The History Of Just For Laughs Gags from 2000 to the present.
2000 – The birth of a comedy empire!
The year 2000 was an interesting year in pop culture. Amid the popularity of Harry Potter, DVD’s, Pokemon, the Just For Laughs Gags as you know them were born from the twisted minds hidden camera show veteran Pierre Girard and French Canadian comedy superstar (in his own mind) Jacques Chevalier Longueil.
The boys assembled a ragtag team of pranksters, some hideable cameras, a skunk on a stick and went for broke. After a tumultuous summer of filming in Montreal and a few bloody noses, the first half hour show debuted in the fall on Canal D – the Quebec version of what would be the love child of TLC and the Discovery Channel.
2001 – They like us, they really do!
The show was a planetary success in Quebec and so the filming season 2 began with new broadcasters on board: TVA (French Canada), Comedy Network (English Canada) and TF1 (France). International cred was had!
2002 – Keep on trucking’
Some geniuses somewhere realized that a prank show without any spoken word could work in any country – even above and in between countries! So the Gags found home in 40 different countries and 5 airlines. The Gags on planes have the highest watch rate, because even the few people who hate the show are forced to stay on the plane and watch it anyway.
2003 – We’re on a roll!
Season 4 starts filming, the Gags are shown on 4 different Canadian TV stations (TVA, Canal D, The Comedy Network & CBC). This is also the first time the Gags started pranking outside of Canada with two seasons of 6 episodes each produced in Ireland for the BBC.
We’re now rolling in the money so what do we do with it? We buy stuff we don’t know what to do with! The Gags purchase the a hidden camera series from Belgium in the 80s and 90s called “Just Kidding/Only Joking” which may or may not have originally inspired the actual Gags. It will take almost ten years before anybody figures out what to do with them – you can see them on YouTube under the Hidden Camera Classics channel.
2004 – 2006 Cruise Control
More shows filmed in Montreal, more shows in Ireland, more than 75 countries showing the series throughout the world; life was good.
2007 – USA
Season 8 gets picked up by the ABC Network of the United States of America! Millions of americans discover there’s other TV shows in Canada than Terrance and Phillip (the real ones not the South Park parody).
2008-2009 - Domo Arigato Mr Roboto
While seasons 9 and 10 are filmed in Montreal, the Mediacorp group hires the Gags team to shoot 13 episodes in Singapore. The Singapore pranks are so successful that they come back to compete with the original series all the way back to Canada and France.
2010 to 2011 – www
While filming seasons 11 and 12 someone with half a brain discovers there’s such a thing as video streaming on the web. BOOM! YouTube channel! This move introduces the show to millions of new fans across the world and the channel generates almost 300 million views.
In 2011, the gags also get a new sister show, Just Kidding (not to be confused with the old Just Kidding) a brand new hidden camera prank show with a twist… all pranksters will be kids! The show premiered in Canada on the TVA network but is called “Full Ado“. Pierre Girard explains the reasons behind the different name “French people talk in a whole different language, I know, it’s a crazy idea. They just use different words for the same things and apparently “Just Kidding” doesn’t mean anything in that language.”
2012 - The dawn of digital
Season 13, the unlucky one goes on air. Just Kidding season 1 is scheduled to air in the fall on Teletoon. And then happens: the present! The strange time in history when things happen at the same time as they happen.
The Gags YouTube channel explodes with 500,000 subscribers and over 600 million views. It enters the top 100 YouTube channels and generates over 3 million video views a day!
The official website it launched (FYI: you’re on it right now) with plans for an online store in the works.
The “Sexy Bikini Nun” prank video becomes the first 30 million view video soon to be followed by the “Head in the toilet” video.
New channels galore, more videos, full episode, compilations, a new website, DVDs, T-Shirts, sleepless nights, pants and tons of interesting things happen all at the same time.
The Just Kidding YouTube channel is launched with great success, it beats our estimates and grows to over 15,000 subscribers and over 500,000 views in less than a month.