At this rich comedic moment in time, there are so many fabulous women behind the scenes who create and drive comedy. In addition to the wonderful comediennes we get to know and love, there are the writers, producers, directors and show runners.
They are smart, capable, talented women who have made their way in a male-dominated and challenging field. Along the road to creating humor, no one has escaped her own special and unique “tales from the dark side...” Cue the music – and let the conversation begin!
Co-Presented by NYWIFT and Carolines On Broadway as part of the 2015 New York Comedy Festival.
Susan Fales-Hill began her career as a writer's apprentice/warm-up person on The Cosby Show. Other credits include A Different World, Can’t Hurry Love, Kirk (all as Executive Producer) and LINC'S (Co-creator, Executive Producer). Fales-Hill has written countless pilot scripts which were "killed in infancy" by ruthless television executives. In 2000, she turned to writing books and has published three books so far and is pregnant with a fourth. Her articles have appeared in magazines ranging from Vogue to Architectural Digest. Fales-Hill is a die-hard New Yorker and her proudest co-production is her twelve year old daughter, Bristol. Her Ted Talk is available at TED EX Met.
Barbara Gaines received fifteen Emmy nominations and won five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) in her nineteen years as a producer for the Late Show with David Letterman. She was recently honored by the LGBT Center at their annual fundraising Women's Event. On May 20, 2015, after working for David Letterman for over 33 years and 6,028 episodes, Gaines found out she had a wife and son.
Jill Kopelman Kargman is not afraid to dish about life on the Upper East Side and is the creator, producer and star of the scripted comedy on Bravo, Odd Mom Out. She has written for several shows for MTV, including So Five Minutes Ago and the MTV News doc series Who Is. Kargman is a New York Times best-selling author of multiple books, including Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut, (which was #3 on the Humor chart behind Chelsea Handler and David Sedaris), as well as Momzillas, which is translated into fourteen languages and appeared on charts worldwide. After graduating from Yale in 1995, Kargman wrote for top fashion and lifestyle publications including Vogue, ELLE, Harper's Bazaar, and GQ.
Stephanie Laing, Executive Producer and Director, launched her career partnering with Tracey Ullman on her Emmy winning sketch comedy series, Tracey Takes On. Next came HBO’s Little Britain, followed by Eastbound & Down, and then Veep, where Laing directed two episodes during season 4. With eight Emmy nominations and two Emmy wins, Laing recently directed her first short film, Trouble & the Shadowy Deathblow starring Tony Hale, which won Best of the Festival at the Toronto International Short Film Fest and at The New Media Film Festival. Laing is an Executive Producer on the new Danny McBride HBO series, Vice Principals and just signed on to Sarah Jessica Parker’s new HBO series, Divorce. This fall, she is launching PYPO, a digital platform for women in comedy.
Elisa Zuritsky got her start writing humorous entertainment pieces at the humorous newspaper, the New York Post. Her work has also been published in The New York Times, The New York Observer, McSweeney's and The Huffington Post. In 2010, she wrote and directed Civil Unions: A Love Story, a short film about marriage equality. In 1998, she teamed up with lifelong friend Julie Rottenberg and began writing for television, most notably on HBO’s Sex and the City, where they were nominated for three Emmy Awards and three Writers Guild Awards. They have also written countless brilliant but under-appreciated pilots and staffed on New York-based series Six Degrees and Smash, before landing happily back in cable at Bravo’s Odd Mom Out. Elisa lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jordan and their two children
Lizz Winstead (Moderator), Co-Creator and Former Head Writer of The Daily Show and Air America Radio Co-Founder, has helped change the very landscape of how people get their news. As a performer, Winstead also brought her political wit to The Daily Show as a correspondent and later to the radio waves co-hosting Unfiltered, Air America's mid-morning radio show, with Chuck D and Rachel Maddow. Winstead's first book, Lizz Free or Die: Essays, was released in 2012 to incredible reviews and the paperback was released in May of 2013. She is currently doing stand-up, working on a second book and is spearheading Lady Parts Justice, a reproductive rights organization using humor and outrage to expose anti-choice zealots and mobilize people to take action in all 50 states.
Produced by Terry Greenberg and Meghan Scibona
Special Thanks to Caroline Hirsch
The New York Comedy Festival
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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Oct. 21, 2016