Comedy points out the absurdity of bigotry. Comedy makes hard truths easier to hear. Comedy exposes hypocrisy. Comedy challenges the status quo when protocol protects the powerful. Comedy stigmatizes bad behavior. Comedy opens our eyes to other perspectives and experiences. Comedy serves as a form of catharsis, social critique, and opens the door to talking about taboo experiences; it normalizes groups and individuals too often portrayed as “the other.” Today, diverse comedy writers and performers want to create hilarious comedy that reveals their lived experiences, addresses injustice, and brings people together to connect about urgent topics like racial justice, gender equity, climate change, and Islamophobia. They want their comedy to make it in Hollywood while collaborating with philanthropists, social movements and social justice organizations to increase its impact. And yet, until now there was no model to make them visible and support them.
Launched in 2019, the Yes And…Laughter Lab is a competitive incubation lab and pitch program that lifts up diverse comedy writers and performers creating new comedy about topics that matter. The Laughter Lab is designed to introduce diverse comedians to the entertainment industry, social justice organizations, philanthropists and activists who can help bring their work into the entertainment marketplace – and into movements for social change.
The Yes, And… Laughter Lab is an essential part of the comedy landscape — designed to be one of the most important places for networks, platforms and distributors to find exciting new comedy content and creators, while connecting an expanding pool of non-profit and advocacy organizations with potent creative partners.
You can read about our inaugural winners here.
And that was just the beginning…
In 2020, the Laughter Lab will select ten applicants (or teams of applicants) from across the country to pitch their comedy projects, five in New York and five Los Angeles, to a room of hand-picked television and streaming network development executives, comedy producers and directors, cultural strategists, non-profit leaders, and foundation representatives. The goal is to build support around each comedy project to accelerate its impact and influence.
Laughter Lab comedians overwhelmingly come from diverse communities often overlooked or typecast in Hollywood, including immigrants and refugees, women, queer and trans folks, people of color, and religious minorities. The Laughter Lab is an essential part of the comedy and social change landscapes. Over time it will become one of the most important places for major networks, platforms and distributors to find exciting new comedy content and creators, while connecting an expanding pool of non-profit and advocacy organizations with potent creative collaborators.