Just for Laughs owes money to comedians, companies: court documents

Click to play video: 'Just for Laughs Toronto cancels 2024 season, files for bankruptcy protection'
Just for Laughs Toronto cancels 2024 season, files for bankruptcy protection
The curtain is coming down on Just for Laughs Toronto for 2024, with the company announcing it's cancelling this year’s season as it undergoes restructuring. Kayla McLean reports – Mar 7, 2024

Documents made public by an insolvency trustee show Montreal comedy festival Just for Laughs and affiliated companies owe millions of dollars in unpaid debts beyond what was included in a court filing last week.

Groupe Juste pour rire inc., the parent company of the festival and several other comedy-related businesses, announced earlier this month that it is insolvent and seeking creditor protection.

Documents released this week by insolvency trustee PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, show an additional $5 million in unpaid debts owed by the festival and other affiliated businesses.

That money is in addition to the $22.5 million owed by one of the companies in the group, disclosed in documents filed at the Montreal courthouse last week.

Included in the $5 million of newly disclosed debts is $3.4 million owed by the comedy festival, whose creditors include hotels, venues and production companies.

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As well, Just for Laughs and another affiliated festival, ZooFest, owe more than $78,000 to a Montreal convenience store.

Among the creditors named in the documents recently made public are:

  • More than four dozen television stations, as well as radio stations and newspapers across Canada, which are owed more than $100,000.
  • Comedian Mike Ward is owed $301; singer Ginette Reno is owed $2,000.
  • Big Yellow Taxi Productions, which has produced Australian Just for Laughs television programs shot in Montreal and Australia, is owed more than $200,000.
  • Convenience store Depanneur L’unique is owed $78,355.
  • Comedy Gives Back, a non-profit that helps comedians in need, is owed $8,886.
  • The biggest creditor named in the new set of documents is Cartier Communication Marketing Inc., a Montreal advertising company, which is owed $720,347.
  • Other creditors include Australian comedian Jim Jefferies and Montreal’s ambulance service, Urgences-santé.

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