Carl Reiner was among the most influential and innovative minds in comedy history. His work as a writer, actor, director, and producer continues to inspire generations of artists who have followed in his wake. Reiner was an eleven-time Emmy-winner and won a Grammy for his 2,000 Year Old Man album, co-created and performed with Mel Brooks. He was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2000.
Reiner’s work on seminal early TV comedies like Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour sparked his creation of the landmark Dick Van Dyke Show, which he also wrote and appeared in. His semi-autobiographical novel, Enter Laughing, was the root of a film, play, and musical of the same title. His feature film directing credits include The Jerk, Oh, God!, The Comic, All of Me, and Where’s Poppa?
Stand-up comedian Lewis Black uses his trademark style of comedic ranting to skewer anything that gets under his skin. Black is a two-time Grammy Award-winner, a New York Times bestselling author, and former playwright-in-residence at Manhattan’s West Bank Café – where he oversaw the development of more than 1,000 plays, including his own original works. His “Back in Black” is among the longest-running segments on Comedy Central’s Daily Show. His critically acclaimed HBO and Comedy Central specials, concert films, and live shows have established Black among the most resounding voices in political humor.
Jim Gaffigan is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer, and five-time Grammy-nominee for his specials Mr. Universe, Obsessed, Cinco, Noble Ape, and Quality Time. Gaffigan starred in, wrote, and executive produced The Jim Gaffigan Show with his wife, Jeannie. He is the author of Food: A Love Story and a memoir entitled Dad is Fat. His most recent special is the innovative Pale Tourist.
Laraine Newman is an original Saturday Night Live cast member who portrayed iconic characters including ‘Sheri the Valley Girl’ and ‘Connie Conehead.’ She co-founded the pioneering improvisational troupe, The Groundlings, with her sister Tracey. Newman is a prolific voice-over artist with feature film, television, and video game credits ranging from The Fairly OddParents and What’s New Scooby Doo? to Doc McStuffins and SpongeBob SquarePants.
W. Kamau Bell is host and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning CNN docu-series United Shades of America. He is host of the critically acclaimed podcasts Kamau Right Now and Politically Re-Active with fellow comedian Hari Kondabolu. His stand-up specials and albums include Semi-Prominent Negro, Private School Negro, and Face Full of Flour. Bell is the celebrity ambassador on racial justice for the ACLU and has been nominated for multiple NAACP Image Awards and a GLAAD Award. He has authored numerous essays and articles on social justice, as well as a memoir: The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell.
Kelly Carlin is the author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George, host of the Waking from the American Dream podcast and SiriusXM’s Kelly Carlin Show, and the writer/performer of a one-woman show called Driven to Distraction. She is also producer of the critically acclaimed Showtime series The Green Room with Paul Provenza. Carlin holds a master’s degree in Jungian Depth Psychology.
Rain Pryor’s award-winning solo show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, chronicles her life growing up Black and Jewish as the daughter of comic genius, Richard Pryor. She is an actress, singer, writer, activist, motivational speaker, and mother. She made her TV debut on the hit ABC series Head of the Class and starred on the Showtime series Rude Awakening. Her stage credits include playing the title role in the UK tour of The Billie Holiday Story and the title role of Ella Fitzgerald in the UK premiere of Ella, Meet Marilyn.
Violet Ramis Stiel is the author of Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad Harold Ramis – a “hilarious and heartwarming account of his life, work, and legacy” as a writer, director, and actor. She is the mother of six and a former teacher and social worker.
The daughter of Lenny Bruce and granddaughter of Sally Marr, Kitty Bruce is an actress, singer, and trailblazing addiction and recovery specialist. Bruce founded the Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation in 2008. Working closely with sober houses and treatment programs, Bruce oversees many aspects of addiction service and provides scholarships for sober living programs.
Pete Docter is the Oscar-winning director of Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out, and Chief Creative Officer at Pixar Animation Studios. Docter was a co-creator and supervising animator of Toy Story, a storyboard artist for A Bug’s Life, and wrote the initial story treatments for Toy Story 2 and WALL-E. He executive produced Monsters University, Brave, and Toy Story 4.
Robert Klein is an Emmy-, Grammy-, and Tony-nominated stand-up comedian and Broadway, TV, and film actor. In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live HBO concert. He originated the role of Vernon in the Neil Simon-Marvin Hamlisch musical They’re Playing Our Song, opposite Lucie Arnaz. His albums Child of the Fifties and Mind Over Matter were Grammy-nominated as “Best Comedy Album of the Year.” He is the author of the coming-of-age memoir The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue and the subject of the documentary film Robert Klein: Still Can’t Stop His Leg.
Paul Feig is an Emmy-nominated actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He is the creator of Freaks and Geeks and a director of TV shows including The Office, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation. His is the director of feature films including Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Ghostbusters. Feig has appeared as an actor in films and television shows including Heavyweights, That Thing You Do!, Knocked Up, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale.
George Shapiro, one of comedy’s most respected managers and producers, has built a career out of his love for laughter and his reverence for those with a gift to inspire it. Together with partner and lifelong friend, Howard West, he formed Shapiro/West Productions and executive produced the Emmy-, Peabody-, and Golden Globe-winning TV series Seinfeld. As an agent, Shapiro packaged TV programs including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and That Girl. He was the long-time manager of Andy Kaufman and produced Jerry Seinfeld’s very first stand-up special. He recently received critical acclaim for producing the HBO documentary If You’re Not in The Obit, Eat Breakfast, hosted by Carl Reiner.
Paula Poundstone is a touring stand-up comedian who performs over 85 shows each year, has starred in her own series on HBO and ABC, and has released numerous HBO comedy specials. She is a popular panelist on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and the host of the weekly podcast Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone. She was the first woman to perform at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and was the recipient of an American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-Up Comic.
George Schlatter is the creator and producer of the landmark comedy television series Laugh-In. In 1978, he created (and produced for 15 years) the American Comedy Awards. He is an Emmy- and Grammy-winner, as well as the recipient of Directors and Producers Guild Awards. He has produced Grammy Award ceremonies, People’s Choice Award ceremonies, Presidential inaugurations, and – since 1990 – every Carousel of Hope Ball for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. He is the producer of TV specials starring Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, and scores of others, as well as the co-producer (with Whoopi Goldberg) of Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin’ To Tell You.
Alan Zweibel is an Emmy-winning comedy writer who has contributed to seminal television shows including Saturday Night Live, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, The David Letterman Show, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He collaborated with Billy Crystal on the Tony-winning play 700 Sundays and is the author of the best-selling book Bunny Bunny – Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy, which was adapted for the stage. Zweibel is the author of twelve books, including the 2006 Thurber Prize-winning novel The Other Shulman, and dozens of pieces in publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and MAD Magazine. Recently, Alan and his wife Robin executive produced the documentary Love, Gilda.
Robin Zweibel began her TV career as an NBC Page and then joined the production staff of Saturday Night Live where she met her husband, Alan, and her dear friend, Gilda Radner. During those years, she also worked with Paul Shaffer and Lorne Michaels as Associate Producer for the record album Live from New York with Gilda. Robin also runs an interior and landscape design company (Robin Zweibel Designs).
Mark Russell hosted his popular Mark Russell Comedy Specials for 30 years on public television, daring to joke and sing about our nation’s often-absurd political process. His syndicated newspaper column has been enjoyed all over America, along with his many CDs and videos. Mark’s piano at the Marquee Lounge at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC became “the place” where politicians would go to hear jokes about what they had done that day. His answer to the frequently asked question “Do you have any writers?” is: “Oh, yes…I have 535 writers. One hundred in the Senate and 435 in the House of Representatives.”
Steinberg began his comedy career as a member of the Second City comedy troupe and four years later was starring on Broadway. He started his stand-up comedy career at the Bitter End in 1969 and became one of Johnny Carson’s favorite Tonight Show guests and guest hosts, logging 140 appearances – second only to Bob Hope. He is a director of television, feature films, and hundreds of commercials, and is the executive producer of Inside Comedy – a documentary series about the evolution of comedy across the past five decades.
Joan Dangerfield founded the Rodney Dangerfield Institute at Los Angeles City College in 2017. She is also president of Paper Clip Productions and Dangerfield Entertainment and provides exclusive consulting services to secure US artists and branded interactive exhibitions for private and government-owned companies in China. Dangerfield co-produced a two-hour documentary about Rodney’s life for A&E in 2006. Dangerfield’s philanthropic passions include serving on the board of UCLA’s Department of Neurosurgery and affiliations with such organizations as the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and the International Festival and Event Association.
Paul Provenza is a stand-up comedian, filmmaker, actor, author, and radio personality. His television work includes hosting and producing Showtime’s The Green Room. After decades in comedy, Provenza found a new calling as an interviewer of other comedians, culminating in his 2005 directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film The Aristocrats. His book, ¡Satiristas!, features in-depth interviews with Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, George Carlin, and Marc Maron.
Stephen J. Morrison is the Emmy-nominated executive producer of the CNN docu-series History of Comedy, for which he conducted more than 60 interviews with prolific comedy minds. Morrison is also executive producer of exhibit media for the National Comedy Center.
As senior account executive at Jonas Public Relations, Jeff Abraham has represented some of the biggest names in comedy, including – for the last 11 years of his life – George Carlin. Abraham is regarded as one of comedy’s most respected historians and has been a consultant for countless documentary filmmakers and authors. He is owner and curator of one of the largest comedy album archives in the country and is the author of an authorized biography of the Ritz Brothers.