There’s a lot of controversy around a recent decision by SiriusXM Canada to turn their Canada Laughs channel over to the people behind the famous Just for Laughs festivals.
Until now, Canada laughs exclusively played stand up comedy submitted by Canadian comedians, curated by SiriusXM producers. We’re told it provided a significant revenue stream to comics from up North. This weekend, word spread that the channel was changing. That Just for Laughs would now curate the channel with their own content, and Canadian comics would be out of luck.
As of Sunday, no official word on the change has been released yet from SiriusXM Canada or Just For Laughs, but our sources told us that comedians and labels who had previously submitted tracks to the channel were being notified of the change just before the weekend. Word started to spread around social media, and comedians were pretty unhappy with the news that independent Canadian comics were being pushed out. Some sources estimate that this could be a collective six-figure loss for contributing Canadian comics who had come to depend on that revenue to supplement their income. And there were odd (and unsubstantiated) rumors that Just for Laughs would only be playing pre-2012 content, leading many to speculate that this was somehow to avoid paying royalties to comedians.