A few of today’s leading Black women in comedy gathered at YouTube Space NY for the screening of VH1’s All Jokes Aside. Host Franchesca Ramsey was joined by several rising female entertainers including Michelle Buteau (MTV, VH1, Comedy Central), Ellen Cleghorne, Ph.D. (Saturday Night Live), Azie Dungey (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Naomi Ekpergin (Broad City) to discuss their role in the world of comedy and what it takes to break into the industry and be successful.
The panel touched on all aspects of the industry, from dealing with over generalization of women of color and their skewed representation portrayed in Hollywood, to men dressing up as women for comedic relief, which Ellen is here for. “Do whatever the f*ck you want to do,” she states in the panel. “Just leave some space for me to do what I want to do.”
Franchesca also drops some major keys on what to do when you go viral. “The smartest thing to do is to lay the foundation so you’re ready when you go viral, because it is very overwhelming.” She explains that you should buy your domain name, make sure all of social media handles are the same, and display them on your work so people can find you. “The worst is when something goes viral and it doesn’t have your name on it and someone rips it. Then you see everyone being like ’I love this person! I think they are so funny!’ but have no idea who you are.”
The panel was also filled with laughs, love, and some weird moments, especially from Cleghorne. She created numerous unexpected, but funny moments from poking fun at Franchesca for having her make up professionally done, jokingly revealing that she did her research on the rest of panel, and expressing her love for Azie Dungey and her show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Watch all the great moments form the panel in the full stream above, and if you missed the All Jokes Aside documentary, watch it below.