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Comedy company taking over from Just For Laughs vows to include English acts


The head of the comedy company stepping in to take over from the troubled Just For Laughs franchise says he will make space for English-language content in future festivals, but he will "need time" to make a long-term plan.

On Monday, a Quebec Superior Court judge approved a deal that allowed ComediHa! to acquire brands Juste pour rire, Just For Laughs, Zoofest, ComedyPro, the Gags, as well as the audiovisual catalogue.

The approval came after Just For Laughs' financial woes led to the cancellation of its Montreal and Toronto festivals.

ComediHa! had previously announced that it will host a comedy festival in Montreal at the end of July just before its flagship event in Quebec City.

Tuesday, CEO Sylvain Parent-Bédard told CTV News that there will be some English acts.

"When the problems happened with Just For Laughs, we did begin to plan in March to do a comedy festival in Montreal because we know that the metropolis is a cornerstone of comedy around the world," he said. "We plan to do a 10-day festival, mostly in French, but we're going to have a side of it that's going to be in English under the brand of Just For Laughs with new comedian faces, new Canadian stars and also American stars that we are going to announce next week."

The news is a cautious relief for English-speaking comedians in Montreal.

"I'm glad the void is filled, but when it comes to the English side there's still a very big void," said Montreal comedian Joey Elias. 

Parent-Bédard said it will take "time to make good decisions" about the path forward.

"Next year, we should be back as it used to be," he said in reference to the flagship JFL festival.

The ComediHa! salue Montréal festival will take place July 18 to 28 at Place des Festivals in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles, Place des Arts, Espace Saint-Denis and Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne.

More information is available on their website.

-- with files from CTV Montreal's Maya Johnson and The Canadian Press. Top Stories

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