Finalists Announced for Stand Up & Pitch ’16

July 5, 2016


The 10 finalists for Stand Up & Pitch ’16 have been announced. They are:

CBC Comedy presents Beyond the Box: Playing It Short
Presented with the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV)

* Clara Morris and Johnna Scrabis, Unhappy Epilogues
* Jason Leaver and Kate Conway, But, How Do You Have Sex?
* Kate Davis and Kelly Fanson, Best Before
* Lauren Corber and Wendy Litner, How to Buy A Baby
* Megan Raney Aarons, The Boys Club

About the Teams:

Unhappy EpiloguesUnhappy Epilogues
Clara Morris
and Johnna Scrabis are both actively involved with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade comedy shows, including Everyone’s Favorite Game Show and NY2: We’re Also The News. Clara also regularly contributes articles to Above Average, CollegeHumor, and Funny or Die, while Johnna has written for and directed the currently running web series Seppuwa Falls.


But, How Do You Have Sex?
Jason Leaver (But, How Do You Have Sex?) is the producer of Out With Dad, an award-winning web series now in its fourth season. Officially endorsed by PFLAG Canada, Out With Dad has been watched over 24½ million times, making it the most-watched, Canadian-made web series to be produced. Jason has been twice nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and is the recipient of the 2015 WGC Screenwriting Award for Best Shorts & Web Series. Out With Dad can also be seen on France 4’s Studio 4.0 online platform.

BestBefore1_TWBest Before
Kate Davis
is a twelve-time nominee (for Best Female Standup as well as for the prestigious Phil Hartman Award) at the Canadian Comedy Awards. She is also the star of her own hour-long CTV/The Comedy Network special, Comedy Now.  Kelly Fanson is an acclaimed actor and voice performer, with writing, producing and directing credits. Along with optioning screenplays she has directed theatre for The Toronto Fringe Festival.

HowToBuyABaby_TWHow to Buy A Baby
Lauren Corber is a producer, entertainment lawyer and the founder of the production company, LoCo Motion Pictures. She recently completed production on the comedy series My 90-Year-Old Roommate (CBC Comedy) and is currently in development on several features. Wendy Litner is a lawyer-turned-writer whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post and Today’s Parent. Through her blog SadintheCity, Wendy has cultivated a strong following of readers. She is also set to write for the inaugural season of The Beaverton TV.

BoysClub_MeganRaneyAarons_TWThe Boys Club
Megan Raney Aarons has created and produced six feature documentaries through her production company, Grainey Pictures, including the WGA-nominated Being Canadian (2015), Atari: Game Over (2015), Redlight (2009) and Freedom’s Fury (2006). She has also produced multiple TV and digital doc series. Titles include The Godfather of Pittsburgh (2014), Beck’s Hello, Again (2013) and Clean Break (2009-2013). Megan has won multiple Cannes Lions and Webby Awards, a CLIO and a Streamy Award. Backing Megan and her pitch is Executive Producer Robert Cohen. His writing credits include The Ben Stiller Show (for which he won an Emmy), Just Shoot Me!, The Big Bang Theory, The Wonder Years, Saturday Night Live, MADtv, and The Simpsons.

From Set to Screen: TV, OTT, SVOD and More
Presented with the New York Television Festival

* Alice Moran and Jon Blair, Old Man
* Blair Beeken and Brianna Baker, Open
* Ernie Bustamante, Banned In Tucson
* Gary Rideout, Jr. and Mark Andrada, Catch 23
* Jonas Diamond and Jeremy Diamond, The Street

About the Teams:

OldMan_TWOld Man
Alice Moran is an actor, writer, and comic best known for her work on the critically-acclaimed sketch TV series, Sunnyside (City TV). Alice is a Just For Laughs alumni, having performed at the 2013 festival in Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody. Co-creator, 
Jon Blair, is an award-winning writer, actor and sketch comedian best known for four seasons in the writing room of This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC TV).

Just For Laughs alumni, Brianna Baker performed at the 2013 edition of JFL Chicago. She is an actress, writer and good neighbour. Her co-creator and pitch partner, Blair Beeken, is also a Just For Laughs alumni. She is an alum of The Second City Touring Company in Chicago, and was an actor in the 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase and 2016 HBO Access Writer’s Showcase. Her project, My Gals, was a finalist at Stand Up & Pitch ’15.

Enrnie_Banned_TWBanned In Tucson
Writer/creator Ernie Bustamante (Banned In Tucson) has written pilot scripts for ABC and FOX; movies for ABC Family and Nickelodeon; and has been on the writing staff of several sitcoms. He is currently writing a digital comedy series for ABC. Ernie was born in Tucson and received his BA in political science and ethnic studies from Stanford University. The rest of Ernie’s team (though not making the trip to Montreal) includes Brad Petrigala and Alex Murray who were the Executive Producers on Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, @midnight and The Jim Gaffigan Show.

catch23_TWGary Rideout, Jr. (Catch 23) is the creator/producer of the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated web series, But I’m Chris Jericho!. He also created, wrote, executive produced and performed in Sketchersons TV (Rogers), and wrote, performed in and produced Comedy Bar (Bite TV). His numerous film and TV credits include Hotbox (Comedy Network), Air Farce Live (CBC), Hockey: A People’s History (CBC) and Monster Warriors (YTV). Gary is backed by the producing team at Don Ferguson Productions Ltd. (Royal Canadian Air Farce), winners of last year’s Beyond the Box pitch for Open Engagement.

diamonds_thestreetJonas Diamond (The Street) is one of two founding partners at Smiley Guy Studios — the other being his co-creator and pitch partner, Jeremy Diamond. Long, short, animated, live or digital — Jonas has probably had a hand in producing it. Included among his many credits are the web series, Guidestones (winner of an Emmy, Rockie, Digi and Canadian Screen Award), and Space Riders: Division Earth; TV series Odd Job Jack; digital series Überdude and Teleporting Fat Guy (Smosh); and with the UK’s Baby Cow Productions — Warren United, SOS: Save Our Skins and Wussywat the Clumsy Cat. Jonas is also a board member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & TV. The ace in the hole for this pitch team has to be their lead actor, Jon Dore — star of The Jon Dore Television Show (The Comedy Network/IFC) and host of Funny as Hell on HBO Canada.


What is a pitch team without a panel of judges to pitch to! Sitting on this year’s judging panel, we have:

Beyond the Box: Playing It Short
Spencer Griffin (Executive Producer, College Humor and Vice President, Big Breakfast); Zach Feldberg (Executive in Charge of Production, Digital Originals, CBC); Steve Elliott (Vice President of Branded Entertainment and Development, Comedy Central); and Jay Bennett (SVP of Creative & Innovation, Shaftesbury/Smokebomb).

From Set to Screen: TV, OTT, SVOD and More
Samata Narra (Senior VP of Comedy Programming and Development, FOX Broadcasting Company); Kevin Wandell (Director of Development, FX Networks); Bill Lundy (Production Executive, Comedy, Bell Media); Angel Annussek (VP of Original Programming and Development, truTV); and Dan Kerstetter (Manager of Content, NBCUniversal).

Moderators are Jonathan Robbins, Executive Director of the IAWTV Awards (Beyond the Box) and Terence Gray, Founder and Executive Director of the New York Television Festival (Set to Screen).


Now in its sixth year, Stand Up & Pitch is an up-and-coming event for comedy platforms and networks looking for new talent. Among the channels that have signed or optioned talent at Stand Up & Pitch are: Fox TV (which picked-up That’s My Bus from last year’s Set to Screen finalists, Dan Perlman and Will Julian), BBCWorldwide (SOS: Save Our Skins), CBC Comedy (My 90-Year-Old Roommate, The Nations, Newborn Moms), (Dad Drives), Maker Studios (Epic Studios) and My Damn Channel (Bill & Sons Towing).

Pitch sessions take place back-to-back on Friday, July 29 in the Inspiration Room at the Hyatt Regency Montreal. From From Set To Screen: TV, OTT, SVOD kicks off at 10:30 am followed by Beyond the Box: Playing It Short at 12:00 Noon. Each pair of finalists will have 5 minutes to pitch their project.

Stand Up & Pitch is a comedy pitch program presented by Just For Laughs in conjunction with CBC Comedy, the New York Television Festival (From Set to Screen) and the International Academy of Web Television (Beyond the Box).

The winner of the From Set to Screen competition will be invited to participate as an “Official Artist” at the 2016 New York Television Festival in October, enjoying exclusive benefits extended only through NYTVF Connect. The winner of Beyond The Box will receive a complimentary one-year membership to the IAWTV as well as 2 tickets to attend the next IAWTV Awards. The winner will also receive a free trip (flight, hotel and festival pass) to the 2017 edition of the Just For Laughs Festival.

Thanks PYPO!

This year, female participants had the option to receive mentorship from the executive team at PYPO, a new digital comedy platform supporting female voices, and founded by Emmy-winning director/producer Stephanie Laing (Tracy Takes On, Veep).

PYPO’s award-winning executive team reviewed submitted pitch materials and provided feedback to finalists Clara Morris and Johnna Scrabis (Unhappy Epilogues) and Blair Beeken and Brianna Baker, (Open), who were ultimately selected for the finals. Thank you PYPO!

Admission to Stand Up & Pitch ’16 is included with your Just For Laughs ComedyPRO pass. A small number of Industry and Industry Plus passes are still available. Follow the link to purchase.

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