By Jean Criss
On Thursday, November 3rd, 2016, New York Women in Film & Television and Carolines on Broadway co-presented Made in New York: Comedy Makers. This latest edition of the annual Women in Comedy panel, now in its 4th year, was part of the 2016 New York Comedy Festival and named one of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s 50 for 50 programs, highlighting the best of the best of the NY Entertainment industry for MOME’s 50th anniversary. A night of comedy, insights and work/life balance discussions were among the top dialogues…and a few others that I just can’t repeat!
Joining us were panelists including Jeannie Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show), actor, producer, writer, philanthropist and mother of five; Carrie Keagan, proudly known as a “crass” comedienne, also an author, actress and entrepreneur; Phoebe Robinson, creator and co-star of the 2 Dope Queens podcast from WNYC; Julie Rottenberg (Odd Mom Out), a playwright, comedy writer, former comic book editor and Sex and the City producer; and Liz Tucillo (How to Be Single), a Sex and the City writer, author and director. Cat Greenleaf, host of Talk Stoop, moderated, and Dion Flynn was the emcee. Dion is best known for playing President Barack Obama on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and leads improve workshops in mental agility via improvisation with Fortune 500 companies.
A filmmaker’s dream: sit on the stoop with Cat, share a conversation or two with these fab writers and producers, or see Dion’s improv come to life. Well, that’s what we got! A room full of the best of the best in comedy. This eclectic group of creative, talented and dynamic comedy makers shared their insights about their experiences in the business within New York City and beyond.
Julie Rottenberg (photo © Jody Lauren Miller)
Here are some of the evening’s most impressive takeaways:
- “President Barack Obama” kicked off the night as he developed his post-presidency “comedy routine”
- New Yorkers have an “elite-ness” different from other audiences around the U.S. – Gaffigan
- Women are working in the “golden age” of television. -Greenleaf
- Women listen, support one another and throw things to each other. – Rottenberg
- Comedy (meaning what is funny) is no different for men or women. – Robinson
- It’s a great time for white ladies in comedy. – Robinson
- How do we elevate black women in comedy? – Greenleaf
- Answer: as Donald Glover (actor/writer/rapper, Atlanta, Community) put it – “hire writers of all colors”
- The TV networks are gatekeepers/decisions makers/buyers. They need to think bigger. – Tuccillo
- With the election on TV 24/7, there are no excuses for women not to engage. WATCH TV! Understand the power of television and help change the landscape. – Keagan
- Web TV, YouTube and other social platforms allow us to have a stronger presence. – Keagan
- Use social media as conversation vs. simply liking and sharing. Yes, it takes time but then you get in the swing of it. – Phoebe Robinson
- Do you tailor humor for social media (e.g. Facebook Live vs. TV?) – Cat Greenleaf
- Answer from all: YES!
- The group’s favorite TV shows include: Stranger Things, High Maintenance, Insecure, Better Things, How to Get Away with Murder, Broadchurch, Broad City, Narcos and The Walking Dead
- All listed more art/work/life balance as a goal for next year
- And it’s ok to take a break too. – Gaffigan (mom of five)
Made in New York: Comedy Makers is one of over 50 programs, panels and professional development workshops produced by NYWIFT each year. Check out the NYWIFT events calendar to see what’s coming up next!