JFL sets Toronto lineup


Hometown boy Howie Mandel, Craig Ferguson and George Lopez are to headline the inaugural Just For Laughs Toronto Festival in July, organizers said Tuesday.

Montreal-based Just For Laughs said that the three comedians will host main-stage galas July 26-28. Stand-up acts booked for Toronto include Richard Lewis, Just For Laughs veteran John Pinette and Canadian comic Russell Peters.

Just For Laughs also has called on a host of other Montreal festival veterans to entertain Toronto crowds, including Kathleen Madigan and Alonzo Bodden, both from "Last Comic Standing," Canadian comics Jeremy Hotz, Elvira Kurt and Derek Edwards as well as Greg Giraldo, Bob Marley, Bill Burr and Tom Papa.

Just for Laughs COO Bruce Hill said that the 30 comics lined up for Toronto represent a mix of established names and festival veterans. "It's a luxury of riches," Hill said of his bookings for the $2.25 million inaugural Toronto event.

Following the Montreal tradition, Just For Laughs also has drawn on international talent for its first-ever Toronto edition, including Ireland's Ardal O'Hanlon ("Father Ted") and the U.K.'s Frank Skinner.

And tailoring its offerings to Toronto's multicultural audiences, the Just For Laughs festival there will stage the Ethnic Heroes of Comedy, hosted by Greek comic Angelo Tsarouchas and Italian-Canadian stand-up Frank Spadone.

Rounding out Toronto will be a two-day outdoor festival, with a free concert hosted by Russell Peters.