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It's not a joke for Windsor comedians: Local show among cancelled Just for Laughs events

The Gang's All Here Comedy trio (Jen Richardson, Tim Reaburn and Taylor Last) was set to perform at a showcase on the Just for Laughs showcase tour in Windsor. Then the company cancelled its festivals and filed for creditor protection.  (Submitted by Jen Richardson - image credit)
The Gang's All Here Comedy trio (Jen Richardson, Tim Reaburn and Taylor Last) was set to perform at a showcase on the Just for Laughs showcase tour in Windsor. Then the company cancelled its festivals and filed for creditor protection. (Submitted by Jen Richardson - image credit)

It's no joke for some local comedians: Just for Laughs announced this week the annual festival in Montreal has been cancelled — and with it, a special comedy showcase in Windsor.

Jen Richardson and Tim Reaburn are part of the three-member Gang's All Here Comedy, which was involved in the project. They also organize comedy events around Windsor and were set to perform at the showcase for a Just for Laughs talent scout later this month.

LISTEN: Just For Laughs search for local talent haulted by company layoffs

"I'm feeling a little disappointed. Obviously, it was kind of our one big leap to to stardom of sorts and now it's all dashed," Reaburn said.

"So what can you do?"

The scout was one of 75 layoffs at Just for Laughs, and would have been coming to check out talent for Just for Laughs: New Faces.

Many now-famous comedians got their start through that program, Richardson says.

"The realistic thing is probably none of us would have been selected to be on New Faces … but in general, Just for Laughs would have known about Windsor," Richardson said. "We had lined up amazing comedians from the area, and it could have opened a lot of doors.

"It's just sad. It's an institution."

The Montreal and Toronto festivals are cancelled. A spokesperson called the financial situation "unsustainable" as the company seeks creditor protection.

While disappointing, Richardson says the Just for Laughs cancellations aren't surprising given the challenges facing the entertainment media industry.

Reaburn said the showcase featured many of the longtime mainstays of Windsor's comedy scene hoping to break onto a larger stage.

"But it's just always, just writing another joke, that's what keeps me going," he said. "I've been doing it so long without any fanfare or anything. So just keep writing jokes and doing other shows in Detroit and Windsor, and that's kind of what keeps the thrill alive.

As for finding the funny in every situation, Reaburn says they sort of had a head's up the showcase might be cancelled.

"Jen's psychic told her it wasn't gonna happen," he said. "And I'm disappointed that the psychic was correct."