained that JFL had been pursuing Carrey to appear at the festival, since before Hills started at JFL, 27 years ago.
This year’s big event was an evening with co-headliners, Jerry Seinfeld and Gad Elmaleh. According to Hills, the show was conceived at last year’s fest, when Elmaleh said to him, “Imagine if I could talk Jerry into one hour at the Bell Centre?”
Another highlight for Hills, was watching Kevin Hart take the stage, as a last-minute addition to the Midnight Surprise show. “I just sat at the back of the room and watched the audience’s reaction… It’s one of the reasons I do this job.”
The Mob’s Press and Mobtreal had an incredible time at this year’s festival. Some of our favorite moments include JFL’s The Nasty Show and The Ethnic Show. Mobtreal was thrilled to chat with comedians Chris Fleming, DeAnne Smith, Jen Kirkman, Mark Critch, Sasheer Zamata, Debra DiGiovanni, Joel McHale, Robert Kelly, Moshe Kasher, Natasha Leggero, Dan Ramos, Ryan Hamilton, Mike Rita and D.J. Mausner.
We can’t wait for JFL36, with so many more laughs to come!