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USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 Presents: WOMEN RUNNING THE SHOW

November 3, 2018, 11:00 A.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, USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative,
and Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA), invite you and a guest to attend a special panel discussion

Women Running The Show


A Panel Discussion Featuring:

Gemma Baker, Co-Creator/Executive Producer, Mom
Yvette Lee Bowser, Showrunner/Executive Producer, Dear White People
Natasha Leggero, Co-Creator/Executive Producer, Another Period
Moderated by Joanna Cherensky

11:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M. on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007



Presented during the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4, taking place from November 2nd - 4th, 2018.

Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 on Facebook:
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The USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 is dedicated to the memory of Paul Junger Witt, visionary film and television producer, and guiding force behind USC Comedy.

About Women Running the Show

Representation matters. And it starts at the top. Join us for a discussion with today’s top tv comedy showrunners on how the perspective, content and focus changes when a woman’s at the helm. A panel discussion featuring: Gemma Baker, Co-Creator/Executive Producer, Mom; Yvette Lee Bowser, Showrunner, Dear White People; and Natasha Leggero, Co-Creator, Another Period. Moderated by Joanna Cherensky, USC MFA Screenwriting alum.

About the Panelists

GEMMA BAKER, Co-Creator/Executive Producer, Mom

Gemma Baker, co-creator and executive producer of Mom, was previously a staff writer on Two and a Half Men. Gemma graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in theater. In 2003, she moved to Los Angeles to study at the Groundlings Theater. She has performed stand-up, improv, essays, and sketch comedy in New York and LA.

Follow Mom on Twitter: @MomCBS
Follow Mom on Facebook: @MomCBS
Follow Mom on Instagram: @mom_cbs

YVETTE LEE BOWSER, Showrunner/Executive Producer, Dear White People

Writer-producer Yvette Lee Bowser is the first and youngest African-American woman to create and run her own television series. She also has the distinction of executive producing and shepherding seven series onto the primetime schedule.

A graduate of Stanford University, Bowser earned dual degrees in political science and psychology. Bowser began her career in television as an apprentice writer on A Different World, where she penned 25 episodes and became a producer during her five-year tenure.

Bowser proceeded to produce Hangin' with Mr. Cooper at ABC before creating Living Single for FOX. Living Single was the number one comedy in African-American and Latino households for its entire five-year run. She also created the romantic comedy, For Your Love for NBC and served as executive producer of the hit UPN series, Half & Half. After that, Bowser transitioned into the drama world where she consulted on series for both ABC and NBC. Most recently, Bowser produced the first two seasons of the groundbreaking and award-winning comedy, black-ish. She currently has a pilot in development and serves as showrunner on the critically-acclaimed Netflix series, Dear White People. Bowser’s dedication to creating high-quality programming comprised of culturally-inclusive stories recently earned her a place in Stanford’s Multicultural Hall of Fame.

Deeply committed to charitable causes, Bowser has lent her support to many organizations, including The Children’s Legal Defense Fund, The NAACP, The HollyRod Foundation, The St. Bernard Project, Tree People and Less Cancer, where she was newly appointed to the board. In 2003, she founded The Butterfly Foundation to help disadvantaged children gain access to better education. In 2007, she joined forces with First Tuesday Media to combat apathy and encourage voter participation. In 2008, Bowser worked on the Obama for America Campaign as a surrogate, often speaking on behalf of then Senator Obama in support of his candidacy for President. She currently holds a position on the Stanford Alumni Board, where she serves as an ambassador for the Alumni Association in local communities.

Understanding the value of helping others, Bowser is dedicated to mentoring writers and women in particular. Over the years, her guidance has empowered numerous writers to find work in the highly competitive television industry. An industry veteran, Bowser helped spearhead the Writers Guild of America’s Showrunner Training Program.

Born in Philadelphia, Bowser was raised and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, producer Kyle Bowser, and their two sons, Evan and Drew. She continues to strive to share her unique point-of-view and capture realities of our world with clarity, compassion, authenticity,and a generous amount of humor.

NATASHA LEGGERO, Co-Creator/Executive Producer, Another Period

Natasha Leggero is an accomplished actress, writer, and stand-up comedian who has garnered attention across film, television and the web. Leggero created, wrote, produced and starred in the Comedy Central sitcom, Another Period, after stealing the public eye with her appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts of James Franco and Justin Bieber. On the big screen, Leggero starred in two comedy films including Neighbors alongside Seth Rogen, as well as Let’s Be Cops opposite Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. She had a role in the 2009 romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You. She also starred opposite Andrew Dice Claw in Showtime’s Dice. Her Netflix special The Honeymoon Standup Special, performed alongside her husband Moshe Kasher, premiered in 2018. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

Follow Natasha Leggero on Twitter: @natashaleggero
Follow Natasha Leggero on Facebook: @NatashaLeggero
Follow Natasha Leggero on Instagram: @natashaleggero
Visit Natasha Leggero’s Official Website:


Joanna Cherensky is a former Co-Chair of the USC Women of Cinematic Arts and is active in both WCA and another alumni group, TEN, Trojan Entertainment Network. Since graduating from USC Cinema’s MFA Writing program, Joanna has written for a Konami videogame, studied Improv at Upright Citizens Brigade, performed stand-up at The Comedy Store and moderated many panels at USC, interviewing such esteemed guests as comedy duo, Garfunkel and Oates, comedian Maria Bamford and New Girl Showrunner, Liz Meriwether. Joanna currently works as a Producer’s Assistant at Dreamworks Animation.

About the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4

The 4th edition of the USC Comedy Festival comes at a time when comedy has emerged as a leader in discourses and causes for social justice and human rights, serving a galvanizing role for change in our fractured and polarized society. Affiliated with the USC Comedy track at the School of Cinematic Arts and the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Foundation, the festival will honor comedy legends, introduce notable emerging artists, address important issues and new developments in comedy form and content, and celebrate the work of our newest generation of USC Comedy students.

The USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 is dedicated to the memory of Paul Junger Witt, visionary film and television producer, and guiding force behind USC Comedy.

Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 on Facebook:
Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 on Instagram: @USCComedy
Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 4 on Twitter: @USCComedy

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 Goetsch (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 the Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA)

Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA) is an official alumni organization of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, dedicated to supporting women in film, television and digital industries. Since our founding in 2005, we've provided networking, fellowship, and professional development opportunities for the alumni of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.

We are an organization where women can come together to create powerful stories of all kinds. We want to empower women behind the camera, in the script, and in front of the mic -- so we are better reflected on the screen, in broader culture, and beyond.

Join us by visiting:

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 Instagram: @visionsandvoices
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 10:30 A.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 the USC McClintock Entrance, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Ave. We recommend buying a parking pass from the Gate Entrance, then turning left onto 34th Street and driving down to the USC Royal Street Structure, at the far end of 34th Street.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago