Just for Laughs ComedyPRO Sets the Bar High for the Business of Funny

June 27, 2018

comedypro-funny-businessJust for Laughs ComedyPRO
Sets the Bar High for the Business of Funny

Industry panels, keynotes, podcasts, pitch sessions,
concept showcases and networking events
feature the who’s who of the comedy industry
July 25 – 28, in Montreal, Canada

Roster of panelists includes talent and C-Suite executives from
Amazon Studios, Bell Media, CBC, CBS, Comedy Central, FOX, HBO, Hulu,
Mitú, Powderkeg, NBC, TBS, YouTube Originals and others

Montreal, PQ [June 27, 2018]— Just For Laughs ComedyPRO sets the bar high for all things funny when the who’s who of the comedy industry meets in Montreal, Canada for four days of industry panels, keynotes, concept showcases and networking events.

Now in its eleventh year, Just For Laughs ComedyPRO takes place July 25 – 28 during the peak dates of the Just For Laughs Festival, providing exclusive access to some of the most sought-after speakers, headliners, performers and executives in the business.

“People in the comedy industry are hungry to make connections, learn about the latest business opportunities, and discover exciting new talent,” says Paul Ronca, Director of Industry & Special Events Programming at Just For Laughs. “We provide the perfect forum for them to do all this and more.”

This year, Just For Laughs ComedyPRO offers an expanded selection of industry panels covering a variety of current topics, adding to previously announced keynote addresses from Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Anthony Atamanuik (The President Show) and Mark Forward (Letterkenny) and Rebecca Kohler (Schitt’s Creek); the annual State of the Industry Address from Andy Kindler; and a special presentation of Throwback hosted by Wanda Sykes and produced by Page Hurwitz.

In alphabetical order, this year’s panels, pitch programs and showcase events include:

Bell Media: The Multi-Channel Approach to Comedy
An insider’s look at the Canadian broadcaster’s multi-channel opportunities across CraveTV, Much Studios, SnackableTV and CTV. Moderated by Mike Veerman, Host of Mike on Much. With panelists:
* Justin Stockman, Vice President, Pay and OTT Services, Bell Media
* Kevin Barton, Programming Director, SnackableTV, Bell Media
* Mike McShane, Director, Business and Partnerships, Bell Media
* Sarah Fowlie, Director, Comedy Original Programming, Bell Media

Beyond The Box: Playing It Short (Presented by Some Spider Studios in Association with Tubefilter)
Five teams pitch their ideas for the funniest, most innovative digital-first content. Moderated by Drew Baldwin, Founder and CEO of Tubefilter. With panelists:
* Ben Relles, Head of Unscripted Comedy, YouTube Originals
* Chris Kelley, Production Executive, Comedy, Bell Media
* Kesila Childers, Vice President, Development, Powderkeg
* Nathan Kloke, Head of Production, Above Average
* Peter Putka, Executive Producer Development & Production, Some Spider Studios
* Spencer Griffin, Creative Executive, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios

CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program
An opportunity for five Canadian creator/producer teams to pitch their original web or TV concepts to development executives and key creatives from CBC Comedy. Panelists include:
* Becky Johnson, Space Riders: Division Earth
* Michelle Daly, Senior Director, Comedy, CBC Scripted Content
* Zach Feldberg, Executive in Charge of Production, Digital Originals, CBC

Comedy Club Bookers: The Gatekeepers of Comedy
Through all the changes and upheaval in the media landscape, the comedy club is still alive and well. Four of the best bookers in the world discuss how they are handling the tectonic shifts of the live comedy industry. Jeff Singer, TV Producer/US Talent Scout for Just For Laughs moderates. With panelists:
* Erin Von Schonfeldt, Executive Vice President, Talent, Levity Live
* Marc Grossman, Owner, Helium Comedy Club
* Mark Breslin, CEO/Founder, Yuk Yuk’s Inc.
* Wende Curtis, CEO, Comedy Works

Creators of Primetime Animation
Meet the courageous creators, hard-working head writers, and sleepless showrunners of today’s biggest animated comedy series. Moderated by Jennifer Wolfe, Editor-In-Chief, Animation World Network. With panelists:
* Brent Butt, Creator, Corner Gas Animated, Bell Media
* Danny Smith, Executive Producer, Family Guy, FOX
* Mike Luciano, Co-creator, Animals., HBO
* Patrick Meighan, Executive Producer, Family Guy, FOX
* Peter Girardi, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Warner Bros. Animation / Executive Vice President, Blue Ribbon Content
* Phil Matarese, Co-creator, Animals., HBO

From Set to Screen: TV, OTT, SVOD and More (Presented by Project 10 Productions in Association with the Independent Filmmaker Project)
An open pitch forum which invites comedians, writers and sketch performers to pitch their best long-form content ideas. Opening remarks by Amy Dotson, Deputy Director & Head of Programming, IFP. Moderated by Andrew Barnsley, President & Executive Producer, Project 10 Productions. With panelists:
* Ada Chiaghana, Director of Original Programming, HBO
* Ashley Golden, Director, Original Programming, TBS
* Billy Rosenberg, Director and Head of Comedy Originals, Hulu
* Gina Kwon, Co-Head of Comedy/Half-Hour TV, Amazon Studios
* Jonathan Gabay, Senior Vice President, Comedy Development & Programming, FOX Broadcasting Company
* Sarah Weaver, Director, Programming & Planning, Specialty Channels, Bell Media

Global Laughter: Perspectives on International Comedy
Led by Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani, a panel of internationally-known comedians will focus on their craft, how they adapt their material (if at all) in their travels, and how they continue to keep audiences laughing around the world.

In Short Supply? Comedy and Diversity on the Web
Online comedy executives discuss how their platforms, and how the internet in general, has responded to the call for inclusivity. Moderated by Zain Meghji, Head of Video Content, Daily Hive. With panelists:
* Gina Reyes, Vice President, Scripted Development, Mitú
* Jennifer Danielson, Senior Vice President, Digital, Comedy Central
* Laura Fischer, CEO, Powderkeg

JFL/Thruline Television Staged Readings
Director Jeremy Garelick (The Wedding Ringer) leads an all-star cast of actors and comedians in a read through of an un-produced and unencumbered script.

Laughing Your Way to Success: A Focus on Comedy Programming for TV
Learn how comedy makes dollars and sense in a fragmented media market. Moderated by Richard Crouse, host of CTV’s Pop Life. With panelists:
* Alec Botnick, Senior Vice President, Comedy Development, CBS Television Studios
* Christine Walters, Executive Producer, Original Programming & Development, truTV
* Colin Davis, Senior Director, Original Programming, TBS
* David Sleven, Vice President, Comedy Development, NBC Entertainment
* K.P. Anderson, President/CEO, Pygmy Wolf Productions, Ltd.
* Samata Narra, Senior Vice President, Comedy Programming and Development, FOX Broadcasting Company

Political Comedy in the Pre-Apocalyptic World
Meet a few of the fearless comics with strong opinions who find the funny in today’s world of instant news and deep political divide. Moderated by host and author Baratunde Thurston. With panelists:
* Anthony Atamanuik
* Gina Yashere
* Judah Friedlander

Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch Uncensored 2018 (Presented by Cohen Gardner LLP)
An hour of pure, uncensored, and honest conversation about comedy with the best and brightest comics of the year. Moderated by Jenelle Riley, Deputy Awards and Features Editor for Variety, and featuring:
* Amanda Seales
* Darren Knight (Southern Momma)
* Dulcé Sloan
* Hari Kondabolu
* Jaboukie Young-White
* Joel Kim Booster
* Julio Torres
* Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle
* Sam Jay
* Taylor Tomlinson

Just For Laughs ComedyPRO takes place July 25 – 28, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Montreal. Industry passes are now on sale at

About Just For Laughs ComedyPRO:
Just For Laughs ComedyPRO is a unique, annual global gathering of the biggest players in the comedy industry. The event takes place during the peak industry/media/performer dates of the Just For Laughs Festival. You simply cannot get any closer to the people who truly make comedy happen than at Just For Laughs ComedyPRO! Registrants for this one-of-a-kind, four-day industry experience gain exclusive access to some of the most sought-after events in all of comedy, including keynotes, panels, ‘In Conversation’ sessions, industry luncheons, cocktail parties, and exclusive live performances from comedy’s buzziest podcast hosts. Just For Laughs ComedyPRO also plays host to Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch showcase, the prestigious New Faces showcase series, and the Homegrown Comic Competition.

About Just For Laughs Group:
Founded in 1983, the Just For Laughs Group concentrates on three major focal points: festivals (in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney); television production and stand-up specials, most notably Gags, seen in 135 countries and on 95 airlines; and live shows, including Canadian tour dates for Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Bill Burr, Kevin Hart, Jimmy Carr, Danny Bhoy, and North American dates for John Cleese & Eric Idle and Family Guy Live! to name a few. The Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, which celebrates its 36th edition in 2018, is the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy event, welcoming more than 2 million people each summer. The Group has offices in Montreal, Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, and London.

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