Fellows attend an intensive training weekend where our team and other experts in comedy and entertainment will provide individualized feedback on their project’s pitch. We also provide fellows with workshops and sessions designed to improve their pitch and project. Attendees receive travel stipends.
Fellows are invited to pitch at our end of year Showcase to a curated audience of entertainment industry professionals, including networks, streamers, production companies, agents & managers, as well as other artists and activists, reps from social justice organizations, philanthropies/potential funders, etc.
Fellows receive a $2,000 creative stipend, and a travel stipend, to participate in the festival/showcase.
Fellows automatically become a part of YALL Community, where they are eligible to attend ongoing professional development and networking opportunities.
The application open date changes each year but generally we open applications in January or February. The 2023 YALL Fellowship Application opens February 13, 2023.
Your project can be in any stage of development when you apply. It can be a just concept on paper, a fully written script, a full series you’ve already created that you want to adapt/develop, etc.
Our application is updated each year but the core questions remain the same. We want to know about the project you’re making, what social justice issue(s) it addresses, why it is important to you, why you’re making it now, and how your project merges comedy & social justice themes to support marginalized communities.
We are looking for all kinds of comedy genres! Projects may be in any format (a web video, live performance, film, television series, print, screenplay, etc.) and may be any range of comedy style (satire, parody, sketch, stand-up, song, etc.).
We are looking for projects that tackle any and all social justice issues – topics like racism, gender equity, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism & disability justice, mental health, elder care, poverty, homelessness, education, climate justice, mass incarceration — and all the ways these issues intersect. Check out the Finalists & Fellows part of our website to see which projects have been selected each year.
You don’t need to be a professional comedian to apply; the Laughter Lab is open to anyone. If you have a great idea and can convince us that, with some help, you can make it happen, your project may be selected. That said, in 2019 all of the Laughter Lab winners were working comedy writers and performers with years of experience honing their skills. Experience matters, friends!
The rules limit submissions to one per person. If you have more than one project that you think is a good fit, go with the one that you think is the funniest. Because at the end of the day, if it’s not really funny, it won’t be effective at achieving any meaningful social impact.
If you aren’t sure that you can attend, apply and let us know which you may not be able to attend. If you are sure that you can’t attend, then perhaps hold off and apply next year instead. Both the training retreat and the pitch showcases are critical components of the Laughter Lab.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to pay for more than two people to attend the pitch day, so if your project is a collaboration, we will need you to select two representatives to attend. But group projects are welcome to apply! You can make it clear in your application who are the additional members of your team even if only two of you can physically attend.
There are no guarantees. All we can do is put you in the best position possible to impress some of the people who can help your project succeed. After that, it’s up to you!
In light of COVID-19, YALL asks attendees and participants of our in-person events to follow certain health & safety protocols. These guidelines are subject to change per event but may include mask wearing, COVID-19 testing, and other protocols. Event participants and attendees will be notified of these guidelines prior to the event.