Every year the Just For Laughs Festival honors entertainers in the comedy field with awards. This year is no different and the announcements have been made.
Writer, actor, director and one of the biggest stars in comedy today, Aziz Ansari is this year’s Just For Laughs Comedy Person of the Year, heading a star-studded list that includes Sebastian Maniscalco, Maria Bamford, Mike Judge and Alec Berg. All five will receive their awards at the Just For Laughs Awards Show, presented by Air Canada and hosted by JB Smoove, on Friday, July 29th at 4:30 pm in the Grand Salon Opera, Hyatt Regency Montreal, part of JFL ComedyPRO. Let’s break it all down:
Comedy Person of the Year
Aziz Ansari stars, writes and directs Master of None, a new Netflix original comedy series loosely based on his own life experience. Created by Aziz and Parks and Recreation writer, Alan Yang, the series premiered in November 2015 to superlative reviews with The New York Times, calling it “the year’s best comedy straight out of the gate.” Last year, Ansari became one of the only headlining comedians ever to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York City. His two sold-out performances at the legendary arena were filmed for his fourth comedy special, Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden. He recently released his first book, Modern Romance, which debuted at #2 on The New York Times “bestseller” list. Ansari came up through the comedy trenches as a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and the sketch comedy group, Human Giant, to become this year’s Comedy Person of the Year.
Stand-Up Comedian of the Year
Following eleven sold-out performances at last year’s Just For Laughs Festival, Sebastian Maniscalco is the unanimous choice for Stand-Up Comedian of the Year. Saying what we’re all thinking has always been Sebastian Maniscalco’s specialty. Except when he says it, it’s a whole lot funnier — and that has fans across North America showing up in droves for his shows and millions tuning in for his network specials. Singled out by The New York Times as a comic with his “own kind of panache,” Sebastian makes his move to the big screen, this year, with several major motion picture appearances, including The House (starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler), indie drama Cruise, and a voice-over role in the animated feature Nut Job 2. Maniscalco returns this fall to Showtime with his third stand up special, which he wrote and executive produced.
Breakout Comedy Star of the Year
Maria Bamford is the star and executive producer of Lady Dynamite, a new Netflix original comedy series where she plays a fictionalized version of herself. She is the creator and star of Maria Bamford: the special special special and of the cult web series, The Maria Bamford Show. The first female comic to have her own two half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials, Bamford has also starred in the Comedy Central series The Comedians of Comedy and Netflix’s Comedians of Comedy: The Movie. She has voiced characters on numerous animated series, including BoJack Horseman, Adventure Time, Legend of Korra, Puss in Boots and PBS’s Emmy-winning series, Word Girl. New York Magazine calls Bamford “ridiculously original, odd and confessional…she’s transcendent” — making her an obvious choice for 2016 Breakout Comedy Star of the Year.
Comedy Writers of the Year
Comedy veterans Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Office Space, Idiocracy) and Alec Berg (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) are the writers, directors and executive producers behind HBO’s Emmy-winning Silicon Valley, a comedy series which sends up the world of tech startups. Silicon Valley has received much acclaim as “the best and funniest full-on comedy in years” (Hollywood Reporter). Mike Judge is a writer, producer, and director who created the animated TV series Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill. Alec Berg is best known as a writer, executive producer, and director for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. It comes as no surprise that Judge and Berg are the 2016 Comedy Writers of the Year. The duo start production soon on the fourth season of Silicon Valley.
Additional announcement were also among the recent news from JFL. Kevin Hart Presents LOL Live at JFLMTL. This will be a six-night event showcasing some of the best comedians from around the world and appearing at the Just For Laughs Festival. It will be filmed exclusively for Hart’s new digital Laugh Out Loud Network, a video-on-demand service which offers viewers exclusive curated content. With 12 unique filmed performances over six nights in an intimate venue, ticket holders will get an up close and personal experience. Catch them all from July 26-31, 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm, at Théatre Berri.
And finally, the Mega Stars of Comedy Gala lineup has officially been announced. With so many amazing acts coming to Just For Laughs, it’s impossible to see them all… but not anymore thanks to the Mega Stars of Comedy Gala! This one-of-a-kind Videotron Gala presented by Air Canada features world-class headliners including Scottish funny man Danny Bhoy, king of the rant Lewis Black, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s JB Smoove, Canadian favourite Gerry Dee, Whose Line is It Anyway?’s Greg Proops, and more to be announced. Catch these mega stars performing on a single night, July 30 at 7:00 pm, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Place des Arts.