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New in-person comedy festival providing laughs in a pandemic

Last Updated Aug 30, 2020 at 9:54 am EDT

The first edition of Montreal Comedy Series is a collection of 17 in-person and socially distanced shows over a nine-day period. (Photo credit: UNSPLASH/Bogomil Mihaylov )

MONTREAL (CITYNEWS) – A new festival is hoping to reboot the comedy scene in Montreal, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first edition of Montreal Comedy Series is a collection of 17 in-person and socially distanced shows over a nine-day period.

The festival ends Sept. 6.

“With live entertainment not on people’s minds, we needed something to help grow the comedy scene back,” said festival founder Sid Khullar. “Or close to where it once was.”

The various venues hosting the comedy shows – mostly bars and restaurants in the downtown area – are implementing safety measures to comply with public-health recommendations: tables six feet apart, hand sanitizer stations, mandatory masks for staff, and restricted capacity.

Montreal Comedy Series will showcase more than 100 comedians like Amer Rez, Michelle Dominique and Harrison Weinreb – all Montrealers.

“We would rather book local comedians, since we can showcase talent from the city,” said Khullar. “And we wouldn’t want out-of-town comedians travelling into the city if it’s not essential.”

Khullar says the response from comedy fans in the city has so far been “overwhelming.”