There will be no chuckles in the streets of Montreal this summer: the Just for Laughs Group revealed Tuesday that the 2024 editions of Just for Laughs/Juste pour rire have been cancelled. 

The company also announced it is seeking protection from its creditors as it begins formal restructuring under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.


A Just for Laughs Group spokesperson confirmed to The Canadian Press that it has laid off 70 per cent of its work force — about 75 people — and cancelled seven francophone shows that had been scheduled. He said people who have purchased tickets or passes can return them to the box office where they were purchased or contact their credit card company if they purchased them directly from the festival.

The Just for Laughs Group noted that the Toronto Just for Laughs fest, set to take place in September, has not been cancelled since it is administered by a separate group. (On Thursday, the group changed its mind, announcing the Toronto festival would be cancelled after all.)


Evidently, reduced revenues along with the pandemic and tough inflationary times all led to these decisions. The company is hoping to bring the festivals back in 2025. It also plans to maintain operations, although in a far more scaled-down format, throughout the restructuring process.


But this is dreadful news for the Montreal festivals, which began in 1983 and brought the biggest names in the comedy world to town. It is also dreadful news for the city economy, which has benefited in a huge way from the funds the fests generated from locals and tourists alike.