With or without the Americans, the quebec industry of the humor will go ahead

News 17 March, 2018
  • AFP
    Chris Silbermann, one of the major partners of ICM Partners, at a conference in Bervely Hills in 2017

    Christelle Paré

    Saturday, 17 march 2018 10:46

    Saturday, 17 march 2018 10:46

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    It is true that all this may seem extremely destabilizing : to see a flagship québec business as Just for laughs go to of american interests strikes a hard blow to our pride. And said ” Oh, no ! Not another one ! It does not stop anymore ! Rona, Cirque du Soleil… and now Just for laughs ! “

    And what of the insecurity which reigns supreme among the artists who were born in the prism of Just for laughs, either at galas, comedy, musicals, theatre plays, etc

    And this is not to mention the mental anguish that can live currently hundreds of workers of the offices of the St-Laurent street and elsewhere in Canada, the United States, France, and so on.

    And the Americans in question, ICM Partners, does not form a cute SMES full of promise : it’s a big machine entertainment, which has over 4,500 customers, over 400 employees, and is managed in the form of “partnership”, such as the large law firms. These partners are at number 40, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This is one of the seven largest talent agencies in the us.

    It is also a range of cultural industries under one roof : movies, tv, publishing, music, humor, multimedia, and the list goes on and on with their ramifications. It is a business all-in-all : from Grey’s Anatomy to Céline Dion, from by Dr. Seuss, Dreamgirls, Chicago, Chris Rock and Ellen Degeneres.

    In a sense, when you think about it, ICM Partners, does not have a profile too different from Just for laughs on this side. Just for laughs is well known in television, musical theatre, theatre, humor, career management, agency performance, and it has offices around the world also.

    However, the company’s legendary québec was born of an event, as ICM Partners came to the world as a result of marriage of business, the merger of two talent agencies. The economic model is also different in the sense that ICM Partners, belongs to several partners, whereas Just for laughs, it is not only the baby of Gilbert Rozon, but it is also a story of family. His sisters (including Luce and Lucie Rozon) and his brother Francis (now at the head of Yet) have contributed closely to the development of the company.

    Especially, and quite frankly, the owners of ICM Partners, in addition to having the default to be americans, are experts in the English-speaking world. Then what will happen to it while speaking Just for laughs ? Why have we not managed to keep property in quebec ?


    Welcome change… we have other choices ?

    The world of humor changes, including the quebec industry. We discover more and more attractive to the small theatres, the bearing of solo shows (read here to stop a tour after less than two years, even if it goes well, because the artists want to say something else), the contents burst, etc

    The all does not like a 180 degree turn. And it should not be either. It is little by little.

    Despite this pace pretty conservative, it is upsetting. Some industry members feel uncomfortable and it is quite normal. And all of a sudden, the pioneer and pillar of the industry will also see them pass to foreign interests. Ayoye ! There cannot be a better catalyst !

    Is it that the partners of ICM Partners will understand the subtleties of the market in quebec, the quebec art of humor ? Will they give it all the importance that is due to him ? It is extremely insecure situation.

    By contrast, I say that they have an interest for the French market, without which they would not have acquired or would have tried to dispose of it in the last days. According to The Press, Quebecor would have negotiated with ICM Partners to acquire the pan-francophone of the company, but without result.

    We will need to still practice patience, even if everyone starts to be at the end. It will have to wait for the press conference of ICM Partners to get a better idea. The ball is in their camp. It is now up to them to convince us and to deliver the goods. These are intelligent people : if they hold a minimum of the French-language market, they will do everything not to alienate its industry and its public.

    And that will happen if they do not hold ? The industry is too strong to crumble. There are too many players for our laughter to stop spread. Just for laughs, it is a building, it is a monument, but since its inception, several companies have joined its square of sand and the reports of strength are not what they were 15 years ago only. We have in Quebec a beautiful expertise coupled with an extraordinary talent. ICM Partners would be crazy to pass, and the industry in quebec would be naive not to see this as an opportunity to grow even more, with or without the Americans.