Comedy Makers: Tale From The Dark Side
November 9, 2015 – by Margarita Sophia Cortes
Get ready for another fun-filled night with a mixed panel of women writers, producers, directors and show runners in “Comedy Makers: Tales From The Dark Side” presented at Carolines on Broadway on Tuesday, November 10, 2015
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) has teamed up for the third time with Carolines as part of the New York Comedy Festival, and this year’s event is moderated by Lizz Winstead, co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show. The funny ladies this year include Stephanie Laing, Elisa Zuritsky, Jill Kargman, Barbara Gaines, and Susan Fales-Hill.
The event is produced by veteran studio marketing executive and NYWIFT Board member Terry Greenberg, whose extensive career in both film and television includes working with the likes of Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and The New York Film Festival, just to name a few.
We caught up with Terry to ask her about the upcoming evening and how this amazing event grew to become an anticipated annual gathering.
This is the third time you are producing the panel for NYWIFT on the topic of women in comedy. What was the inspiration behind the first program?
Terry Greenberg: The impetus behind the first program was a classic case of two NYWIFT members meeting across a crowded conference table at a Career Focus Group in the NYWIFT office (shoutout to Joanne Zippel and Zip Creative). Susan Ades (my first co-producer) and I acknowledged our mutual love of comedy and wanted to create something for NYWIFT together. I finagled an introduction to Caroline Hirsch, who was very supportive and receptive to letting us do a panel at Caroline’s On Broadway in conjunction with the New York Comedy Festival. And that’s how it all began!
Comedy Makers has become an annual anticipated event. What do you think makes people want to come out and support women in comedy?
TG: Comedy is so hot right now, and there are so many fabulous women in comedy who are seizing the moment! I think everyone can relate to comedy – in one way or the other – and there are so many different types of comedians out there now who offer something for everyone. People enjoy comedy because they can relate to it, and it’s insightful and entertaining. It’s the perfect combo!
Your first panel featured the likes of Whitney Cummings and Fran Drescher and was moderated by Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times. What was that discussion like? Any highlights? How was the audience reception?
TG: The first panel was great because we explored “Women of Comedy Through the Generations,” and how comedy evolved and changed from the earlier years to today – from comedy clubs to digital media – which is quite a fascinating span. It was wonderful to hear Delia Ephron talk about “older Hollywood” and Samantha Bee share her take on up-to-the-minute challenges. Fran Drescher was incredible – so smart and candid, and Whitney Cummings was also very open and charismatic. It was an extremely lively and enlightening discussion!
[Pictured: Lea DeLaria and Judy Gold | Photo credit: Phil Provencio, New York Comedy Festival]
Your second panel was an even bigger smash hit with a shout out from The Daily Beast citing “These Women are Labias-to-the-Wall funny.” What were the takeaways from that discussion?
TG: The second panel was incredible in a different way – “Women Aren’t Funny: Debunking the Myth.” Bonnie McFarlane, our moderator, had produced a documentary called Women Aren’t Funny – which of course, is a ridiculous male concept, so we used that as our basis for discussion. Our panelists were all women of comedy who performed, wrote and produced – Marina Franklin, Blair Breard, and two larger-than-life funny women, Lea DeLaria and Judy Gold, who were all smart and hilarious! We debunked that myth in no time flat! And when Lea sang a torchy ballad a cappella (at a request from an audience member), it brought the house down and we decided to end the program right there! When Blair Breard’s “Labias-to-the-Wall” comment went viral, even Roseanne Barr retweeted it, which showed us the enormous power of women and comedy, and the huge interest and support for it.
Tell us about the women in Tuesday’s 2015 event and how you came to choose them.
TG: We are very excited about this year’s event – “Comedy Makers: Tales from the Dark Side” – which I am producing with Meghan Scibona. Since we basically explored comedy through comedians the first two years, this year we wanted to do something different. So we are going behind the scenes to talk with women who create and drive comedy – writers, producers, directors and show runners. These women are all deep in the thick of it, and have wonderful stories to share, especially personal “tales from the dark side” that we feel NYWIFT members (and guests) can all relate to. Sometimes the darkest of tales result in the best comedy, and these women are ready to rise to the occasion: Stephanie Laing, Elisa Zuritsky, Jill Kargman, Barbara Gaines, and Susan Fales-Hill. And we feel incredibly lucky to have Lizz Winstead as our moderator. We are looking forward to another amazing evening of Women in Comedy!
Comedy Makers: Tales From The Dark Side will be held at Carolines on Broadway on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 – Get your tickets here!