Nashville Comedy Festival producers share their experience with students
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Nashville Comedy Festival producers share their experience with students

Six comedy industry professionals discussed the popularity of Netflix, comedy podcasts and discovering talent in the Johnson Small Theater on Thursday evening.

In a panel discussion for Nashville’s Comedy Week, producers for the Nashville Comedy Festival shared their experience in the comedy industry with Belmont students.

The panel included Nick Nuciforo, Judi Marmel, David Kells, Andy Warg and Eve Paras. The panelists’ resumes ranged from working with Andy Sandberg, managing Jeff Dunham and filling executive positions at Bridgestone Arena.

Some of the main topics discussed was the popularity of comedy on Netflix and the growth of comedy podcasts.

With around ¾ of Netflix subscribers watching comedy and comedy podcasts becoming increasingly popular, there are more artists performing than ever before, said Nuciforo, who’s the head of comedy at the United Talent Agency.

This higher demand for comedy and increasing number of performers creates a content overload, said Marmel, the head of management at Levity Entertainment Group. The amount of content makes it harder for talent scouts and booking agents to find a comedian they want to work with, she said.

Marmel acknowledged the expanding accessibility to comedy as both exciting and complicated.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the artist,” said Marmel. This is because comedy content is being released quickly, making it harder for comedians to be distinguishable, she said.

Not only does the increasing demand for comedy put pressure on performers, it makes the behind-the-scenes jobs more complicated.

“There’s no one place to look to determine if an artist is good enough,” said Warg, Vice President of Entertainment at a venue called The Armory.

Although Warg looks through a comedian’s number of streams on a given social platform, he believes it’s going to comedy shows and festivals that provides the best insight for scouting talent.

The panelists also took some time to give advice to students.

All panelists agreed that personal contact is the most beneficial action students can take if they want to be involved in comedy.

Additionally, the panelists agreed they look for a mutual respect, a hard work ethic and a unique voice when considering a new hire. They agreed that it isn’t about education; it’s about being the hardest worker.

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This article and photo by Henry Gregson. 

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