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Category: Funny or Die

L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival goes for big laughs, big breaks

April 26, 2012 |  7:00 am

LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival
You might say the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday night in downtown Los Angeles, was born amid tragedy. Co-founders Gary Anthony Williams and Jeannie Roshar, both actors and comedians, got the idea for the event while showing a humorous short at a surprisingly glum film festival in San Diego.

"Our little comedy was sandwiched between all these tragedies where literally in every one of them, somebody died," Williams said. "Nothing but death and destruction, and then there was our happy comedy."

The incident inspired them to create the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the festival runs Thursday to Sunday and aims to showcase and foster comedic talent with screenings, panel discussions, a screenwriting competition, nightly parties and a closing awards ceremony.

Highlights from this year's schedule include Thursday's celebrity short film block with work by Margaret Cho, Michael Cera and David Alan Grier; a discussion Friday with screenwriter Buck Henry ("The Graduate," "Catch-22"); and a panel Saturday titled "Famous People Talking About S&*%." Daily screenings will be held at the Downtown Independent theater, and buses will shuttle attendees to nighttime events at venues such as the Conga Room, the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Exchange L.A.

Williams, a comedy veteran who has written for "Malcolm in the Middle," acted on "Boston Legal" and done voice work on "The Boondocks," said one of the festival's initial goals was to encourage aspiring actors and comedians to create short films they could use as calling cards to show their skills. The festival's timing has also proved fortuitous as the popularity of short videos on the Web has exploded in recent years.

"Now there are so many short-form comedy content providers on the Internet," Williams said, citing websites such as Fremantle Media's Atomic Wedgie, Yahoo Screen, and Funny or Die (a festival sponsor). "Everybody's looking for producers and writers and people who can make stuff really funny, really well and really fast."

Past festival winners have gone on to work for companies such as Fremantle, Disney and CTV, Williams said.

Williams and Roshar's other goal for the festival is to entertain audiences, and one of the benefits of screening shorts, according to Williams, is that viewers are bound to see something they like.

"I guarantee you, you're going to laugh," he said, "or I'm going to let you punch me in the throat. One or the other. It's a punch-in-the-throat guarantee I'm offering."


Funny or Die on a mission to live large

KTLA previews L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival [video]

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: Attendees at the 2011 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Credit: L.A. Comedy Shorts

Bieber Who? Emma Stone will be latest star to take over 'Funny or Die'

September 1, 2010 |  1:25 pm

Emma On April Fool's Day, tween star Justin Bieber "took over" the Funny or Die website, appearing in several skits, poking fun at his image and spoofing popular YouTube videos with bits such as "Bieber Goes to the Dentist."

Now months later, Bieber Fever has begun to wear off. So who will be the next star to dominate the comedic website?

"Easy A" actress Emma Stone, who says she'll soon film some sketches for the site.

"We're doing a Funny or Die thing;  I think I'm taking over the website. I'm flipped out," the 21-year-old gushed during an interview this week in Beverly Hills while promoting her upcoming comedy, out Sept. 17. 

Stone -- who has had supporting roles in smaller comedies such as "The House Bunny," "The Rocker" and "Superbad" -- finally gets the chance to show off her funny girl chops with "Easy A." She stars as a brassy teenager who mistakenly becomes known for her sexual prowess.

Asked how similar her Funny or Die stint will be to the Bieber takeover, Stone said, "I'm not sure if we're doing the exact same thing, but I know there's a live stream interview and I'm taking over the Twitter. We are filming some stuff, but I'm not sure what," said the actress, who has now returned to Mississippi, where she's in the middle of a four-month shoot for the DreamWorks drama "The Help."

On Thursday, she said, she was supposed to have a day off from promoting "Easy A" and shooting the new film -- until the Funny or Die crew decided to head to the South to film with her.

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Emma Stone stars in "Easy A." Credit: Adam Taylor/Columbia Tristar.


Justin Bieber makes us laugh -- in a good way

DreamWorks gets 'Help'


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