Presenting The Highlights Of The Just For laughs Comedy Festival

Comedy News

The 38th Festival Juste pour rire / Just For Laughs Festival, presented by La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services in collaboration with Loto-Québec, has come to an end, and the Just For Laughs Group is proud to highlight the work of the artisans, artists and members of its team who, despite the closure of venues, produced an extraordinary festival. We would also like to mention the unwavering support of our public and private partners, who made this year’s festival possible and allowed the best of comedy to shine throughout the event.

The 38th Festival Juste pour rire / Just For Laughs Festival brought together 352 artists and 48 shows that allowed more than 778,000 people to enjoy the comedy content made available to them. Viewers from across North America, the UK and as far away as Sydney tuned into the Festival, reflecting the essential role of humour in these difficult times.

“The success of our first-ever digital festival proves that Just For Laughs really is a trailblazing organization, able to lead the industry and forge the way in creating something really unique, interactive and above all funny, despite the world’s current circumstances” said Charles Décarie, President and CEO of the Groupe Juste pour rire. “We were thrilled to see just how many people tuned into the digital festival over the weekend and are so pleased that we could curate a lineup with programming that provided so much levity and laughter to such a wide audience.”

According to an audience survey, 90% of the audience enjoyed their experience and 87% would be willing to participate in another online edition. It should also be noted that this digital festival allowed the Just For Laughs Group to increase its customer base by 23%.


The microsite designed especially for the duration of the Festival was a resounding success with 522,004 visits.

The top three most-watched online shows were Special Screening of Notebooks with Owen Smith on Laugh Out Loud, Le Grand Live Tangerine with Pierre-Yves Roy Desmarais and his guests, and Sainte Marie-Josée part en croisade, featuring Rosalie Vaillancourt. All of the shows presented generated a total of 88,896 hours of viewing, underscoring the comedy giant’s place in the world.

“We are so pleased with the growth of our online presence through our multiple content channels. We have many priorities as a comedy leader and face the same challenges as other companies in these uncertain times. However, one thing has been proven again; we have the best team and our efforts to increase our digital strength and reach has been verified by the success of this virtual event that brought together festival-goers from around the globe,” said Anne Belliveau, Chief Marketing Officer at Groupe Juste pour rire. 


With an exciting two-day digital event, Just For Laughs was able to curate an inimitable comedy experience, including special programming that focused on today’s timely and important topics discussed by leading comedy voices. The festival is so pleased that viewers across North America, the UK and as far as Sydney, Australia joined the festivities online, verifying that laughter can really bring us together during these trying times.

Comedy mega-star, Kevin Hart’s, global comedy brand Laugh Out Loud (LOL), and its experiential division, LOL X served as the exclusive programming partner for this year’s festival, working tirelessly alongside JFL programmers to launch this first-ever festival of its kind.  Highlighting a robust lineup dedicated to celebrating Comedy in Color, the first-ever virtual Just For Laughs Festival featured multiple digital comedy rooms with a hybrid of programming in the form of conversations, live discussions, and panels, designed specifically for online audiences.

With so many festival highlights, some of the top moments from the weekend included:

The festival’s kickoff event with comedy juggernauts Kevin Hart and Judd Apatow who reminisced about their start in comedy and how they first met, and provided great advice to those starting out in the business.

LOL’s Special Screening of Notebooks with producer, actor and comedian Owen Smith’s popular series, Notebooks featured top stand-up comedians with surprise festival appearances by Joe Rogan and Neal Brennan, sitting down with Owen to discuss their careers, creative writing process, comedy and more.

One of the most in demand comedians of today, Sarah Cooper, chatted with Tig Notaro, who shared insights on the power of comedy fans on social media by posting a tweet that Tig wrote on Sarah’s page and following the “likes” throughout their conversation, proving it’s the context of the joke that makes the tweet go viral!

Comedy Sessions with Howie Mandel was raw, powerful and real with conversations between artists that were intensely interesting to watch. Chelsea Handler, moderated by Nicole Stamp, saw Handler at her best with the raw honest truth of the world around us—uncensored and unedited as she also discussed what it was like filming her latest stand-up special during COVID times, set to come out on HBO Max on October 22nd.


Canada’s Drag Race presented by Crave was pure chaotic energy from start to finish! This lively conversation with the Top 4 finalists, JIMBO, Rita Baga, Scarlett Bobo and Canada’s First Drag Superstar, Priyanka, spilled the tea on the antics behind the scenes; and what a treat to have judge Stacey McKenzie join in from Jamaica.


Conversations with Funny People – Hannah Gadsby & DeAnne Smith, presented by VIA Rail Canada was a blast as we watched Hannah and DeAnne “speed dating.” This live, unscripted conversation left us all feeling like their BFFs. The newest comedy stars in the business got to shine in front of industry and fans in New Faces: Creators and Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” panel.


“It’s great to see that we’ve been able to reach so many people and bring them together around laughter, which remains the core of Juste pour rire and what we do best,” said Patrick Rozon, Vice President of French-Language Content for the Groupe Juste pour rire. “With regard to the Festival’s English-language programming, we are even more satisfied to see that artists from around the world answered the call and offered innovative, high-quality content. We can proudly say: mission accomplished!” added Bruce Hills, President of Just For Laughs.



352 performers

48 shows

5.3 million minutes of entertainment viewing time

More than half a million visits to the Festival site

778,864 people in attendance

90% of festival-goers enjoyed the Festival

23% are new customers




The Groupe Juste pour rire would also like to thank its longstanding partners, without whom this unprecedented edition would not have been possible: La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services, Loto-Québec, Tangerine, Bell and Tim Hortons, for their invaluable contribution to enhancing the content and providing festival-goers with enriching experiences. Special thanks to our media partnersNoovo, ÉNERGIE, Rouge, La Presse and ICI Première for their valuable support in disseminating and communicating our messages to the widest possible audience. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the exceptional help and support of our public partners, the Government of Canada – Canada Economic Development and Canadian Heritage, the Government of Quebec – Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine and SODEC, Tourisme Montréal and the Ville de Montréal.


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