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Just for Laughs 2011

From Montreal Gazette – Read whole article here

MONTREAL – It’s a wrap for the 29th Just for Laughs festival. Just as well, because our sides are aching from nearly a month’s worth of guffaws.

But the challenge wasn’t just lining up stellar stand-ups and stars from the tube to titillate us. This year’s fest also entailed major change: moving a majority of the indoor and outdoor shows to the Quartier des Spectacles around Place des Arts.

Montrealers can be mightily resistant to change, but the consensus was that the move to centralize to the funkier Quartier des Spectacles – from the former and often ragtag St. Denis St. epicentre – was a major success. Certainly, the comics weren’t complaining. The unfinished portions of Ste. Catherine and St. Urbain Sts. provided them with endless fodder about our endless road construction woes – though it may not be so funny for the rest of us.

The numbers seem to support the move as well. Close to 2 million people – an increase over last year’s attendance figures, according to Just for Laughs – took in the fest’s 2,000-plus indoor and outdoor shows, feauring more than 500 French and English performers from 20 countries. Nearly 135,000 tickets were sold to the 158 indoor shows.

On the anglo side, this year’s fest marked the largest number of gala tickets sold. No big surprise, since the new venue, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier of Place des Arts, is larger than Théâtre St. Denis, the previous site for those shows. It didn’t hurt that Russell Peters hosted four sold-out galas. On the non-gala front, tickets were all gobbled up for the Louis C.K. and Daniel Tosh shows at Théâtre Maisonneuve of Place des Arts.

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