Bruce Hills, President, Just For Laughs
Just For Laughs’ President Bruce Hills has been a driving force behind the world’s biggest comedy festival and most prestigious comedy brand for over 38 years.
Beginning his Just For Laughs career as a driver in 1986, Hills has since held countless roles within the organization, including Director of Programming, Vice-President of International Television, COO, and now President. He oversees all of the company’s English business properties across global markets, focusing on growing the business in all divisions.
Under his helm, Just For Laughs has significantly expanded its reach by launching festivals in Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver; Sydney, Australia; Austin, Texas, U.S.A.; and in London, U.K. Over the past three decades, Hills has discovered and cultivated relationships with some of the industry’s most successful and influential artists, including Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Jimmy Fallon, Bill Burr, to name a few.
Hills’ talents in TV development have led to over 1,500 Just For Laughs television specials broadcast by various key networks from around the world. The company’s TV deals have reached new heights, partnering with Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, and Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Productions, to name a few. As an award-winning producer, Hills received three consecutive Canadian Screen Awards for Best Variety or Entertainment Special for stand-up specials featuring Trevor Noah, PK Subban, and Aisha Brown. He served as a consulting producer on NBC’s Bring the Funny, and as an Executive Producer on Amazon’s Prime Video critically acclaimed 6-episode docuseries, Inside Jokes.
Hills also helped establish Just For Laughs Live as the #1 comedy promoter in Canada, which produces sold out tours across the country. Named one of Variety’s “50 Individuals Who Impacted Comedy”, declared “The King of Comedy” by The Globe and Mail and hailed by the UK’s edition of GQ Magazine as “the most powerful man in international comedy”, and has been honoured twice by the legendary comedian, Dave Chappelle. First in 2015, as the “Comedy Curator of a Generation” at the Montréal Festival; then again at the prestigious 2017 Canadian Screen Awards where JFL received the Canadian Academy’s Icon Award.
In late 2022, Hills was personally inducted into the inaugural Canada’s Comedy Hall of Fame as a comedy creator for his years of contribution to Just For Laughs. He was honoured to be included in the distinguished lineup of inductees which included Michael J. Fox, Ivan Reitman, Catherine O’Hara and many others who have made an indelible mark on comedy over the years. This induction heralded the honour of him representing Just For Laughs when the company was bestowed with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2022 for their contribution as a global launchpad for the biggest international comedians in the last three decades. Featuring a starstudded tribute to the organization, Hills accepted the award, acknowledging the dedicated staff, industry, artists and fans who have all paid a part in growing the establishment to international prominence. In addition to being dedicated to enhancing JFL’s global footprint, Hills is often a guest speaker and panelist; as well as business mentor to many.