Ellen DeGeneres, George Lopez, Bill Engvall, Lisa Lampanelli, Jimmy Fallon, David Alan Grier, Russell Peters, Louis CK, Jim Jefferies, Bob Odenkirk and Andy Dick among Talent Slated to Keep Chicago in Stitches June 17-21, 2009
TBS to Create Three Original Specials from Festival Showcases
Tickets Go on Sale Monday, April 6, for Week-Long Event, A Co-Production of Comedy Giants TBS and Montreal's Just For Laughs
With less than three months left on the countdown clock, the first-ever TBS PRESENTS A "VERY FUNNY" FESTIVAL: JUST FOR LAUGHS in Chicago has amassed an extraordinary roster of comic talents. The week-long Festival - a new, annual partnership bringing together the unprecedented comedy forces of TBS and Montreal's Just For Laughs - will feature performances from such top-name comedians as Ellen DeGeneres, George Lopez, Bill Engvall, Lisa Lampanelli, Jimmy Fallon, David Alan Grier, Russell Peters, Louis CK, Jim Jefferies, Bob Odenkirk and Andy Dick. In addition, TBS will tape three specials to air in June.
TBS PRESENTS A "VERY FUNNY" FESTIVAL: JUST FOR LAUGHS promises to be a landmark event for Chicago, which is home to a rich comedy heritage that includes an abundance of improv and sketch troupes and some of the most familiar names in the business. More than 70 shows will take place at various venues across the Chicago area, with special presentations such as concert events at The Chicago Theatre and the Rosemont Theatre. The Festival will include The Nasty Show, a favorite from Montreal's Just For Laughs, held at The Vic Theatre; a collection of cutting-edge talent at the Lakeshore Theater; and homegrown performances featuring the best local Chicago comedians, sketch and improv performers and troupes at such venues as iO Theater, The Lincoln Lodge, The Playground Theater and Annoyance Theater. In addition to the countless live performances taking place during the Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will host four nights of the best independent comedic shorts and feature films from around the world.
"TBS is the top comedy network, and we're proud to bring this great new event to Chicago," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "Just For Laughs is the perfect partner to create a spectacular festival. We're also excited to use the event to create three specials for TBS."
"While our festival in Montreal made its humble beginning as a three-night local comedy showcase 27 years ago, Chicago has a rich history in comedy that needs no introduction," said Gilbert Rozon, president of Just For Laughs. "We are confident that the elite roster of talent at our inaugural event this summer will secure our status as the premier comedy festival in the United States. So it seems our plan for world domination is coming along rather nicely."
TBS will give viewers around the country a chance to get in on the fun by presenting three television specials from the event, including Ellen's Bigger Longer and Wider Show, a variety showcase hosted by DeGeneres; Comedy You Can Believe In with David Alan Grier, an all-star standup special hosted by Grier; and a third special to be announced later.
This event marks the first Just For Laughs comedy festival in the United States. TBS and Just For Laughs are also collaborating with the largest independent promoter in the United States, Chicago-based Jam Productions, LTD and Outback Concerts.
TBS PRESENTS A "VERY FUNNY" FESTIVAL: JUST FOR LAUGHS will take place Wednesday, June 17 - Sunday, June 21, 2009. Additional programming will be announced soon. Beginning April 6, tickets for performances at The Chicago Theatre, The Vic Theatre and the Rosemont Theatre will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800/745-3000. Tickets also will be available at respective venue box offices. Programming for the Lakeshore Theater and the Gene Siskel Film Center will be announced April 20, with tickets to go on sale April 24. Additional Festival information is available at www.justforlaughschicago.com.
Wednesday, June 17 - Sunday, June 21
Talent and Show Lineup
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen's Bigger Longer and Wider Show - Wednesday, June 17
DeGeneres will blow the roof off The Chicago Theatre with the third edition of her variety show, which features live music, dancers and unique specialty acts. The show, which will air on TBS, will be produced by Telepictures Productions, with Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin and Andy Lassner, whose credits include DeGeneres' Emmy®-winning talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, serving as executive producers.
An All-Star Comedy Show hosted by Russell Peters - Friday, June 19
The Canadian comedian, whose rise to fame has been unprecedented, will host an all-star lineup of comedians ready to take Chicago by storm.
Lisa Lampanelli - Saturday, June 20
Coming off her smash hit and first-ever HBO Special, Long Live the Queen, Lampanelli will bring her abrasively funny stand-up to the Festival for a special, one-night appearance.
THE VIC THEATRE
The Nasty Show starring Louis CK and featuring Nick Di Paolo, Patrice O'Neal and Jim Jefferies - Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19
This favorite from Montreal's annual Just For Laughs Festival will feature some of the funniest (and filthiest) comics around.
Comedy You Can Believe In with David Alan Grier - Friday, June 19
This TBS special being filmed at The Vic Theatre will feature host Grier and an exciting group of all-star comedians.
Bill Engvall: Aged and Confused - Saturday, June 20
The star of TBS's popular The Bill Engvall Show will regale fans with his brand of highly relatable comedy.
Jimmy Fallon: Live in Concert - Saturday, June 20
This event will give fans an opportunity to check out the new Late Night star in the flesh when he performs live.
George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano - Just added Thursday, June 18
Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20 tickets already on sale
Lopez, one of the country's most popular standup comedians and host of his own late-night series on TBS this fall, adds a third show, extending his run at the Rosemont Theatre.
LAKESHORE THEATRE (additional performances and dates to be announced)
Jim Jefferies: Hammered - The foul-mouthed Aussie comedian shows that no topic is sacred, joining the Lakeshore line-up with a special presentation of his solo show, following his upcoming HBO special.
Bob Odenkirk and Friends - This event features the Mr. Show icon and a hand-picked group of his favorite Chicago comedians and friends.
Andy Dick - The famed comedian will bring his frenetic style to the Lakeshore.
Patrice O'Neal: Positivity - From private parts to politics, Positivity is a funny, righteous look at O'Neal's incident-crowded life.
TBS PRESENTS A "VERY FUNNY" FESTIVAL: JUST FOR LAUGHS and the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are partnering on four nights of the best independent comedic shorts and feature films from around the world. This event will take place within Indie Comedy - The Christopher Wetzel Award for Independent Film Comedy, which was created at the Gene Siskel Film Center to support independent filmmakers. More details to be announced.
CHICAGO'S LOCAL COMEDY
Some of comedy's biggest stars cut their chops on Chicago's stages. One of the pillars of the Festival will be an extensive grassroots programming line-up that will showcase the next generation of Chicago talent. Just For Laughs has joined forces with not only some of Chicago's most respected comedy ensembles (like Schadenfreude and Chicagoland) but also theaters that feature their groundbreaking work. The Festival will work with the historic iO Theater, the annual mainstay Chicago Sketchfest, the prolific Annoyance Theatre, the experimental Playground Theater and the trailblazing standup venue The Lincoln Lodge.
Thursday, June 18
Best of Sketchfest will feature the six top sketch groups picked from Chicago's January Sketch Festival. (Repeat performance Friday, June 19)
Bob Odenkirk's Best Of… will feature Sketchfest comics teaming up with Odenkirk for a night of marvelously twisted comedy. (Repeat performance Friday, June 19)
Saturday, June 20
Improvised Shakespeare Company brings the bard's language to life through improv in one of Chicago's must-see shows.
Whirled News Tonight features an ensemble of iO improvisers ripping their scenic inspiration from the latest headlines. It's a treat for comedy and news junkies alike.
The Late Night Late Show marks the return of a Chicago favorite, an improvised midnight talk show featuring celebrity guests.
The Lincoln Lodge
Wednesday, June 17
Homecoming will feature Chicago's brightest comedy alums reuniting for a special show. (Repeat performance Thursday, June 18)
Friday, June 19
Chicago Stand-Up Run-Down will bring a who's who of top local talent to The Lincoln Lodge. (Repeat performance Saturday, June 20)
Thursday, June 18
Messing with a Friend features Susan Messing, one of Chicago's finest improvisers, co-starring with a guest celebrity. She takes her guest partner to hilariously uncomfortable places.
Friday, June 19
Paul Provenza's Green Room will feature the executive producer/director of The Aristocrats moderating casual, heady discussions about comedy with some of the top names from the Festival. (Repeat performance Saturday, June 20)
Saturday, June 20
Chicagoland is an all-star show with comedy veterans coming together for a special night of improv.
Schadenfreude Rent Party is a multimedia, high-energy comedy show marking the return of one of Chicago's most venerated sketch comedy ensembles. It also features shorts by popular filmmaker Steve Delahoyde.
Sunday, June 21
The Best Church of God, a mock, sermon-based sketch show, offers an opportunity to purge the overindulgence of comedy from everyone's system.
The Playground Theater
Friday, June 19
Alone: Chicago's Best Solo Acts, a collection of outstanding standup solo artists, comes to The Playground Theater.
Saturday, June 20
Don't Spit the Water, Chicago's popular live game show, returns from hiatus for back-to-back outings at the Playground, its former home.
About Just For Laughs
Just For Laughs is active in many areas of entertainment production including festivals, television, theater and touring. Its inaugural festival 27 years ago is now the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event welcoming over 2 million people each summer. During its 27 years, the Montreal Festival has featured some of the top comics in the world, including Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Dane Cook, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and Tim Allen. Each year, more than 1,000 industry executives are drawn to Montreal for what is considered the hottest breeding ground for new talent. In spring 2006, the company's French division launched the Festival Juste pour rire Nantes Atlantique in France and, in 2007, Just For Laughs launched the Just For Laughs Toronto Festival, both to great success. The newest city added to the list is Chicago with TBS Presents a "Very Funny" Festival: Just For Laughs, set to debut this summer. The company also successfully tours across the globe bringing some of the festivals' best talent to Canada, the United States, Bermuda and Asia and has personal management offices in Los Angeles, Paris, London and Montreal. Just For Laughs television shows are seen in over 139 countries and on more than 97 airlines around the world and in the past have been seen on MTV, Showtime, HBO, CMT, BBC America, ABC and Fox. Just For Laughs: Montreal is premiering on Comedy Central this May. Just For Laughs is currently seen in Canada on CBC, as well as The Comedy Network.
TBS, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is television's top-rated comedy network. It serves as home to such original comedy series as My Boys, The Bill Engvall Show, 10 Items or Less, Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Meet the Browns; an eagerly anticipated late-night series starring George Lopez; hot contemporary comedies like The Office, My Name is Earl, Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, King of Queens, Seinfeld and Friends; specials like Funniest Commercials of the Year; special events, such as TBS Presents a "Very Funny" Festival: Just For Laughs in Chicago in June; blockbuster movies; and hosted movie showcases.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.