Way back when, a court jester’s job was to amuse the king. But what if the king had such a good sense of humor that he didn’t need a court jester? He’d be his own court jester! That kind of describes Andy Nulman, the current President of the Montreal based, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, the biggest and most prestigious comedy festival in the world. Andy’s the King of the Festival, but he’s also a funny guy in his own right!
Not “stand-up comedy” funny, but funny as in entertainingly funny, as you’ll see in the photos below where we took turns being huge!
The inspiration for this action on our parts, was that when I went to see Andy backstage at Russell Peters hit show, “Best Night Ever” at the Place Des Arts in Montreal, Andy and everyone else were being guarded by two “HUGE” guys, the guys that run security for the festival, Alan “Fluffy” Schwartz, ( which is not the usual name that you would expect for such a HUGE guy! LOL ) and Big Bill. I decided to hang between them! I’m not sure they even noticed I was there!
As current President of the festival he helped found 29 years ago, Andy currently serves as the President of Festivals and Television, something he is truly accomplished at. Taking the festival from it’s original two days, and turning it in to a month long event, Nulman has created/Exec. Produced over 150 festival TV shows, all over the world, as well as bringing in multi-million dollar corporate sponsorships!
In the attached exclusive video interview Andy did with Comedy Matters TV’s Jeffrey Gurian, he tells the story of how the festival almost never got off the ground until Bob Williams of the Spotlite Agency got him Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno in the early days, and how in 1988 Marty Klein a top agent from APA who was also a Montrealer, told Andy that the next year he would get him John Candy as his host, and he’d get the festival a deal with HBO. That’s what turned the tide for the festival. A great story!
In 1999, Nulman left the Festival’s full-time employ, and limited his participation to directing the star-studded galas, which until recently were at the St. Denis Theatre. Now they are held at the much nicer Place Des Arts.
To say that Andy Nulman is a successful businessman would be such an understatement. It would be like saying, ” Einstein was a pretty smart guy!” Andy is also the founder, President, and CMO of Airborne Mobile, a media-space company, which he wound up selling to Japan in 2005 for almost $100 million smackeroos (Smackeroos are very similar to Japanese yen. I think the conversion rate is 15 smackeroos to each Yen!) Which is basically why I felt comfortable asking him to break a twenty for me!
In 2006, Airborne was cited as North America’s 4th-Fastest Growing Tech Company by the Deloitte Fast 500, so in June of 2008, Nulman and his partner Garner Bornstein re-purchased the company. ( With all that money you’d think he could buy a better name than Garner Bornstein! LOL )
Andy was always a go-getter. Even before helping Gilbert Rozon found Just For Laughs, he was a journalist, starting at the age of 16 at the weekly tabloid The Sunday Express, and was eventually promoted to the positions of Entertainment Editor and Promotion Manager. He was a freelancer for publications like Variety, Us Magazine and the rock ‘n’ roll music bi-weekly Circus Magazine. He even toured the US with comic superstar Howie Mandel another native Canadian!
Listen to Andy tell it in his own words right here!