Twenty-three years ago, Gilbert Rozon had a simple idea. He wanted to put together, under one roof, the people who liked to laugh with the people who made them laugh.
On July 14, 1983, he unleashed that idea onto the Montreal cultural scene in the form of a festival. A festival that was just for fun, just for entertainment and most important, Just For Laughs (or as it is known in French, "Juste pour rire"). For four days, 16 francophone artists gave 35 shows in four venues across Montreal, before a total crowd of about 5000 people.
Twenty-three years later, over 700 artists from around the world perform before over 2 million spectators every summer, in more than 20 venues and along St. Denis Street. Television shows are broadcast internationally to millions of viewers. But the real success of the Juste pour rire/Just For Laughs Festival is not reflected in the numbers, but in its philosophy.
The Festival's mandate is to spread the idea amongst the collective conscience of its audience that humor, although presented in a similar fashion in content and form year after year, can be reinvented. It can stimulate its artists to provoke laughter in a daring manner that can and does go beyond the limits of the imagination.