just for laughs toronto

Toronto comedians furious after Just for Laughs takes over radio station

A new merger between broadcasting company Sirius XM Canada and international comedy festival Just For Laughs (JFL) has just been struck, and the deal is making Canadian comedians livid. 

Comics in Toronto and nationwide have been taking to social media under the hashtag #justformoney to protest the rebrand of the comedy radio station Canada Laughs to Just For Laughs radio. 

The merger, which was announced officially on Saturday by Toronto-born comedian Howie Mandel (a part owner of Just For Laughs), means that the station will no longer play exclusively Canadian content as it used to. 

Instead, the new Just For Laughs Radio station will play stand-up from previous JFL festivals, which includes comics from Canada along with other countries including the U.S. and Australia. 

This new content policy totally blows, according to many comics online, and financially impacts the ability of comedians to pursue stand-up as a full-time gig. 

Canada Laughs has already transitioned to playing more JFL content, and comedians who used to get air play—and the resulting royalties from those plays—are no longer getting either. 

The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians sent a list of questions to SiriusXM and Just For Laughs last week, and the organization says they expect a response soon. 

"CASC is not suggesting that only Canadian artists should get the economic infrastructure of support offered by JFL and SiriusXM," said the organization in a Facebook statement. 

"But, leaving Canadian performers largely out of the mix is an economic failure by the industry stakeholders that operate these events and program the radio broadcasts, as well as the government departments who use public tax dollars to fund them, and the public organizations that regulate them." 

In the meantime, the Association held a town hall this evening at Toronto's Comedy Bar to address the issue. 

Lead photo by

Just For Laughs


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