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Just for Laughs 2015: Star power to spare

07/08/2015 12:00 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT
Mike Myers is coming to town. How cool is that?

He's been at the top of the Just For Laughs Festival's wish list for years.

Once, years ago when I was at festival headquarters for an interview, I caught sight of that wish list. Scribbled on a dry erase board were the top names in comedy.

And Mike Myers was one of them.

His show will be a retrospective of his career, and he'll even do a Q&A with the audience, and will pick up the JFL lifetime achievement award.

Dave Chapelle's name was on that list too.

Two years ago, he was finally here. He came for one show, and kept adding more.

His performances were decidedly uneven. His first show fell pretty flat, the next was brilliant, followed by a so-so one, and so it went.

This time, Chapelle is back for nine shows. And counting. After the last show was announced, some just suggested he move here.

As editions of the festival go, this one is notable for its star power.

There's gala host Neil Patrick Harris who's already proved himself to be an engaging host. There's Alan Cumming, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, Patrick Stewart.

In fact, I can't remember the last time, there was such a strong lineup of gala hosts.

Trevor Noah, the briefly-controversial new host of the Daily Show, also gets a gala. It's a good chance to suss him out.

Also on the programme are returning club show favourites, comics who made their names here, including Nasty Show veteran Mike Wilmot, and Jimmy Carr, whose utterances at The Nasty Show will no doubt contrast delightfully with his cherubic appearance.

Omid Djalili is back. When he first came to the festival, he killed at club shows, and at a gala. By the end of the festival, people were stopping him on the street to say how much they loved him.

He earned my everlasting goodwill when he told me he loved me on live TV.

Funny in any language

The festival has always encouraged comics here to try out in another language. Christopher Hall and Sugar Sammy in French, and Mike Ward in English.

In fact, Ward has done so well, this year the festival has handed him hosting duties for The Nasty Show.

And now it's Rachid Badouri's turn.

He has a well-established comedy and acting career in French here, and is making his debut in the Ethnic Show, mining his Moroccan background for its comedic potential.

He has the chance to do what so many comics have done at JFL before him — catch the eye of an influential TV producer or casting agent, and launch a Hollywood career.

​Check out the full Just For Laughs 2015 schedule on the festival's website.

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