The tenth edition of JUST FOR LAUGHS TORONTO just wrapped, doing it bigger and better than ever before. I know we’ve often envied the Montreal leg of the Festival, but Toronto returning to an in-person format this year of the Festival, the excitement was stratospheric! Among the Comedy heavyweights in-town this weekend were Iliza Shlesinger, Marc Maron, Peter Billingsley, Vince Vaughn and Trevor Noah – hot off his announcement that he’ll be exiting The Daily Show after hosting for the past seven years.
Some amazing highlights of the closing-half of the Festival this year.
PETER BILLINGSLEY & VINCE VAUGHN
Toronto really got a treat as A Christmas Story star Peter Billingsley and adored Actor Vince Vaughn closed-out the Festival with the World Premiere of CHRISTMAS WITH THE CAMPBELLS, an upcoming Holiday Comedy which uses the classic Hallmark blueprint, without sparing the swearing! The duo produced the Film together, while Vaughn had a hand in writing the Scrript.
The Premiere, originally scheduled for last weekend, was slotted in for closing night of what already was a star-studded Festival. The Film stars Brittany Snow, Justin Long and Alex Moffatt, and will be in theatres later this year, while also streaming on AMC+ in the U.S.
So happy we got to chat with Billingsley and Vaughn about their new Film.
Could you describe CHRISTMAS WITH THE CAMPBELLS as a love letter to Hallmark movies? Could you say that?
Vaughn: Kinda. We had a woman, Barbara Kymlicka who writes some terrific Hallmark movies, write a real kind of story with emotion. We put a lot of Hard “R” Comedy in there so it’s kinda funny and kinda heart-felt.
How do you draw that fine balance between it being a parody and an actual love letter?
Vaughn: That was the interesting thing part. So we play it straight. We have a Hallmark Composer, Editor, Cinematographer, Set Designer. But the language and points of view of the characters are straight Comedy. It’s a really interesting blend and the Movie has tested really well. We’re just finally excited to have a World Premiere in Toronto.
Billingsley: We don’t betray the rules of a Hallmark movie, so there’s that. There’s a really good feeling in the end and you laugh a lot along the way.
I know you both have a real affinity for Toronto. What’s one thing that Toronto’s got that you can’t find anywhere else in the world?
Vaughn: You know what? I think Toronto’s a place where people are raising families and going to work. It’s a real city where people enjoy themselves. For me it’s special. My mom was born here, I used to come all the time to see family as a kid. I still see family here, it’s just a great city.
Billingsley: Toronto has a lot of film fans. The Toronto International Film Festival has a reputation of being the Fan’s Festival. It gets great crowds that love movies, so it’s always great to bring a film here.
This charismatic, all-around Entertainer delighted fans two nights at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. If you haven’t checked-out his observational WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, you absolutely should. Also how cool was it that he was starstruck sitting behind Rush‘s Geddy Lee on his flight out of Toronto?
This Australian Treasure really wowed us with an incredible, tight set where we wouldn’t quit with the laughs. We love them from RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, but this was a more accurate capture of his range, amazing comedic timing and writing. Floored. A star on the rise, with some hilarious anecdotes about growing-up non-binary in his native Newcastle.
It’s Jerrod Carmichael‘s world and we’re all living in it! Hot off his Emmy win for HBO Special ROTHANIEL, he delivered a low-key set at Bluma Appel Theatre, reflecting on life, love and his coming to terms with his sexuality. He has a unique vibe, moving at an unrushed pace, with pensive pauses, and at once has a grip on his audience. So amazing getting to see this burgeoning star, who has in the zone with his headphones on when we spotted him being ushered-in quickly.
Just for Laughs Toronto 2022 was one for the books! While we are a little Festivaled-out in what’s been a hectic September, we wouldn’t trade it in for anything! Cannot wait to see what next year’s Festival brings! More on Just for Laughs Toronto here.
Don’t forget to check-out our Recap of the Festival’s first-half here, which includes some of our favourites as well.