Brownstein: Comics not chuckling over Just for Laughs Radio

The fear is that comedians will lose a large chunk of their revenues under a new arrangement with SiriusXM Canada.

It’s not set to launch officially until the spring, but already the announcement that SiriusXM Canada and Just for Laughs have teamed up to create Just for Laughs Radio — replacing the financially beleaguered Canada Laughs on SiriusXM Canada — has triggered shock waves among Canadian comics.

The fear is that comedians will lose a large chunk of their revenues with the changeover. Since its inception in 2005, Canada Laughs has aired predominantly Canadian content, resulting in royalties which have provided a major source of comedian incomes.

According to SiriusXM Canada and Just for Laughs, the new radio outlet will feature “a blend of stand-up recorded at various Just For Laughs festivals and events, along with premium content from independent comedy albums.”

On his Facebook page, veteran Canadian comic and JFL co-owner Howie Mandel noted that SiriusXM Canada had approached the Montreal-based comedy festival to “retool” the station in order to keep it alive, and he pledged Just for Laughs Radio would continue to air content from Canadian comics.

But no fixed percentage breakdown between JFL and indie Canadian content has yet been announced.

Read the full article by Bill Brownstein in the Montreal Gazette