Some of the biggest names in comedy got their start at Montreal’s Just for Laughs (JFL) Festival. Now, the festival directors want to bring exclusive footage of these comedians to a new YouTube channel they’re launching with Maker Studios later today.
Featured comedians will include Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, and Tracy Morgan, along with many more performers. Since the festival is one of the longest-standing industry events, many of these comedians’ clips will go back to their early careers (as far back as 1987). Roughly 500 hours of content, uploaded three times a week, will supplement JFL’s original material from current and upcoming festivals.
JFL partnered with Maker because of its expertise at creating short-form content. Additionally, the two companies have already worked together in the past on a YouTube channel for JFL’s “Gags” brand, which currently boasts over 4 million subscribers.
With this new channel, the Canadian festival hopes to spread its brand outside of its native country, and into other English-speaking countries like the U.S. and many European countries. The popularity of the event within comedic circles is massive, but no one outside of the industry (or Canada) knows much about it. According to Variety, who first reported on the new channel deal, JFL only produced a few stand-up pieces for cable subscribers over ten years ago in the U.S.
“So much of this hasn’t been seen in the No. 1 market in the world,” said Bruce Hills, COO of Just for Laughs, to Variety. The site also wrote that Hills believes the exposure will increase attendance at the festival in July.
Update: You can now view several videos from your favorite comedians on the live Just for Laughs YouTube Channel. Here’s a clip from a performance by Louis CK way back in 2003: