Los Angeles Diversity in Comedy Festival







SAVE THE DATE • 2018 OCT 11-14 





Submission Deadline: September 17th and Award Notification will be on Friday, Oct 11th

Eligibility Requirements: Any diverse student or actor, 19 or over, who meets the application requirements can apply. The Los Angeles Diversity in Comedy Festival is seeking talent including but not limited to those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific, Sub Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Middle Eastern, LGBTQ, Transgender, and Female.

This Scholarship is at Second City Hollywood only and if awarded and living out of state or country, you must be responsible for any travel, lodging or housing accommodation during your scholarship period. All classes will take place at The Second City Training Center in Hollywood. Scholarship award is good for one year of study in improvisation, musical improvisation, or sketch comedy writing. The awarded applicant will receive one full length class per term (6 terms in total) in the year 2018, based on what applicant is eligible to take by Second City Hollywood’s training standards and prerequisites.

Download LADCF scholarship application here. 



The goal of this festival is to offer a platform for celebrating the unique points of view that come from diverse talent in Los Angeles and beyond. This festival will offer performers of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to explore issues of diversity across race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity through performances, panels, and workshops. Hosted by The Second City in Hollywood, this festival will take place in Los Angeles on:

2018 Festival Dates are October 11, 12, 13, and 14.

Who qualifies as “diverse”? We feel that diversity extends to any group of underrepresented cultural voices- this could be based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. If you believe your comedic voice is underrepresented and reflects your unique background…apply!

Over the next few months we will be adding information on our many workshops, guest panels and performers. Check back for current updates!


Los Angeles Times: Second City Hollywood to launch Diversity in Comedy Festival




2107 Friday, Oct 20th
2017 Saturday, Oct 21st
2017 Sunday, Oct 22nd
4-7PM Opening Night Party at St. Felix

7PM The Babysitter’s Club & Lil White Lies – 3Arts Stage

8PM: Mama’s Boy w/Martin Garcia – The Improv

8PM Ithamar Has Nothing to Say – SC Studio Theater

8PM Preach! & How About Beige? – 3Arts Stage

9:30PM Stand Up with Valerie Tosi & Friends – The Improv

9:30PM Live Rude Girls – SC Studio Theater

10PM Stock Image & 850 FICO – 3Arts Stage













12:00PM The Really Awesome Improv Show – SC Studio Theater

12PM WORKSHOP – Real Women Have Verbs

12PM WORKSHOP – Reclaiming Our Time: A PREACH! Workshop

12:30PM PANEL – Asian AF Panel – 3Arts Stage

1:30PM PANEL – Networking for People Who Hate Networking – SC Studio Theater

2PM Room to Improv & Cold Tofu – 3Arts Stage

3PM Queer Window – SC Studio Theater

3:30PM Number One Son & Essence – 3Arts Stage

4PM WORKSHOP – Writing Your Late Night Packet

4:30PM CarteLOL & Girl on Gurl – SC Studio Theater

5PM Virgin Territory – 3Arts Stage

6PM LADCF Sponsors Panel – SC Studio Theater

7PM White Women & Voltron – 3Arts Stage

8PM The Black Version – The Improv

8PM Hispanic Attack – SC Studio Theater

8:30PM Hot Tin Roof & Black People – 3Arts Stage

9:30PM Some F*cking Advice – SC Studio Theater

10PM Spanglish & Improvosos Peligrosos – 3Arts Stage

10:30PM FESTIVAL JAM – SC Studio Theater

12PM Arcade Currency & Mom’s Favorite – 3Arts Stage

12PM WORKSHOP – Hosting: Your Guide to the Basics

12:30PM PANEL – Qué Funny: the fun and challenges of doing comedy when Latinx!

1:30PM Can’t Tell Us Nothing & Bl-asian – 3Arts Stage

2PM M.E. So Funny & Color Collective – SC Studio Theater

2PM WORKSHOP – Body and Soul: An Intro into the World of Jetzo

3PM Feelings & Heraldo – 3Arts Stage

3:30PM Two Queens, 1 Mic & Arabnophobia – SC Studio Theater

4:30PM EsL & Pumps – 3Arts Stage

5:00PM SlyChum & Indian Wedding – SC Studio Theater

6PM Gringos & Black Don’t Crack – 3Arts Stage

6:30PM Jetzo & Ithamar – SC Studio Theater











Opening night party Oct 20th at St. Felix Hollywood 4-7pm

Closing night party Oct 22nd at Lono Hollywood 7-10pm

There are three active stages during the festival, please take note which stage your show is at when purchasing tickets.
The Second City Studio City Stage (located on 2nd floor with no elevator access)
3 Arts Stage (located on 2nd floor with no elevator access)
The Hollywood Improv





 Mama’s Boy with guest Martin Garcia
Mama’s Boy is an all-female improv group plus one male guest. “Mama’s Boy” is Nyima Funk, Nancy Hayden, Maribeth Monroe, Jaime Moyer and Amy Phillips. Partial credits include: Modern Family, Workaholics, Wild ‘N Out, Watch What Happens Live, Keeping Up with the Jones, KC Undercover, The Brink, Detroiters, SiriusXM’s Reality Checked, The Good Place, Parks and Recreation, Teachers, Key & Peele, The Back-up Plan, Maron, Two Broke Girls, Cougar Town, and many more.

Maribeth Monroe  

Nancy Hayden


Nyima Funk Amy Phillips Jaime Moyer


Stand Up with Valerie Tosi & Friends
Valerie Tosi Valerie Tosi, aka the guardian angel of drunk girls crying in the bathroom, is also a comedian, actor, and voiceover artist. (Let’s be real, Valerie’s merely killing time until someone casts her as a young Dana Scully.) Fun fact: Prior to pursuing comedy she lived in Massachusetts and was a 911 dispatcher… So no, stand-up isn’t “the scariest thing she’s ever done”. She has performed at The Comedy Store, The Improv, Zanies, The Comedy Studio, The Punchline, and numerous alt shows. You might have seen her on the road in several comedy festivals including Limestone, Laughing Skull, Out of Bounds, Laugh Your Asheville Off and more. An alumni of both The Second City & iO West, her improv background led to several Buzzfeed videos garnering millions of views… And one video with Kevin Hart & Ice Cube. She is currently hosting and producing her own show at The Hollywood Improv, The Mermaid Comedy Hour, showcasing up and coming female comics & nationally touring headliners.

Melanie MarasMulti-ethnic and bi-cultural, Melanie is originally from Jakarta, Indonesia. Melanie is an award-winning writer, comic, and storyteller who performs all over the world. She represented Indonesia in the Semifinals of the Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World Competition 2016 in Helsinki, Finland. The judges awarded her one of the highest scores for her performance. Melanie is the subject of a new documentary by Abe Forman-Greenwald that follows her stand-up journey as an Indonesian-American comic. Her digital series, INTERNATIONAL MUTT, is currently being developed by WB’s Stage 13 and director Anna Mastro.

Dalia Malek — Dalia Malek started stand-up in London and performed all over the UK, as well as in Ireland and Egypt. Her comedy was broadcast on BBC Radio, and she also performed at Latitude Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including Christian Knowles Productions’ Lunchtime Special show. Back home in California, she started hosting and producing her show Ground Floor in Hollywood and now runs it at the All Out Comedy Theater in the Bay Area. Her Twitter feed is regularly featured in round-ups on media sites like Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Someecards, and Funny or Die. She was featured in Splitsider, and was named one of the Frisky’s Funniest Feminists to Follow on Twitter, USA Today’s Young Feminists You Should Be Following on Twitter, and Bustle’s Feminist Twitter Accounts to Follow.

Smaranda Luna — Smaranda Luna is an Eastern-European actress; stand up comedian; writer and improviser. She immigrated to the U.S on a Fulbright scholarship after graduating from the National Drama Conservatory in Bucharest, Romania. After getting her MFA in Acting from UT Austin, she relocated to Los Angeles. Her credits include Closer to the Moon, Harley and the Davidsons, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival and numerous theatre productions. She is the co-creator of the digital series ‘Patti and Marina’ and ‘In Search of Melania Trump: From Under the Iron Curtain and Into the Sheets of Democracy: a Success Story’. smarandaluna.com, Ig: sma_luna

Wynter SpearsFrom Chicago, she has been seen hosting and performing in comedy shows all over LA, most recently at the Laugh Riot Grrrl Comedy Festival at Tao Comedy Studio, Flappers in Burbank and Claremont and The Ladies Room Show at Three Clubs. She performed at her first fish fry this summer because stage time is stage time. Please welcome Wynter Spears.

Faith Choyce — Subtly incisive LA native/unicorn Faith Choyce can be heard on Cameron Esposito & Rhea Butcher’s “Put Your Hands Together” and is the host of the intimately entertaining “Confession Hour” podcast. Faith has written for Reductress, performed at SF Sketchfest, and was a semi-finalist at the SF International Comedy Competition. Your favorite comedian once pulled Faith aside and whispered “Hey, you’re really funny!”

Bianca CristovaoBianca Cristovao is a stand up, actor and writer. She was last year finalist of Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World as well as HBO Comedy Wings and appeared on international Late Night television. When she doesn’t perform stand up comedy she directs and acts in sketches (WhoHaha, channel 101)and hosts podcast (Mixed Up with bianca and Madison) that celebrates diversity.

Jessica Wellington— Jessica is originally from North Carolina but started comedy at the Sacramento Comedy Spot after serving 6 years in the Air Force. She then moved to Los Angeles where she opens for Iliza Shlesinger and works at the World Famous Comedy Store. She was the first female to be hired as a “door guy” at the Comedy Store, a prestigious job that comes with a developmental slot at the club. There she has shared the stage with the likes of Joe Rogan, Ron White, Chris D’Elia, Ali Wong and many more.

 Ithamar Has Nothing to Say
Ithamar Enriquez performs a one man sketch show…without saying a word. Directed by Frank Caeti. Ithamar’s credits include: The Second City, Key and Peele, Arrested Development, Adam Ruins Everything, Teachers, The Office and the upcoming films Lady Bird and Unicorn Store.

Live Rude Girls
Live Rude Girls is an all-female comedy revue that carefully considers the question of whether women can be funny, and then takes the paper that the question was written on, tears it up, pours gasoline all over it, and uses it to start a dumpster fire protesting the defunding of Planned Parenthood. The cast fearlessly tackles topics like body shaming, street harassment, and the near-constant barrage of dick pics in this no-holds-barred satirical view on the female experience. The cast of Live Rude Girls has been described as “shrill,” “prettier if they smiled,” and “2/10: Would Not Bang.”

The Babysitter’s Club & Lil White Lies
Babysitters Club is an all-ladies improv team hailing from the vast reaches of Los Angeles who perform their own special flavor of a monoscene. *Not Actually Suitable for Children. Comprised of core members Nick Bouier, Maame-Yaa Aforo, Dani Adaliz, Sean Will, Ashley Romans, and Donovan Mitchell, Lil White Lies is a dynamic Improv group based exblackly in Los Angeles, California. Wielding a unique format, they are notably the first all black student team formed at The Groundlings School.

Preach! & How About Beige?
PREACH! is an explosive combination of spoken word and long-form improvisation. Established in 2016 and based in Chicago, Illinois, PREACH! trains their artistic voice on challenging apathy and promoting love and positivity through their art. The members of PREACH! are teachers, directors, caregivers, government employees… and they bring the spirit of a revolution wherever they perform. PREACH! has been featured in the Chicago Reader as a “Must See” group. They have performed at the Chicago Fringe Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival, the Detroit Improv Festival and the Nestival in Columbus, Ohio. PREACH! headlines and runs their own variety show “Sunday’s Best with PREACH!” at The Playground in Chicago. Social: @preachimprov • Individually, we are Judilin Bosita, Patricia Villetto, and Shalom Nieva. Mixed together, we are beige. How about beige?

 Stock Image & 850 FICO
Finally some non-threatening, diverse improv comedy for white people! Come chat with Seattle comedians Kesan Holt, Kristine Ota, Amit Nagar, and Kayla Teel about issues you face surrounding your race, class, gender, or sexual orientation. Share, laugh, and learn as we indulge in a satirical take on societal ignorance! 850 FICO is an all-black, all-funny improv team based in LA. They’ll make you laugh and give you credit tips so your credit score will no longer be a joke.

The Black Version
Give us a movie title and we’ll give you The Black Version. Rolling Stone magazine calls the show “Hot” and the cast a “Comedic A-Team,” LA Weekly says the show is “Red Hot” and “Scores more than its share of belly laughs,” while the LA Times calls the show “A Winner”! Returning to the festival for the second year in a row, The Black Version is an all-African-American cast that includes show creator Jordan Black along with comedy veterans Phil LaMarr, Nyima Funk, Gary Anthony Williams, Daniele Gaither, and Cedric Yarbrough, cast is subject to change, all under the direction of Karen Maruyama.

Daniele Gaither


Gary Anthony Williams


Jordan Black


Nyima Funk



Phil LaMarr Cedric Yarbrough Karen Maruyama


 The Really Awesome Improv Show (family friendly!)
Celebrating a 7yr run! Fun (and appropriate) for all ages, 2yrs-200, The Really Awesome Improv Show features improv games that rely on audience suggestions and participation, it’s great for the whole family and was voted “Best Kids’ comedy Show” by LA Magazine!
•“Your kids get to act like goofballs. Highly recommended.” -Patton Oswalt
•“Had a BLAST at this show. Kids (and adults) will LOVE!” -Susan Yeagley
•“A most impressive, quick on their feet (and wit) troupe.” -Tolucan Times

Queer Window
An LGBTQ variety show celebrating QUEER community and culture. Through storytelling, stand-up, music, drag, and more, our performers share the moments that shaped and inspired them. Throw open the curtains and experience the extravaganza that is QUEER WINDOW.

CarteLOL & Girl on Gurl
CarteLOL is the story about an entitled millennial named Jesse Esparza who inherits his father’s drug cartel. Jesse must move from Hollywood to Mexico to take over his father’s empire. He must learn to overcome his selfish ways in order to be the great leader his father entrusted him to be. Girl on Gurl is an unusually queer sketch show tackling all that’s funny and fabulous in the LGBTQ world!

Hispanic Attack
Are you afraid Latinos are taking your jobs? Your Medicaid? Your wife? You should be. Because we are, but first we’ll make you laugh about it. Don’t have a panic attack, come have a HisPanic Attack, it’s a fun 45 minute vacation…just don’t drink the water! Cast: Roxana Altamirano, Mario Barra, Jorge Berrios, David Luna, Jay Pichardo, Jennifer Polania Garcia, and Samira Izquierda. Directed by Martin Garcia. Assistant Director, Chris Trovador. Musical Direction by Darcy Kendall.

Some F*cking Advice
A powerhouse cast of Queer, Gay, Bisexual, Asexual, Trans and Straight performers, are taking everything out of the bedroom and putting it all onto the stage! Second City Hollywood is setting out to explore the private lives of individuals as they question themselves, their relationships, and their fantasies, all leading to the point where they seek out Some F*cking Advice. Inspired in part by Sex & Love advice institutions, such as Dr Ruth, Loveline, and Savage Love. This original sketch comedy is performed by Paul Bianchi, Reed Brice, Camirin Farmer, Alan Masa, Lauren Michaels, Mikey Mulhearn, April Showers and Libby Wahlmeier. Written by the cast and Tim Paul. Directed by Tim Paul. Assistant Director, Kathryn Hammond. Musical Direction by Hughie Stone Fish.

Jorge Berrios, Dwayne Colbert, Kaitlyn Tanimoto, and Chris Trovador will be hosting the FREE Festival Jam.
Come hang out on our playground!

Room to Improv & Cold Tofu
Room to Improv is an Asian-American improvisational theatre group that serves the LA community… and beyond! For 15 years, we have entertained audiences with our short-form stylings and long-form sensibilities. Our mission: create space for Asian-American performers to build their artistry and slay audiences along the way. Founded in 1981, COLD TOFU is the nation’s premier and longest running Asian American improv and comedy troupe dedicated to diversity and inclusion. We’ve recently put together the awesomest group of improvisers and we’ve got our game on: give us your suggestions and we’ll make our tofu hot for you coldtofu.com

Number One Son & Essence
NUMBER ONE SON is an all Asian Am, female team known for their high energy, off-the-walls comedy. They’re loud. They’re rambunctious. And they’re rowdy. Strap in because it’s going to be one crazy ride. ESSENCE is an all African American, female group that serves up the funny with elegance, class and style. Hang on to the edge of your seat for some unexpected, in yo’ face humor that’ll keep you laughing and make you think. Aliza Pearl, Ashleigh Hairston, Diona Reasonover, Genetra Tull, Licia Shearer and Markeia McCarty.

Virgin Territory
Stories of first times, new discoveries, and awkward explorations (Storytelling show, plus open-mic lottery!) Whether it’s a date, an adventure, a meal, a class, or something in between, the first time we experience something, it can be exciting, scary, funny, awkward…or something in between. Join a hilarious cast of storytellers as they open up about all these wonderful, uncomfortable, moments. And, if you have a 5-minute story on this theme to share, you can put your name in the hat for one of the two lottery spots in this show! Featuring: Aydrea Walden (BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS, The Oreo Experience), Madison Shepard (Comics to Watch, Empire Pre-Show Live), Pritesh Shah (SIX, CRIMINAL MINDS, GRIMM), Melanie Maras (Semifinalist, Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World), Maribeth Monroe (THE GOOD PLACE, DOWNSIZING, WORKAHOLICS)

White Women & Voltron
White Women, comprised of seven black, male comedy writers and actors, has performed on various stages across the US for the past four years. Group credits include New Girl (FOX), Brockmire (IFC), MadTV (CW) , Transparent (Amazon) , Ghosted (FOX) , AP Bio (NBC), Funny Or Die and Comedy Central. VOLTRON is a combination of legendary Asian American improvisors from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. The team can be seen performing every month at the hit comedy show “Asian AF”. VOLTRON is Lilan Bowden, Sarah Claspell, Kim Cooper, Eugene Cordero, Rene Gube, Zac Oyama, Dhruv Uday Singh, and Kathy Yamamoto.

Hot Tin Roof & Black People
Hot Tin Roof is 5 women on a comedy mission. We know guac is extra – but so are we. Black People is an LA-based group of veteran black improvisers with training and experience from Second City Chicago MainStage, Second City Chicago e.t.c. Stage, iO Chicago, and Boom! Chicago, among others. Credits include Key & Peele, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, House of Lies, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Ghosted, and many other television shows and movies.

Spanglish & Improvosos Peligrosos
Improvoso Peligrosos — Hablas Espanol? It doesn’t matter! Come check out this Spanish improv show! Gringos welcome if it’s not too spicy for you. Caliente! Picante! Pa’ Lante! Spanglish, will instantly make you feel like part of La Familia. Get ready for our Latin Sazon to add some flavor into your life! We are one Spicy recipe.

M.E. So Funny & Color Collective
M.E. So Funny – A 2-woman sketch show poking fun at Middle-Eastern culture (with love). Color Collective has been featured in LA weekly as one of the only variety shows featuring diverse talent of-up comedians, musical artists, sketch comedy, comedic videos and character pieces from actors in thecommunity. The Color Collective invites everyone, no matter their color, to see someone that looks like them on stage.

Two Queens, 1 Mic & Arabnophobia
Two Queens, 1 Mic is a comedy standup, sketch and improv show. Starring the Two Queens Taquita Love and Brandi Denise. Performing various characters varying from Michelle Obama to original characters; intertwined with hilarious standup, and entertaining sketches. The Chicago based show has been Featured in the Chicago Reader & The Chicago Tribune. You’ll never find a moment of monotony between the energy and outrageous banter these Two Queens Bring to the stage. Arabnophobia is a sketch show about the Arab culture juxtaposed next to the American culture. Don’t be alarmed, we are just a bunch of Star Wars nerds, crazy about Admiral Ackbar!

SlyChum & Indian Wedding
SlyChum is Jay Pichardo (iO West) and Jennifer Polania Garcia (The Second City). Not just a variety show…it’s an experience. In this adventure, we bring you all our spookiest characters/sketches. So start the popcorn, and check under your bed cause your in for a scary good time! Always wanted to attend an Indian Wedding, but haven’t the right friends? Join sisters Pinky and Bubbly (Amrita Dhaliwal and Sunanda Sachatrakul) on Sangeet night (the biggest party night of all the Indian wedding events) as they present a variety of comedy, dance, and music acts in celebration of their brother’s wedding. Expect all the vivacity, volume and vibrancy of a Bollywood Extravaganza! No wrapped gifts please.

Jetzo & Ithamar
For one magical night, Jetzo – a father-son comedy team from the small fishing village of Nagoya, Japan – will get to live their lifelong dream of headlining an international variety show in America with their comedy hero, Ithamar Enriquez. It’s the feel-good spectacle of the millennium, full of live music, dance, physical comedy and audience interaction. Cast: Chad Damiani, Juzo Yoshida, and Ithamar Enriquez.

Arcade Currency & Mom’s Favorite
An LA based indie improv/sketch troupe comprised of tokens: Aman A., Ayinde H., Dane T., Edgar M., Gerald G., Kalle P., Kingsley P. MOM’S FAVORITE, directed by Emily Walker, is a dynamic long form improv team based at The Second City Hollywood.  These well-mannered kids, will sure win your laughter with their high energy and fire-cracker spirit! Come see why they’re Mom’s favorite!

Can’t Tell Us Nothing & Bl-asian
Can’t Tell Us Nothing is a group inspired by Kanye West, meaning we’ve got opinions and you’re gonna hear them! Follow our characters down rabbit holes in our fast-paced improv shows. And just when you think you’ve seen our best…Hold Up!….We’ll create something even better. BL-ASIAN is a group of Black and Asian performers who don’t apologize for being funny, they celebrate it by poking fun at themselves and others. Hop on this hilarious “Seoul train” and join the Bl-Asian movement. The team: Licia Shearer, Genetra Tull, Kim Johnson, Eric Vue, Bonnie He and Choni Francis.

Feelings & Heraldo
FEELINGS is an intersectional, feminist, queer improv show based on your suggestions. Kinzie is gay, Natasha is a white-passing Latina, and they want you to join them to dismantle the white-cis-hetero patriarchy. Show up in your PJS and bring some ice cream because it’s about to get real. Performed by a cast of Spanish-speaking veteran improvisers, HERALDO is the long-running show based out of iO that specializes in heightened physical and emotional comedy for all.

EsL & Pumps
ESL is five good friends who love to improvise together. We come from diverse backgrounds and cultures and even three different countries but one thing we have in common is that we love each other, we love to laugh together, and we love to make other people laugh with and at us. We have been performing around LA for the past 5 years . We are currently coached by Jason Schotts. 2017 Del Close Award Best Non-Harold Improv Team. Pumps’ fully improvised sets feature quick, witty, all-female, friendship driven improvisation. These ladies “date” an eligible individual to see if they can find the one– that will give them inspiration to induce laughter in the hearts of their audience. @pumpscomedy pumpscomedy.com

Gringos & Black Don’t Crack
“Chisme” is the latest gossip – don’t act like you don’t want it! All-Latinx team Gringos brings you uproarious improv inspired by juicy chisme provided by YOU, the audience. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.) Black Don’t Crack was formed by the common desire to engage in comedic activities and essential oil swaps. Formed at Second City, Hollywood, they realized the need for a unique POV that didn’t rely on tokenism.
Their mantra: “Keep home alive, stay black, and can’t we all just get along?”


 Networking for People Who Hate Networking 
If you’d rather get a root canal than go to one more “networking event,” then this panel is for you. Creatives always hear that it’s “who you know” that gets you ahead in this business. But why is that and what you can you do about it, especially if you’re not the chatty/schmoozy type? How can you communicate what you have to offer in a way that feels authentic to you? Do executives and producers really want a personal connection before they hire you for that commercial or webseries? For these answers and more, join the discussion at this panel of accomplished creatives, executives, and reps

Aydrea Walden, former newspaper reporter, written for Nickelodeon, Highlander Films, Now Write! Screenwriting Book Series, Makers Studios, and Disney. She is a multiple Moth StorySLAM winner, performs her solo show, THE OREO EXPERIENCE, based on her blog of the same name, which has been featured in GOOD Magazine and Jezebel.com, and is the writer and creator of the webseries BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS.

Karen Kirkland is a Creative Strategist for writers and an industry veteran, who over the past 26 years has worked as an independent producer, compiling over 50 commercial and music video credits.  She has been nominated for multiple MTV Music Video Awards, won an NAACP Image Award for Video of the Year, and has served as the producer of the Los Angeles Film Festival, a preeminent cinematic event, showcasing the world’s best independent features. Currently, as Nickelodeon’s Vice President, Talent Development and Outreach, Karen has spent the last 12+ years developing and staffing writing talent onto Nickelodeon network productions. Under her leadership, Nickelodeon’s Writing Program has expanded worldwide and has blossomed into one of the most competitive and successful vehicles for emerging television writers. She has helped to launch the careers of many successful creative visionaries including those who are currently writing for HBO, Comedy Central, ABC, Adult Swim, The CW, FOX, Amazon, Hulu and NBC/Universal, as well as the creators of Nickelodeon’s top-rated live action show for kids – Bella and the Bulldogs. Karen is an international speaker, and has led writing workshops around the world.  She has been a judge for numerous screenwriting award competitions including the BANFF World Media Festival, the UCLA Screenwriter’s Showcase and the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition.  She is a mentor for the International Screenwriters’ Association Fast Track Fellowship, and most recently founded The Breakk; a 3-day creative retreat for female television writers from around the world. She loves to connect with writers, so feel free to follow her on Twitter: @karenkirkland or on Instagram: @karen_kirkland

Aaliyah Williams is the Vice President of Digital Content and Production at MACRO. Prior to MACRO, Aaliyah created and produced branded content for Fox Digital Studio, AOL, and independently produced “Buppies” which became BET’s first original web series. She also ran the content division of Russell Simmons’ YouTube channel, All Def Digital. While there, Aaliyah conceived and produced comedy, music, and pop-culture series and sketches that amassed over 54 million views and sustained 280,000 subscribers in the channel’s inaugural year. Aaliyah later founded Just A Rebel, Inc., a digital production and creative strategy company. Her clients included Judy McGrath’s Astronauts Wanted where she generated 1 billion impressions for Lilly Singh aka iiSuperwomanii’s “A Trip To Unicorn Island” documentary feature film that is now available on YouTube Red. Most recently, Aaliyah joined the MACRO team and is excited about the premium digital slate she curated and oversees, including the buzzed about digital series GENTEFIED (created by Marvin Lemus, executive produced along with America Ferrera). At MACRO, Aaliyah focuses on nuanced storytelling that showcases multicultural talent in front of and behind the camera.  She is a Film Independent Project: Involve and Sundance alum. Ms. Williams is a Harvard graduate, was raised in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and now calls Los Angeles home where she can be found hiking and running for no apparent reason.

Jennifer Meyer is a proud Second City graduate, and professional full-time voiceover actor who has lent her voice to A-List clients such as Disney, Mattel, Google, Red Robin and much more. From animation studios to big brand ad agencies and internal marketing campaigns, Jenn’s Voice has been sweeping across the nation. Most recently Jenn attended Faffcon “the voiceover unconference” in North Carolina where she taught Improv to voiceover artists. Currently, you can hear Jenn as the promo and trailer voice for Barbie’s new movies Dreamtopia “Festival of Fun” and Barbie “Dolphin Magic.” When Jenn is not behind the Microphone in her booth – you can find her behind the Microphone at various Karaoke venues in L.A. or jamming with friends on her Ukulele. To learn more about Jenn and her latest voiceover news you can visit her website at www.JennMeyerVO.com.

Kim Yau is a Media Rights Agent at Paradigm Talent Agency and handles the sale of film/TV rights for intellectual property ranging from books (across all genres), comics and graphic novels, articles, podcasts, blogs, to life rights. Her clients include award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors, comic book creators, and journalists, among others.  Kim attended UCLA where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Chinese Language.

Sarah Ann Masse (WhoHaHaTheMarySue.comELLE India) is a hilarious woman on a mission; not only is she continuing the trend of breaking stereotypes and proving that females are funny but doing so as she sites unhealthy social norms and boxes our society places women in.

Making up half of the hit comedy duo We Are Thomasse, Sarah is also the producer behind all of their viral videos and their live sketch show. She is a classically trained actor, has produced, written, and acted for and with Grammy winning singer Jason Mraz, and is a professional singer who ran a successful theatre company in NYC.

In addition to the upcoming short film “Tristan & Kelly” written, produced, and starring herself (and British actor Toby Sebastian), Sarah is also the voice of the audiobook series “The Chronicles of Kerrigan”.
Sarah is an outspoken voice against the patriarchy and rape culture and is one of the many women to come forward about her experience with Harvey Weinstein


 LADCF Sponsors Panel
The sponsors of the Los Angeles Diversity in Festival come together and discuss diversity in their respective companies.


Jandiz Estrada Cardoso has worked on the casting end of pilots and episodics with networks including AMC, ABC, CBS, Starz, SpikeTV and MTV, as well as tentpoll films with studios including Disney, WB, Paramount, Universal, NewLine and Screen Gems. On the tail end of 13 years casting in New York, she joined NBC’s Rockefeller office, covering all scripted primetime pilots, and served on the last season of the Emmy Award Winning series, 30Rock. In 2014, she transferred to Universal City where she currently leads as Director of Talent Development & Inclusion for all In-Front-of-the-Camera Initiatives. Under this umbrella, she executive produces the annual NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, StandUp NBC, and oversees all national scholarships & partnerships with the top 3 sketch/improv training grounds including Chicago’s Second City, UCB & The Groundlings. Jandiz penned the foreword for the acclaimed resource book, Actors Choice: Monologues, Volume 2. Jandiz has taught master classes for top Performing Arts Universities in the United States and Brazil. She was Voted Backstage Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award for Audition Coach of the Year, along with other honors. She is a proud member of the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Casting Society of America.

Tomii Crump, talent executive, has joined NBC in the newly created position of vice president of talent relations for first-run syndication and the alternative and reality group.  In this role, Crump will oversee talent and casting for syndicated shows including “Harry” and ”Access Hollywood Live,” as well as for alternative shows such as the upcoming “The Awesome Show.” Crump will work closely with presidents George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy, who jointly oversee the first-run syndication group, as well as Meredith Ahr, president of Universal Television Alternative Studio. Prior to joining NBC, Crump served as primetime casting executive for the Disney ABC Television Group, covering scripted shows for both ABC Television Network and ABC Studios. Crump also served as vice president of talent development and casting for new and existing daytime shows including “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” “The Chew,” and Tyra Presents “FABLife.” She worked alongside “FABLife” host and executive producer Tyra Banks to cast co-hosts Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee, Leah Ashley and Lauren Makk. In addition, Crump selected and developed daytime personalities who were cultivated across Disney’s ABC network, syndication and digital platforms. Before her time at ABC, Crump also worked as the director of development at Telepictures Productions, where she cast and launched the successful daytime talk show “The Real” with hosts Tamar Braxton, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Adrienne Bailon. She also served as manager of original programming and production at TV Land and development executive at BBC Worldwide Productions. Crump holds a MA in Communication Studies from California State University, Los Angeles and a BA in Communications from Temple University.


Dionna Griffin-Irons is a writer, facilitator and Director of Diversity and Inclusion for The Second City U.S. and Canada.  For 15+ years, Griffin-Irons has spearheaded an aggressive mission recruiting diverse and under-represented voices to Second City.  As a producer and curator for Bob Curry Fellowship, Break Out Comedy Festival, Urban Twist, she has cultivated and created viable platforms to some of the country’s newest and exciting voices in comedy.  Her work has appeared in Diversity Journal publication, on NPR, ABC, NBC, and numerous academic posts including a 2015 TEDx Talk at University of Chicago. Published work includes Rowan and Littlefield’s anthology,  Women, Writing and Prison.   Dionna is currently writing a humorous memoir on the intersection of comedy, improv and prison.  @dionnagirons

Claudia Wallace is Casting Director and Cast Consultant for The Second City, Resident Stages and Touring companies.  She is also an Artistic Consultant and sits on The Second City, Executive Committee board. Claudia has worked in several capacities at The Second City for over 20 years.  She’s alum of Tour Co and the Chicago Mainstage, and works as an actress/facilitator for Second City Works. Claudia is also an accomplished actress who can be seen on TV, film and on stages across the country.  She brings a wealth of knowledge to these roles, and Second City is thrilled to have her as a part of the team.


Alexandra Peck is the film and television development coordinator at the talent management and production company Thruline Entertainment. Thruline produced 122 episodes of Psych, the long-running hit USA procedural as well as comedy series on ABC, NBC and Comedy Central. Thruline’s client roster includes an impressive slate of comedic talent including Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Jay Baruchel, Jeff Ross, Allison Janney, and Eric Stonestreet, among others. Alex started her career at Abrams Artists Agency before moving to Thruline in 2014. Since starting her tenure Alex has identified up and coming voices in both comedy and drama and taken an active role in development initiatives at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival and with The Second City.



Asian AF Panel

Join actor/producer Will Choi (Asian AF) and panel of incredible Asian Americans who are killing it in their respective fields in entertainment – whether on stage, the writers room, in front of the camera, or behind the scenes – while staying Asian as f***. It’s been an interesting year regarding representation of Asian Americans in the media, so let’s talk about it. And more importantly, let’s do something about it.
Johnny Chiou (Development Executive, 3AD)
Kiran Deol (Stand-up Comedian; ABC’s Modern Family)
Manny Jacinto (Actor, NBC’s The Good Place)
Angela Kang (Co-Executive Producer, AMC’s The Walking Dead)
Dan Lee (Actor, Rough Night; Asian AF NY)
Alex Song (Writer, NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; Asian AF NY)
Will Choi (Creator, Asian AF)
Will Choi is the creator of the hit comedy shows Asian AF and Scarlett Johansson Presents at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles and New York. Will has been featured on several news outlets such as NBC News, ABC News, LA Times, ATTN, Mic, Splitsider, and many more. He can be heard on The Drunk Monk Podcast & The Korean Drama Podcast. Will was also named one of NBC Asian America’s breakout stars of 2017. Twitter: @willschoi & @asianafshow; willschoi.com & asianafshow.com.

Alex Song has been a writer for NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and truTV’s Comedy Knockout. As an actor, she has appeared on MTV’s Girl CodeThe Chris Gethard Show, IFC, Funny or Die, and more, and can be seen in the upcoming Netflix movie, The Week Of. Alex has studied improv and sketch at the UCB Theatre since 2012 and currently performs on Harold Night and co-hosts Asian AF. She has also been on Maude Night and the UCB Touring Company. Twitter: @alexsnog; alexandrasong.com

Manny Jacinto stars as Jianyu on the critically acclaimed NBC comedy The Good Place.
Vulture named Jacinto as one of the 17 breakthrough TV performances of 2016. A Vancouver native, Jacinto starred as Wing Lei in the CBC drama series “The Romeo Section” from creator Chris Haddock (Boardwalk Empire), which earned him a 2016 Leo Award nomination for Best Supporting Performance in a Dramatic Series. He’s also been seen on Once Upon a TimeSupernaturalThe 100iZombieRushRogue, and Backstrom, alongside Rainn Wilson. Twitter: @mjacint0
Angela Kang is the co-executive producer of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Kang joined the zombie drama at the start of Season 2 as a story editor and was promoted to co-executive producer in her fourth year on the show. Kang previously worked on the FX’s Terriers and on NBC’s One Day. Twitter: @angelakang
Johnny Chiou works as the Development Executive for 3AD. Prior to this, Johnny was at Universal Cable Productions (Mr. Robot12 MonkeysGirlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) as Development Coordinator. Johnny got his start as an assistant in the Television Department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
Kiran Deol‘s work tackles difficult topics with intimacy, poignancy, and humor. She has created projects for HBO and Sundance, been nominated for an Emmy, shortlisted for an Oscar, has hosted a series for VICE, and more. As a performer, Kiran has acted on a number of TV shows, like Modern Family and How to Get Away with Murder. She tours regularly as a stand-up comedian and loves ice cream. Twitter: @shitfromkiran; kirandeol.org
Dan Lee is an actor, writer, and improviser based in New York. At the UCB Theatre, he co-hosts the hit variety show Asian AF and performs on Lloyd Night with Hotel Hotel. He also performs with the retired Lloyd Team Slingshot and indie comedy team Varejão. Dan can most recently be seen in the movie Rough Night. Twitter: @danleeok; danleeok.com


PANEL – Qué Funny: the fun and challenges of doing comedy when Latinx!
Qué funny: the fun and challenges of doing comedy when Latinx! A seasoned group of LatinX performers will share about their experiences in comedy. In this candid discussion they will share about moments of triumph but also challenges, the opportunities they see and the path forward for POC in show biz, especially LatinX.

Host: Lorna Silva started her journey in the performing arts in 2010 with improv comedy. She is a Spanish translator by trade, and also worked in management and corporate training for the translation industry. She has facilitated leadership trainings in English in Spanish in California and New York. Initially she took improv to become a better leadership trainer but fell in love with it and decide it to pursue it further. As a result, she has taken countless acting and improv workshops in English and Spanish. She is a student of both Comedy Sportz LA and Impro Theatre, and has performed improv in Long Beach, the South Bay, Orange County and LA. Her last production, Improlandia, was a bilingual comedy show for children that combined improv with red nose clown work. She is very active in the Latino Theater scene and has been in numerous Spanish speaking plays. Lorna is a proud ensemble member of two theater companies: Off the Tracks and Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble. In honor of her Honduran roots, she decided to bring improv comedy en español to the Latino community of the greater Los Angeles area and Orange County teaching improv through her own school www.improla.com.

Raiza Licea is an actor & comedian born and raised in the beautiful city of Miami, FL. Raiza received her Bachelors in Theatre Performance at Florida International University. She is so excited to be a part of Harold night with her team, DiCaprio. You can catch her performing once a month at UCB with her all Latino team, GERALDO & her Spanish speaking improv team IMPROVISOS PELIGROSOS! She is working on making her free throws because BALL IS LIFE & is the mother of two beautiful cats, Meow & Muggsy. Raiza would also like to mention that one time she was on MTV’s TRL and sat on Puff Daddy’s lap while he introduced the next video on the countdown, which happened to be, Enrique Iglesias, “Bailamos”

Chris Trovador, former tattoo artist and rock star, took a shot at moving to Los Angeles with the intent of becoming a comedian. After producing and writing a webisode series he decided to create his own theater productions and got accepted into the Director’s program at The Second City. Now writing and directing his own unique Latinx shows, Chris is always on the rise searching for the next goal to accomplish.

Aliza Pearl improvises all over town with Essence Improv, Ripley Improv, and The Improvised Generation. Aliza Pearl is an actor, writer, producer, and daughter of two mixed heritage people– an African-American father with Irish and Cherokee roots, and a Puerto Rican/Barbadian mother. As an improviser, writer, and actor, exploring the uniqueness of cultural identity and challenging stereotypes are key elements of Aliza’s work. Aliza has appeared in many commercials and TV shows such as “House of Lies,” “Days of Our Lives,” and most recently worked on “New Girl.” She received the Best Teleplay writing award at the Urbanworld Film Festival for TV pilot “Whitehall.” Aliza created upcoming sci-fi digital series “The Listener: Spectral Awakening.” Inspired by the Star Trek character Guinan and starring Aliza as the main character, “The Listener” has garnered praise, excitement, and a growing following. She also writes for Nerdist, and appears on Geek & Sundry’s Star Trek RPG show “Shield of Tomorrow.” Aliza studies and regularly performs narrative and genre improv at Impro Studio, and completed the core UCB improv program through their diversity initiative.

Eddie Mujica is a Cuban-American actor, writer, and Emmy-nominated producer from Hialeah, Florida. He is an alumnus of The Second City e.t.c. stage in Chicago, where he wrote and performed in two critically-acclaimed reviews, Apes of Wrath and Soul Brother Where Art Thou? Eddie also traveled the country with The Second City Touring Company and co-founded iO Chicago’s long-running Spanish improv show Heraldo. He currently performs on the iO West Mainstage team Wheelhouse and creates content for Broadway Video’s Más Mejor, as well as his sketch duo DUVAL. Recent credits include the 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase, the 2017 NBC Late Night Writers Workshop, The Second City’s It’s Always Legal to Laugh, and guest spots on Superior Donuts and Scorpion.

Jenny Lorenzo is an award-winning Cuban-American comedic actress and social media influencer who is mostly known for her popular role as, “Abuela”.She is one of the founders of BuzzFeed’s first Latino vertical, “Pero Like” and is now a Video Producer at “We Are Mitu”, a digital media network that focuses on creating content for Latino millennials living in the U.S.

David Luna is a proud graduate of the Second City Hollywood, and currently performs with the House Ensemble, Shortcake. His most recent credits with Second City include Ignorance is THIS! and HisPanic Attack. Besides Second City, David has begun programs at UCB and The Groundlings where he has received a diversity scholarship. He is featured regularly on the YouTube channel HoweFunny. He makes up half of the comedy duo “We’re Not Dating in Real Life” with Xochitl Romero. David graduated from the University of California, Irvine where he birthed his clown persona, Maxxximus. He lives in Los Angeles and has a pup named Kylo. Follow him on IG (daveedmoon) and twitter (@the_davidluna).

Vilma Villela was born in Los Angeles to undocumented Mexican immigrants. She is a writer, director, and producer. Some of her short plays have been staged at Casa 0101, Teatro Frida Kahlo, Teatro Campesino, and the Main. In the past, she has written, directed, and produced for the theater festival Chicanas, Cholas, y Chisme. Earlier this year she wrote and directed The People’s Cookie and presented it at Center Theater Group’s free Boyle Heights library reading series, among other places. She is currently finishing up the film version of The People’s Cookie and is a regular writer for Center Theater Group’s Chisme y Queso series at East Side Luv. Vilma holds a Bachelors and Masters in English Literature. When Vilma is not writing, she is teaching writing and literature in the English and Chicano Studies departments at California State University, Northridge.


Workshops are $20 CASH at the door, NO CREDIT CARDS. Please follow the link to reserve your spot ahead of time. All workshops are located at The Second City Hollywood Training Center

Real Women Have Verbs
Ack! My period! Chocolate! If your female sketch characters sound more like a Cathy cartoon than a fully-realized human being, this workshop can help. We’ll spend time unpacking common female tropes in sketch and learning how to move beyond that to write real women.

Reclaiming Our Time: A PREACH! Workshop
There is a saying that we use to describe the art of improv: Bring a brick, not a cathedral. This workshop asks you: What kinda of brick are you bringing? PREACH! Founding Member TJ Medel will be leading you through an exploration of Improvised Spoken Word and how we can tap into our most vulnerable selves and use them as our strongest assets. Bring a Pen and Notebook.

Writing Your Late Night Packet
In this workshop, we’ll cover how to write packets for late night going over standards and expectations, monologue jokes, sketches, desk bits, late night games, etc. At the end of the workshop, participants will have the outline of a packet for future submission.

Hosting: Your Guide to the Basics
Ever wanted to host an open mic or a comedy show? This workshop will give you the basics of how to be a good host to keep the energy up and the show moving on schedule.

Body and Soul: An Intro into the World of Jetzo!
In this workshop, Chad Damiani and Juzo Yoshida combine the two most powerful tools available to any performer: emotions and movement. Through a series of fun and physical exercises, we explore how the combination of both can instantly produce truthful, surprising and dynamic work that connects you to audiences on a deeper level. All participants should wear black tops and bottoms. No logos. We will be doing lots of movement, so sneakers and no items that restrict choices (like skirts, tight jeans). Bring water!
















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