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The United Colors of Comedy

October 30, 2016, 2:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts and USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative invite you and a guest to attend a special panel discussion

The United Colors of Comedy

When it comes to Diversity, Tolerance and Inclusion, nothing leads like Humor.
Award winning Writers, Producers and Performers discuss the rapidly changing face of comedy.


A Panel Discussion Featuring:

Adam de la Peña, Head Writer, Chelsea
Ali Liebegott, Writer/Actor, Transparent
Max Mutchnick, Co-Creator, Will & Grace, Boston Common
Tracy Oliver, SCA Alumna/Writer, Barbershop: The Next Cut
Ravi Patel, Director, Meet the Patels
Moderated by John Horn, Host of KPCC's The Frame

2:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. on Sunday, October 30th, 2016
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Presented during the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 3: The Changing Face of Comedy, taking place at USC from October 28th - 30th, 2016.

View the full calendar of events at:

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About the Panelists

ADAM DE LA PENA (Head Writer, Chelsea)

Adam de la Peña is an American actor, writer, and director. He is currently the head writer on Chelsea, Netflix’s new half hour talk show starring Chelsea Handler. He recently wrote, produced, and voiced the lead characters in the hit 8-bit animated series Code Monkeys (for G4), Your Dungeon, My Dragon (for Xbox), and Outlands (Geek & Sundry). His previous projects include creating [adult swim]’s Minoriteam, and writing for The Man Show, Crank Yankers, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He wrote the Read My Mind video for the alternative rock band The Killers.

Follow Adam de la Peña on Twitter: @AdamDeLaPena
Follow Chelsea on Twitter: @ChelseaShow

ALI LIEBEGOTT (Writer/Actor, Transparent)

Ali Liebegott has published three books: The Beautifully Worthless, The IHOP Papers, and Cha-Ching! She is the recipient of two Lambda Literary Awards and a Ferro-Grumley Award. She has read and performed her work throughout the United States and Canada with the legendary queer literary tour Sister Spit. In collaboration with Michelle Tea and Elizabeth Pickens she created The RADAR LAB, a free queer writer's retreat from 2009-2013. in 2010 she took a train trip across America to interview poets for a project called The Heart has many Doors--. She currently lives in Los Angeles and writes for the Emmy Award-winning show Transparent.

Visit Ali Liebegott's Official Website:
Follow Ali Liebegott on Instagram: @friend_of_ducks

MAX MUTCHNICK (Co-Creator, Will & Grace, Boston Common)

As co-creator of Will & Grace, Max Mutchnick was honored with an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Comedy Series; two People’s Choice Awards (Favorite Comedy); six Golden Globe nominations (Best Comedy Series); seven GLAAD Media Awards (Outstanding Comedy Series); a Founders’ Award from Viewers for Quality Television, and the National Award for Excellence from the Human Rights Campaign. Will & Grace ran for eight seasons, totaling 198 episodes.

Mutchnick started his entertainment career almost 25 years ago as a writer for legendary television producer Alan Funt on Candid Camera. Shortly after that, he partnered up with his high school best friend, David Kohan. In 1990, they began their professional writing career as joke writers for The Dennis Miller Show. They left disillusioned upon learning that Dennis was a Ross Perot supporter. Their first script assignment was for The Wonder Years starring Fred Savage on ABC. After that, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason gave them their first staff job on the sitcom Hearts Afire starring the late John Ritter. While at Mozark Productions, they also wrote an episode of Evening Shade starring Burt Reynolds, and did punch-up for Designing Women. From there, Michael Patrick King staffed them on Good Advice with Shelley Long -- and then promptly fired them after thirteen episodes. (This is only worth noting because of Max’s delight in hiring MPK several years later to be on the staff of Will & Grace). In 1995, Kohan & Mutchnick were hired on the final season of HBO’s Dream On. Immediately after Dream On wrapped, “the boys” -- as Jimmy Burrows refers to them -- spent the next decade at NBC. During that time, Mr. Burrows directed almost all of their shows. They were initially staffed on The Single Guy starring Jonathan Silverman. For what it’s worth, Jonathan Silverman’s father Bar-Mitzvahed David Kohan.

In 1996, Kohan & Mutchnick created their first NBC series, Boston Common. The show was based on Max’s best friend at Emerson College, stand-up comic Anthony Clark, who also starred. Mutchnick credits a strong meeting with Warren Littlefield and a good white shirt with advancing them to showrunner status so quickly. Less than a year after joining the network, David and Max found themselves running a show they had created on NBC’s much-heralded “Must See TV” Thursday night lineup. Fellow “Must See TV” showrunner of NewsRadio, Paul Simms, in a Rolling Stone interview, famously referred to the Thursday lineup as a “shit sandwich.” To this day, David and Max are pretty sure Simms did not consider their show to be one of the slices of bread.

After two seasons of Boston Common, Kohan & Mutchnick were signed to an overall deal with NBC Studios. It was then that they formed their production company, KoMut Entertainment. In the early days of their first deal they were given the directive to create a show that could replace Mad About You, which was going off the air. Out of this came Will & Grace. (Will and Grace were in fact the “neighbors characters” from the first show they pitched to Warren Littlefield in his office). In addition to Will & Grace, Max and David have written and produced eleven pilots, eight of which went to series. To name a few: Good Morning Miami with Mark Feuerstein, Four Kings with Seth Green, and Twins with Melanie Griffith. They executive produced The Stones for CBS (created by Kohan’s sister, Jenji). Most recently they have created and executive produced the CBS series $#*! My Dad Says starring William Shatner -- based on Justin Halpern’s New York Times bestselling book – as well as the series Partners (CBS) and Clipped (TBS).

In 2014, after 25 years of writing together, Kohan & Mutchnick put a pin in their writing partnership in order to explore opportunities separately. They remain close personal friends and have every intention of working together again. Just this weekend, their daughters had a playdate.

In 2015, Mutchnick signed a solo overall deal with Warner Bros. Studios. As well, he changed agents and signed with WME. He is represented by Rick Rosen and Richard Weitz. Currently, Max has a single-camera comedy in development at Showtime with Elizabeth Banks directing. He is also collaborating with Will & Grace alum Gary Janetti on a multi-cam sitcom.

On the morning of September 21 of this year, almost totally under the radar, Max produced and released a surprise reunion of Will & Grace online. The motivation to write a script and reunite the cast was born out of Mutchnick’s desire to help Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. In addition to the cast reuniting, Max wrote the short with David Kohan and brought back series director James Burrows. It proved to be an overwhelming success for everyone.

In 2013, Max received an honorary degree as Doctor Humane Letters from Emerson College, his alma mater. In 2013 he gave the commencement address to the Emerson graduating class.

In 2014, the Hyman-Mutchnick family built the “Rose and Evan Playground” in Vicco, KY as a gift to the city for being the smallest municipality in the United States to pass an ordinance outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. At the dedication ceremony, Mutchnick is quoted in The River City News as saying, “When I read about what was going on in Vicco to advance the cause of equality, I was very moved. I had to reach out to Mayor Cummings and find some way to show my gratitude to the community for such a brave action.”

In 2004, Max married Erik Hyman, an entertainment lawyer and partner at the law firm of Loeb & Loeb. They live in Beverly Hills with their twin daughters, Evan and Rose, named for Erik and Max’s maternal grandmothers.

Follow Max Mutchnick on Twitter: @MaxMutchnick

TRACY OLIVER (SCA Alumna/Writer, Barbershop: The Next Cut)

Tracy Oliver is an emerging writer in the TV, feature, and digital space. She recently co-wrote Barbershop 3 with Black-ish creator, Kenya Barris, as well as the upcoming Universal movie, Girl Trip, slated for a 2017 release. Her television credits include The Neighbors, The Start-Up, and most recently, Survivor's Remorse where she staffed for two seasons. In addition, she currently has a pilot with ballerina Misty Copeland in development at Fox. In the digital space, she is known for writing, producing, and acting in the hit comedic web series entitled, "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl."

Follow Tracy Oliver on Instagram: @tracy0619
Follow Tracy Oliver on Twitter: @TracyYOliver

RAVI PATEL (Director, Meet the Patels)

Ravi made his directorial debut with Meet the Patels, which led to a writing/directing deal for a feature film adaptation for Fox Searchlight.  

As an actor, Ravi is most recognized for his work on Scrubs, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Transformers, Powder Blue, The New Normal, and, most recently, the Fox series Grandfathered starring John Stamos. Ravi also serves as Co-CEO of THIS BAR SAVES LIVES, which he founded with actors Ryan Devlin, Todd Grinnell, Kristen Bell, Jimmy Kimmel, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Kunal Nayyar, Alyssa Milano, Susan Sarandon, and many others. TBSL gives a life-saving meal packet to a child in need for every fruit and nut bar sold. Ravi also co-manages an investment group that focuses primarily on health, wellness, and social enterprises.

Prior to joining the entertainment industry, Ravi was an investment banker and later founded the popular poker magazine All In. He graduated from The University of North Carolina with double majors in Economics and International Studies. In 2016, Ravi traveled as guest of the US State Department on a diplomatic film program to Egypt and Japan.

Follow Ravi Patel on Instagram: @showmetheravi
Follow Ravi Patel on Twitter: @showmetheravi

JOHN HORN (Host of KPCC's The Frame/Moderator)

John Horn is the host of KPCC’s The Frame, a daily arts and entertainment program.

John has been covering arts and entertainment in Southern California for nearly 30 years. At the Los Angeles Times, he was a lead writer on the film industry for more than a decade, taking readers behind the scenes to examine the creative process and explain how Hollywood works, and why. In 2013, he traveled to the former plantation where 12 Years a Slave was filmed with director Steve McQueen, and more recently charted how the story of Columbine came to a stage in New York and watched Angelina Jolie take on her first big studio directing job, the "Unbroken" story of Olympian and USC alumnus Louis Zamperini.

Before joining the Times, John was a senior writer at Newsweek magazine, a senior editor at Premiere magazine, an entertainment reporter for The Associated Press, and covered the television industry for the Orange County Register. John’s interest in the arts extends beyond film and he served on the board of directors of The National Arts Journalism Program, where he was a fellow in the mid-1990s.

John was a regular contributor to The Business on KCRW, where he also regularly co-hosted on-air segments and podcasts on entertainment news. Prior to joining KPCC, John was a guest on Take Two and AirTalk, including a memorable appearance in 2012 on the morning of the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Thanks in part to John’s contribution, that day’s program won a Golden Mike award for best live coverage of a news story from the RTNA of Southern California.

Follow John Horn on Twitter: @JGHorn

About the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 3: The Changing Face of Comedy

In the Fall of 2016, Comedy is more important than ever! On the eve of an historic election, we Americans find ourselves navigating shifting boundaries of racial, religious, economic, and sexual divisions and comedy creators are advancing the discourse around these issues. Change is in the air, and to that end we are calling the third edition of our highly successful USC Comedy Festival “The Changing Face of Comedy.” Over the course of three days, screenings of key works and panels featuring guests such as Paul Feig, Norman Lear, Issa Rae, Maria Bamford, and Jay Roach will address the way comedy illuminates cultural change, inclusivity and diversity, yet still keeps us laughing!

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About USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts

In 2010 USC became the first university in the nation to offer a program dedicated to training filmmakers in the art of comedy. USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts offers instruction in the writing, directing, production as well as the history and theory of comedy. Students work with a distinguished, award-winning faculty of comedy professionals to discover and develop their comedic voices, while getting unrivaled access to the field through workshops, internships, demonstrations and screenings and festivals.

USC Comedy boasts an award-winning faculty that includes Jack Epps Jr. (The Secret of My Success, Legal Eagles, Top Gun), Barnet Kellman (Murphy Brown, Mad About You, George Lopez), David Isaacs (Cheers, Frasier, M*A*S*H*), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), John Bowman (Saturday Night Live, In Living Color), Dave Goetch (The Big Bang Theory), Russ Woody (Drew Carrey), Mary Lou Belli (Girlfriends), and Tim Marx (Baby Daddy), to name just a few.

Our students benefit from the expertise and participation of SCA Comedy Alumni such as Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents), Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy), Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, Get Smart), Tim Story (Barber Shop, Ride Along), Gabe Sachs (Freaks and Geeks), Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), and Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off The Boat), among many other luminaries and industry professionals.

For more information, visit:

About USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that is unparalleled in higher education. The initiative was established by USC President C. L. Max Nikias during his tenure as provost in order to fulfill the goals set forth in USC's strategic plan; to communicate USC's core values to students; and to affirm the human spirit. Emphasizing the university's commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. The series includes theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings and many other special events both on and off campus. Each program invites students to dialogue and interact with artists, writers, professors and special guests. These interactions provide a dynamic experience of the arts and humanities and encourage active exploration of USC's core values, including freedom of inquiry and expression, team spirit, appreciation of diversity, commitment to serving one's community, entrepreneurial spirit, informed risk-taking, ethical conduct and the search for truth.

Visit the Official Visions and Voices Website:
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Follow Visions and Voices on Twitter: @VisionsnVoices

Check-In & Reservations

This event is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors open at 1:30 P.M.

All SCA events are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Ave. We recommend Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago