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The REVisionists: How Comedy Gives Back, a Chat with Amber J. Lawson

Laughter, as the cliche goes, is the best medicine. Literally, negative thoughts set off a chain reaction that weakens your immune system. That’s especially true now for those who are stuck inside, separated from friends and loved ones and those dealing with mental health issues to begin with. A laugh, some joy, a bit of silliness can be oxygen for our social distancing souls.

One upside from COVID is that we are seeing a flood of positive, funny content and innovation happening right now. From John Krasinski dreaming up Some Good News to SNL using video conferencing for its first “SNL at home”, to furloughed sports announcers covering doggie dramas, to our friends who are lowering their guard to act a fool: funny people are showing how much we really need them.

Thank God for those comedy professionals that braved telling their families “I want to tell jokes for a living” and make comedy their business. But what about the comedians that can’t go to work? Who is looking out for them?

Enter Comedy Gives Back, the organization created to use comedy as a force for social good. The group recently pulled together dozens of comedians around America for Laugh Aid— a star studded affair that generated millions of views across platforms and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars ($350k and counting) for the people that make comedy go.

I interviewed (the dynamic, LA-ubiquitous, web video O.G.) co-founder and CEO of Comedy Gives Back Amber J. Lawson on what it took to get Jimmy Fallen, Adam Sandler, Paula Poundstone, Ray Romano, Drew Carey, and Bob Saget to Whitney Cummings, Howie Mandel, Jim Gaffagen, Patton Oswald, Iliza Shlesinger, and a bunch more comedians, platforms and brands together to for what turned into an eight hour joke fest.

What strikes me is how quickly a small group of people, without millions in funding can produce what amounts to a TV event in the course of a few weeks. Amber J reminds me that during 2008 recession Uber and other new businesses were born. This kind of programming may be a glimpse into a new genre of reality format that is raw, personal, authentic, human, connectable, relatable and spontaneous and not bound by geography. In a world of glossy selfies, surely there is a mass market for funny people going live, together.

Only time with tell. Meantime, here is the interview with Amber J., and below is more information about how to get involved and the broadcast itself.

Interview with Amber J Lawson, Comedy Give Back CEO and co-founder

Below is the embed from Comedy Central’s YouTube page if you want to sling it to your TV, grab some snacks and feel like you’re hanging with some funny ass people in a strange corner of their home. This is TV now, go get it. More importantly YOU CAN DONATE HERE

Co-founders Amber J Lawson, Jodi Lieberman and Zoe Friedman have been working in comedy for decades. Each founder has produced, booked and discovered comedians and having meaningful relationships in the comedy community. If you think you can help their cause, hit them up through the form on their site or Twitter