Just for Laughs has announced the second wave of performers for its 2019 festival. Among those joining this year’s lineup are comedy giants Wanda Sykes (who’ll be hosting a gala), Nick Kroll, Pete Holmes, roastmaster Jeff Ross (bringing back The Roastmaster’s Invitational, Jackass’s Steve-O and The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng.
The festival also has a knack for the unconventional, and on July 25, Detroit Pistons basketball player Blake Griffin will host his own comedy. By Blake show. Proceeds from the event will go to his Team Griffin Foundation charity. The NBA star previously hosted Just for Laughs’ Midnight Surprise series in 2016.
“Just for Laughs is my favourite comedy festival and it holds a lot of special memories for me,” Griffin said about his return to Montreal. “I’m so appreciative that comedy. By Blake has been added to the summer roster. Hopefully we don’t screw it up”
Among other wildcards on the bill is Black Thought of the Roots/The Tonight Show fame. Born Tariq Trotter, the legendary lyricist will host “Black Thought Presents: Delirious,” a showcase of new comedians tackling worldly topics with tons of bite.
Podcast fanatics have tons to look forward to at this year’s festival. Among the series recording live tapings at Just for Laughs are Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael’s How Did This Get Made?, which dissects some of the worst films ever made, Michael Rapaport’s I Am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast, Pete Holmes’ You Made It Weird and Nicole Byer’s Why Won’t You Date Me?, among others.
Just for Laughs’ subsidiary of smaller-scaled shows, Off-JFL, brings an impressive batch of both new and returning names, including festival legend Andy Kindler, Corporate’s Sasheer Zamata, Undateable’s Ron Funches and everyone’s favourite identical twins the Lucas Brothers, who are set to star in a semi-autobiographical film directed by Judd Apatow.
These comedians join an already impressive line-up including Trevor Noah (who plays this year’s big Bell Centre show), Aziz Ansari, Howie Mandel and Rachel Bloom. Additionally, Adam Sandler will hit the city on June 8 for 100% Fresher, an evening of music and comedy (also featuring fellow SNL alum Rob Schneider), fresh off the heels of his critically acclaimed Netflix stand-up special 100% Fresh. ■
Just for Laughs runs from July 10–28. Tickets to all shows announced today go on sale this Friday, May 24.