Mary Tyler Moore doing stand-up comedy? That's what they're promising as part of the Just for Laughs/Juste Pour Rire International Comedy Festival, which opened Thursday night in Montreal.
Billed as the largest comedy festival in the world, the event continues through July 21 in venues all over Montreal with performances by stand-up comedians from the United States, Canada, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Iran, even Sri Lanka.
Glenn Schwartz Co., which is handling publicity for the event, promises that Ms. Moore will host a comedy concert featuring 12 comedians, and that she'll throw in some bits of her own. The show will be telecast live on the Showtime cable channel at 10 p.m. Saturday and will include performances by Milton Berle, Kevin Nealon, Ellen de Generes and Sri Lanka musician-juggler Uno Lanka. The show will be repeated at 10 p.m. July 23 and 11:30 p.m. July 29.
Other concerts throughout the week ahead will feature Roseanne Arnold (formerly Barr), Sinbad, Jane Curtin, Dom Irerra, Bill Hicks (very hot right now), Mike MacDonald, Charles Fleischer (the voice of Roger Rabbit), Michael Moschen, the Mapapa Acrobats (Kenya), Ennio Marchello ("a living, life-size paper doll, racing through about 40 different celebrities" from Italy), Jerry Sadowitz (Scotland), Iranian Yogi Daniel ("he literally inserts himself into a 2-foot cube"), Sean Hughes (Ireland) and Frank Skinner (England).
Mr. Moschen is a juggler-dancer-choreographer who won a MacArthur Fellowship (Genius Award) this year. He incorporates sculpture, movement, exotic costumes and anything juggleable into his performances. On last year's "Dance in America" broadcast on PBS, Mr. Moschen bounced a dozen superballs in a two-story hollow sculpture. In another piece, he simultaneously rotated eight crystal balls in one hand.
Director Martin Scorsese, comedian Richard Belzer and classic animators Chuck Jones and Shamus Culhane are part of an advisory panel that recently selected "the 10 funniest Hollywood cartoons of all time." They will be shown for the first time at the festival. Five of the chosen were made at Warner Bros. studios, four at MGM and one at Disney. Voted the No. 1 funniest Hollywood cartoon of all time was "One Froggy Evening," by Chuck Jones (Warner Bros.).
Finally, Bobcat Goldthwait, who has gained a huge following for his biting political satire and commentary, will offer the premiere of his first feature film Thursday at the Rialto Cinema in Montreal. "Shakes the Clown" was written and directed by Mr. Goldthwait, who also stars. He calls it "one of the finest alcoholic clown movies ever made."
Those hooked to basic cable can get a taste of the festival by tuning into MTV. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. next Sunday, comedian Mario Joyner will host "MTV's Just for Laughs Comedy Concert" featuring Norm MacDonald, Drake Sather and Denis Leary.
Mr. Joyner also will host MTV's "Friday Night Street Party" at 9 p.m. Friday, a mix of music, talk and local color from the streets of Montreal. John Norris will host an on-location edition of "Awake on the Wild Side" at 6 a.m. next Sunday as well as a Just for Laughs version of "The MTV Top 20 Video Countdown" at 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. next Sunday.
For viewers who get Comedy Central, Viacom and HBO's hour-cable-comedy channel, the second season of the series "Alan King: Inside the Comedy Mind" kicks off next Sunday with an interview with Roseanne Arnold. On July 28, Mr. King will profile Robert Townsend.
Taped on location in Los Angeles and New York, coming episodes of this program will feature conversations with Martin Short, Norman Lear, Dennis Miller, Catherine O'Hara, Larry Gelbart, Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Rivers.
The series is broadcast at 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sundays.