If 2017 has proven anything, it's that being a woman in the world is just as hard as we thought. Being a woman in comedy is even harder. Of the nine comedians picked for the 2018 season of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents, only three identify as women. None of these women is a person of color. As in all industries, this lack of gender parity is frustrating because it's not like women aren't making comedy. They are — a lot of it! Now, as entertainers flock to satire as a way of understanding our absurd political situation, there is a funny surplus. It's just that the funny at the top of the chain isn't as diverse as it could be.
As a way of bolstering diverse comedy, RIOT, Refinery29's comedy branch, is partnering with TBS for a comedy lab — think of it as a petri dish filled with support for diverse voices. The women participating are already formidable voices in comedy. For the lab, produced in collaboration with TBS, each woman submitted a video pitch and treatment. During the course itself, the writers will spend two days in New York City working on these treatments with Sasheer Zamata (SNL), Ashley Nicole Black (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Meredith Scardino (The Colbert Report), and Lakshmi Sundaram (Brooklyn Nine-Nine). The end product of the lab will be one television pilot, produced by TBS, that the participant can then shop around. These labs are the birthplace of great television, so pay attention.
Ahead, meet the talented participants for Refinery29's inaugural comedy lab.
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