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Ferguson, Cho Laugh at Montreal Comedy Fest

Craig Ferguson will host a gala at Montreal's Just for Laughs comedy festival, while solo acts by Margaret Cho and John Pinette ("Hairspray") have been added to the lineup of the 24th edition (July 13-23), organizers said Tuesday.

Ferguson will also serve as a roving correspondent for his CBS vehicle "The Late Late Show" while in Montreal. Gala hosts announced earlier by the festival include Jason Alexander, John Cleese and Ed Byrne.

Just for Laughs organizers also said the event will focus on one-man shows, solo cabaret acts and other concert performances to entertain local audiences.

Pinette is bringing his one-man show, "Making Lite of Myself," to Montreal for a five-night stand that will run through July 22, while Cho will return to Just for Laughs for a July 20 stand-up appearance.

Earlier, the festival said Bill Cosby will perform July 22, his first Just for Laughs appearance since 2003.

Montreal also is launching a first-ever Flying Solo series, which will showcase one-man acts. Included in the program are New York-based Demetri Martin's "These Are Jokes" show, British comic Stewart Lee's "90's Comedian" and Tim Minchin's "Darkside" cabaret act, which earned the 2005 Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Other solo shows booked for Montreal include "Man 1, Bank 0," performed by Patrick Combs; Dean Cameron's "The Nigerian Spam Scam Scam"; and Canadian comic Phil Nichol's "Nearly Gay" show, which was also performed at Edinburgh last year.

Also bound for Montreal is Billy the Mime, who appeared in last year's indie hit "The Aristocrats," and the North American premiere of "La Clique," which combines vaudeville and music hall into a sexy romp.

Returning acts include popular costume transformist Arturo Brachetti, who will host three galas featuring "nonverbal" visual acts yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, female comics Robin Duke ("Saturday Night Live"), Jayne Eastwood ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), Kathryn Greenwood ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?"), Debra McGrath ("Getting Along Famously") and Teresa Pavlinek ("History Bites") will combine for "Women Fully Clothed," a sketch comedy show that will run during the festival.

On the club-performance front, Just for Laughs is introducing two showcases: "Asian Invasion," hosted by Montreal comic Sugar Sammy and featuring stand-up acts by Dr. Ken Jeong and Steve Byrne, and "Comedy Showdown," in which eight comics battle head to head in an off-the-cuff competition.

Stand-up veterans performing on the main stage at the St. Denis Theater include Drew Carey, Jon Dore, Shaun Majumder, D.L. Hughley and festival stalwart Dom Irrera.

Etan Vlessing writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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