[02/21/08 - 09:12 AM]
TBS Doubles Up on Live Comedy Events, Joining Forces with Just for Laughs for a Very Funny Festival in Chicago and with Aeg Live to Present the Comedy Festival in Las Vegas
"My first special, 'Ellen's Really Big Show,' turned out to be so big that TBS asked me to do another," DeGeneres said.

[via press release from TBS]

TBS Doubles Up on Live Comedy Events, Joining Forces with Just For Laughs for A VERY FUNNY FESTIVAL in Chicago And with AEG Live to Present THE COMEDY FESTIVAL in Las Vegas

Ellen DeGeneres Set to Return to TBS to Host Variety Specials from Both Events

The All-New JUST FOR LAUGHS: A VERY FUNNY FESTIVAL in Chicago Coming in Summer 2009

THE COMEDY FESTIVAL in Las Vegas Returns for Fourth Year in November 2008

TBS, television's #1 comedy network, is ready to take comedy festivals to a whole new level as it joins forces with Just For Laughs to launch the all-new JUST FOR LAUGHS: A VERY FUNNY FESTIVAL. CAA, which represents Just For Laughs, brokered the deal for the five-day event, set to take place in Chicago in Summer 2009. Just For Laughs produces the largest comedy event in the world, the Montreal Comedy Festival, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary this past year.

TBS is also teaming up with AEG Live, one of the largest concert promotion and touring companies in the world, to present the 4th annual edition of THE COMEDY FESTIVAL in Las Vegas this November.

Ellen DeGeneres, who presented Ellen's Really Big Show from last year's edition of THE COMEDY FESTIVAL, has once again signed up to present variety specials from both festivals. The specials will air on TBS and will be produced by Telepictures Productions, with Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin and Andy Lassner, whose credits include DeGeneres' Emmy�-winning talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, serving as executive producers.

"After three successful years of serving as the presenting sponsor of THE COMEDY FESTIVAL in Las Vegas, we're ready to dive into the festival arena full force. We're taking a leading role with Just For Laughs for an exciting new summer event in Chicago and with AEG Live on the Las Vegas event," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "We couldn't be happier that the enormously talented and always funny Ellen DeGeneres is on board for both events. These events are a perfect opportunity for TBS to showcase some of the best talents in the comedy industry and to expand the reach of our brand in exciting new ways."

"This has been a truly phenomenal time for Just For Laughs not to mention a milestone year, as we just celebrated our 25th Anniversary this past summer in Montreal," said Gilbert Rozon, president of Just For Laughs. "Looking back, it's hard to believe that Just For Laughs started out as a small local comedy showcase and has grown and evolved to become one of the biggest producers of comedy in the world. We are thrilled to be involved in this endeavour with TBS, especially with Steve Koonin, and to have Chicago as our flagship comedy event in the U.S."

"We are thrilled to have TBS as our partner for the fourth year of THE COMEDY FESTIVAL in Las Vegas," said John Meglen, president and co-CEO of Concerts West/AEG Live. "The past years with TBS as presenting sponsor brought first-rate comedy talent and programming to the event, which we know will be even bigger and better this coming November. All of us at AEG Live are excited about our new partnership and about bringing another great year of comedy to our guests."

"My first special, Ellen's Really Big Show, turned out to be so big that TBS asked me to do another," DeGeneres said. "I said, �That'll be tough, but give me two more shows. One of them is bound to be big. I mean, they'll all be big, but one for sure is gonna be REALLY big."

"We are excited to be extending the Ellen brand with the TBS comedy specials and for Telepictures and the Ellen producers to be working with TBS," said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures Productions. "We are looking forward to being at both The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas and the Just For Laughs festival in Chicago and to producing the next generation of variety show that taps into Ellen's comedic genius and presents a truly memorable show for both the festival and TBS audiences."

JUST FOR LAUGHS: A VERY FUNNY FESTIVAL will launch in Summer 2009 with events taking place at venues throughout Chicago. In addition to a special event headlined by TV star Ellen DeGeneres, the festival will feature a series of stand-up concerts by top-name comedians, the very best in improv and sketch including a collaboration with the famed Second City comedy troupe; Latino and urban comedy extravaganzas; various other events at local comedy clubs as well as a film component. To create the new comedy event, TBS and Just For Laughs will collaborate with the United States' largest independent promoter, Chicago-based Jam Productions LTD/Outback Concerts.

THE COMEDY FESTIVAL in Las Vegas, which for the past three years has been presented by HBO and AEG Live, will take place in November. With more than 50 performances, events and screenings presented over a five-day period, The Comedy Festival's goal is to bring together the biggest names and cutting-edge comedy talent in a broad range of programming, from star-level performances and special events to stand-up, sketch comedy and film. TBS presented three prime-time specials from last year's edition of THE COMEDY FESTIVAL, including Ellen's Really Big Show, Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation and Frank Caliendo: All Over the Place. In addition, last year's event featured performances by Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. Past television highlights include a 2006 airing of the 20th anniversary of Comic Relief, starring Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams; A Salute to the Troops and USO, with special guests Kid Rock and Carmen Electra; and 2005's Earth to America, with Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Larry David, Steve Martin and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Just For Laughs is active in many areas of entertainment production including Festivals, Television, Theatre and Touring. Its inaugural festival 25 years ago is now the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event welcoming over 2 million people each summer. During its 25 years, the Montreal Festival has featured some of the top comics in the world, including Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Dane Cook, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and Tim Allen. Each year, over 1,000 industry executives are drawn to Montreal for what is considered the hottest breeding ground for new talent. In the spring of 2006, the company's French division launched the Festival Juste pour rire Nantes Atlantique in France and in 2007, Just For Laughs launched the Just For Laughs Toronto Festival, both to great success. The company also successfully tours across the globe bringing some of the Festivals' best talent to Canada, the U.S., Bermuda and Asia and has personal management offices in Los Angeles, Paris, London and Montreal. Just For Laughs television shows are seen in over 125 countries, on over 95 airlines around the world, and its hidden-camera gags show currently airs on ABC. In the past, Just For Laughs stand-up shows have aired on MTV, Showtime, HBO, BBC America and Fox in the U.S.

AEG Live, the live-entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG, is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring for a variety of programming and multi-media production. One of the largest concert promotion and touring companies in the world, AEG Live is comprised of special event, broadcast and exhibition divisions and operates and owns numerous state of the art venues nationwide. Current AEG Live tours and productions include Cher's recently announced production premiering in May and Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, both at Caesars Palace, as well as Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, an international tour of the artifacts of King Tut. Recent and current promoted concert tours include Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Prince, Bon Jovi, Usher, Nickelback, Kenny Chesney and Rod Stewart. AEG Live also co-produces the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Goldenvoice, the company's southern California-based regional promotion division, created and operates the award winning annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

TBS, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is television's top-rated comedy network. It serves as home to such original comedy series as My Boys, The Bill Engvall Show, Tyler Perry's House of Payne, 10 Items or Less and Frank TV; hot contemporary comedies like The Office, Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, King of Queens, Seinfeld and Friends, with My Name Is Earl joining the line-up in 2008; specials, such as Funniest Commercials of the Year; live events like The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas and the new Just For Laughs: A Very Funny Festival in Chicago; blockbuster movies; and hosted movie showcases.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

  [february 2008]  


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