For the second year, Festival Laval Laughs is coming back for more. From October 3 to 6, 2019, you can expect to see some of the most well known names in comedy take to the stage with a fresh line-up, guaranteed to make you laugh. Get to know the amazing comedians lined up to perform and what unique perspectives they bring to Festival Laval Laughs! Plus, meet our Publisher, Luigi Morabito – the man who brought this festival to fruition – for his take on what you can expect to see this October.

Luigi Morabito is the man who brought the idea of Festival Laval Laughs to life for the first time last year. With over 25 years of experience in the worlds of business, marketing, media and communication, he’s also an active resident of Laval who thrives on getting involved. He launched the Laval Families and Laval en Famille magazines with that goal in mind and currently sits as Publisher for both publications.

Now, Morabito proposes something different: he wants to make you laugh! “This festival was a dream of mine about four years ago,” he explains. “I like to support local talent and I also want to give back to our vibrant community.” He adds that Laval is the third largest city in Quebec, yet most festivals and entertainment bypass it and focus on Montreal and Quebec instead.

Morabito met up with comedian Franco Taddeo, who is now the Director of Programming, to chat about the possibilities. Soon after, they built a business plan, found sponsors, and the rest is history. The first edition of Festival Laval Laughs (Festival Laval en Rires) was launched in 2018.

This year’s edition promises to be particularly entertaining. Morabito and his team selected quality comedians who will push things to the next level. The festival will run from October 3 to 6, and will feature the ever-popular Ethnically Correct show, which was sold out last year. “Laval is an ethnically diverse city,” says Morabito. “They can relate to this kind of humour.”

A one-woman show in French with comedian and sexologist Mélanie Couture is also on the roster, along with the Gala Laval en Rires, featuring a host of other francophone performers. It’s an eclectic mix of well-known comedians, all known for putting on a show that promises non-stop laughs!

Morabito is excited that since its initial launch, the festival has gathered momentum and developed a positive reputation. Agents are now starting to approach them—not the other way around.

Morabito and his team are also grateful for their sponsors’ loyalty. Big sponsors such as Jaguar Land Rover Laval, Pâtisserie St-Martin, and Outfront Media are all returning. It takes a village to put on a festival of this magnitude and every bit of support goes a long way. Curious about what else the festival has in store? You’ll just have to attend to find out!

Armed with 20 years of experience in the field of comedy, Franco Taddeo knows the industry inside out. Represented by one of the top agencies, Giggles Entertainment, he’s been touring various cities from Boston to Winnipeg to Cornwall. He even has his own CBC-TV Comedy Special entitled Whose Canada Is It?

Apart from being a stellar performer, who will once again perform at this year’s Festival Laval Laughs, Taddeo is a man of many talents. He’s also the Director of programming for the festival.

When he teamed up with Luigi Morabito, the founder of Festival Laval Laughs, his intentions were clear. “We wanted to leave our mark on the city of Laval,” he says. “In the past, there weren’t many cultural events. A city is defined by these and as comedy is an accessible art, the festival is a cultural event that attracts the most interest.”

Taddeo is particularly interested in this year’s second edition, which is more focused on Canadian talent. The Ethnically Correct show promises to delight audiences again, just like the sold out show did last year. If you had the chance to see Taddeo’s performance at last year’s event, then you already know his show is sure to keep you laughing all night long. Taddeo is also working closely with other comedians in the show to put together a truly amazing second edition of Festival Laval Laughs.

Taddeo selects each performer carefully, in an effort to create a diverse menu of different perspectives and flavours, so there’s something for everyone. The ultimate goal is to make the second edition of Festival Laval Laughs another raving success.

“When you come to one of our shows,” he says. “We promise you’ll laugh and have a great time. You’ll likely connect to what the comedians say because it will resonate with your own experiences. Connectedness leads to happiness.”

Pino Pirillo – a master of crafting jokes specifically tailored for Montrealers – is another comedian on the roster this October. Who wouldn’t crack a laugh at jokes about smoked meat, poutine and potholes? It’s his witty humor and ability to connect with the audience that has propelled his career to the next level. He exploded on the Montreal scene and starred in Italian Bad Boyz of Comedy. He’s now branching out and doing shows in Toronto, New York, and Connecticut, to name a few.

When asked why he agreed to be part of this year’s line-up, Pirillo admits it was a no-brainer. “This is history in the making, since this festival is the first of its kind in Laval,” he says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity and the line-up is great!”

He’s especially excited to perform at the Ethnically Correct show on October 3 at Cabaret C. He was raised by an old school Italian family, so he’s the perfect candidate for it. And since Laval is a melting pot of different ethnic groups, it works well. Expect some jokes where he reminisces back to the days where his friends had to take off their shoes when they came over and sit on uncomfortable furniture covered in plastic.

He’s currently polishing up some new material and testing it out on various audiences. His jokes are almost always exclusively drawn from personal experience, which gives them authenticity. Pirillo adds that he’s never afraid to make fun of himself. “When it comes to comedy, one should never take things too seriously,” he says. “Because at the end of the day, comedy is about entertainment.”

Darren Henwood is originally from Scotland, but has been entertaining Canadians since 2010. You’ll be able to catch his performance on October 3 at Cabaret C. His witty and quick paced comedy is steeped in sarcasm and is guaranteed to keep audiences at the edge of their seats. At times self-depreciating, his humour is always brutally honest and draws from his own personal experiences.

He could not be more excited because this will be his first time performing in Laval, and hopefully not his last.

Franco Traddeo, the Director of programming for the festival, had invited him. “I know Franco well from the comedy scene,” he explains. “And since I heard such great things about the first edition, I was eager to jump on board. Not all new projects succeed, but this one lives up to its expectations.” He’s particularly eager to see how the festival has evolved since last year.

Having lived in Montreal for almost a decade, he’s come to appreciate its diversity, from the mix of French and English communities to the many ethnicities in between, but he also offers a fresh perspective because of his Scottish blood.

He’s currently tweaking some of the jokes in his arsenal and is ready to put his best foot forward. Henwood also makes a habit of keeping some of jokes off the cuff and interactive, “I was made to be onstage, holding people’s attention,” he says. “When I was younger, I was always putting on shows for everyone at school, much to the chagrin of my teachers.” That natural charisma is one of his biggest assets, and has helped carve out his professional career.

John Cotrocois is a rare blend, with talents that dip into the worlds of comedy, storytelling, writing and performing. He performed at such reputable venues as Centaur Theatre and Second City Mainstage in Toronto. He describes himself as an “ordinary guy with extraordinary stories.” Festival Laval Laughs is proud to have him as part of the lineup.

For Cotrocois, performing in Laval is coming full circle. He grew up in Chomedy with his Greek family and knows the culture intimately. “I find Laval audiences fun and very responsive,” he says. “Interestingly, residents here seem to be even more open minded than in Montreal. Some of my dirty jokes fare better here!”

He performed at last year’s Festival Laval Laughs in the Newbies Show, and will return again to participate in the Ethnically Correct show on October 3 Cotrocois is particularly excited to perform for a predominantly ethnic audience and is ready to tailor some of his jokes for them. His cheeky sense of humour and high energy demeanour guarantee to keep everyone on their toes. Yet all the while, he’s vulnerable and authentic, allowing audiences to connect with him.

Believe it or not, Cotrocois has stage fright. But he insists on facing his fears head-on. And when he gets that first laugh, he’s instantly put at ease. Connecting to the audience is such a rewarding feeling for him. At this year’s festival, he’s looking forward to getting more involved and of course, making you laugh.

“I’m here to entertain people, pure and simple,” he says. “I’m not a political comedian, and have no political agenda. I love talking about universal themes I weave my jokes together through the art of storytelling.”

One thing is for sure: if you’re looking for a good laugh, the roster of comedians at Festival Laval Laughs will definitely deliver. Free up your calendars from October 3 to 6. Visit festivallavallaughs.ca for more information on show times and to reserve your tickets before they’re sold out!