Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA

USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 Presents: WOMEN CREATING COMEDY

April 10, 2021, 2:00 P.M. PDT

Live Online Webinar

USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts, Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA),
and USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative,
invite you to attend a special virtual discussion



featuring Chelsea Devantez, Ziwe Fumudoh,
London Hughes, Jana Schmieding, and Rachel Sennott

Moderated by Women of Cinematic Arts Board Member Shannon Hardy

2:00 P.M. PDT on Saturday, April 10th, 2021


Open to USC Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and the General Public.

Presented during the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5,
taking place from April 9th - 11th, 2021.

Visit the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 Homepage:
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Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 on Twitter: @USCComedy


About the Guests


Chelsea Devantez is a writer, comedian, and filmmaker who is currently the Head Writer on Jon Stewart’s new Apple series. Chelsea began her TV writing career on his staff at his never released (nor titled) HBO show. Since her first go-round with the host, Devantez has written on Tina Fey’s upcoming Peacock comedy Girls5EvaBless this MessAbby’s and Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. She recently wrote, directed and starred in the 2020 SXSW film, Basic, too, and hosts a top-performing podcast, “Celebrity Book Club with Chelsea Devantez,” on Apple Podcasts.

@ChelseaDevantez on all platforms 


Ziwe is a talented comedian, writer, and actress, who has taken the Internet by storm and captured audiences nationwide with her signature candor, wit, and salient commentary on race and politics in America. Critically acclaimed by The New York Times, TIME, and Variety, the multi-hyphenate comedic voice of 2020 garnered attention during the early months of the pandemic with her provocative and hilarious interviews on her Instagram Live & YouTube talk series, Baited. The show featured interviews full of hard truths with the likes of Caroline Calloway, Alison Roman, Rose McGowan, and Jeremy O. Harris.

Ziwe has an impressive career history in the television and comedy fields; she was previously a Story Editor on Apple TV+’s Dickinson and voiced roles on CBS All Access’ Tooning Out the News and Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, not to mention writing on Showtime’s Desus & Mero, Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, The Onion, and BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede. Ziwe has built a fanbase in the podcast space as well, as a host of Crooked Media’s Hysteria. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ziwe also hosted the hit live event, “Pop Show,” where she performed original pop songs and consistently sold out Brooklyn’s Bell House.

Ziwe is currently writing a much-anticipated book of essays, entitled The Book of Ziwe, slated for release this fall, and her A24 produced late-night variety sketch show, Ziwe, will premiere on Showtime in the spring. As one of TIME’s 100 Next Gen Leaders, her refreshing approach to broadcast journalism represents the renaissance of late-night. Additionally, Ziwe is in the studio recording new original music, which she plans to share later this year.

Ziwe is based in Brooklyn, NY and originally hails from Lawrence, Massachusetts. She began her career as an intern at Comedy Central and quickly rose up the ranks, becoming a late-night TV writer at just 25-years-old. She is undoubtedly one to watch in 2021.

Apple Music:


London Hughes is a stand-up comedian, writer, actor and host who has made her mark in the UK comedy world and is now bringing her talents to the global stage. London is the first British Black woman to be nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy ‘Best Show’ Award for her 2019 show, To Catch a D*ck, which was recently recorded as her debut comedy special. Executive produced by Kevin Hart, To Catch a D*ck, recounts London’s adventures in dating and premiered globally on Netflix December 22, 2020. She was recently nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the prestigious Southbank Sky Arts Awards.

She will soon begin production on Hot Mess, in which she will star, for Universal with Will Packer producing. The film will be written by Noushin Jahanian, based on an idea from Hughes and Jahanian.

London also currently hosts The Netflix Afterparty, a first-of-its-kind weekly comedy after-show, alongside Fortune Feimster and David Spade. Produced by Spade and Free 90 Media, each episode will be dedicated to interviews, pop culture discussions, and comedy sketches focused on Netflix’s latest and buzziest titles. The first episode premieres globally on December 13. On January 5, 2021 London also appeared in History of Swear Words, a new comedy series hosted by Nicholas Cage.

Earlier this year, London was awarded the Royal Television Society Award for 'Best Entertainment Performance' for her impressive work on ITV2’s hip-hop comedy quiz show Don’t Hate The Playaz, and in 2009 London received the prestigious 'Funny Women Award' at the London Comedy Store.

A talented actor, London has appeared in the BBC/Amazon award-winning and critically acclaimed series Fleabag, as well as The Stand-Up Sketch Show on ITV2. London also created, wrote and starred in her own YouTube comedy series, No Filter, which featured some of London’s brightest new talent.  In addition, she has hosted Channel 5’s Extreme Hair Wars and appeared on BBC2’s satirical panel show Mock the Week. Her dating podcast London, Actually is available now on Spotify.

Originally from Croydon, South London, she is currently based in Los Angeles.


Jana Schmieding is a true multihyphenate star on the rise, who is making her mark on the entertainment industry as an actor, writer, comedian, and content creator. A Lakota Sioux Native, Jana has been a longtime educator and advocate, raising awareness around Native issues and bringing Native stories to mainstream audiences.

Jana will next star as the female lead opposite Ed Helms on Mike Schur’s new comedy series, RUTHERFORD FALLS. She also serves as a staff writer on the series, which will launch on Peacock in 2021. The first Native comedy of its kind, the series will explore themes of identity, friendship, and how we define ourselves and relate to historical narratives. Jana was heavily involved in all aspects of the show – including down to the details of beading items for the costume, props and marketing departments.

A graduate of the University of Oregon, Jana has performed and directed improv, sketch and solo comedy for over a decade in both New York and Los Angeles. One of her pilots brought her to The NYTV Festival as a Notable Writer. In addition to being passionate about Native visibility, she has also been a vocal advocate for social justice issues, namely body justice – all of which she discusses regularly in her comedy and writing. Jana hosted the acclaimed “Woman of Size” podcast from 2017-2019, where she and guests discussed the way we think and talk about our bodies.


Rachel Sennott stars in the indie darling Shiva Baby for director Emma Seligman, which will be released by Utopia on April 2 in select theaters and digitally. In addition to acting, Rachel is a comedian and writer with a unique satirical take on aspects of millennial life. Named one of the Top Comics to Watch of 2019 by Time Out NY, Sennott has written and starred in her own original shorts including the digital Comedy Central series Ayo and Rachel Are Single. Currently Sennott is co-starring opposite Kyra Sedgwick in the ABC Comedy Series Call Your Mother.

SHANNON HARDY (WCA Board Member, Moderator)

Shannon Hardy is a writer, director, and comedian from just outside Boston. Shannon got her start as a personality for NESN's Dirty Water TV and now performs at venues such as the Comedy Store, the Ice House, and the House of Blues. After graduating USC School of Cinematic Arts as a Cohen Scholar, she was selected to participate in the Manhattan Film Institute where she was an "Emmy" scholarship recipient. Her film work has been featured at Clexacon, LA Women’s Independent Film Festival, AGLIFF, the Lonestar Film Festival, LA Cinefest, NFFTY, ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD, Catalina Film Festival, NOHO Cinefest, Pasadena International Film Festival, and Film Pipeline. Her short, "Yes and No," was picked up for streaming by two LGBQT platforms, Tello and After working for CAA's co-head of comedy, Hardy started working for the VP of Seth MacFarlane's production company.

About Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA)

Women of Cinematic Arts is a collective of female and gender-nonconforming graduates of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Through an engaging slate of professional and social programming, we offer opportunities for our members to band together, support each other from graduation to retirement, and dismantle inequality in the entertainment industry. You can find out more information and join on their website.

About the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5

The 5th Edition of the USC Comedy Festival comes after a year of unprecedented social isolation and demands for social justice. Staring at screens or out in the streets, we learned why we still needed comedy and discovered new ways to make each other laugh in spite of everything. 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 legendary performer, impressionist, and character-ologist Bill Hader. Over the course of three days, panels will feature well-known guests such as Aidy Bryant, Demetri Martin, Lisa Kudrow, Lindy West, Matt Besser, Patton Oswalt, and Ramy Youssef; capture new voices exploding onto the scene; and celebrate the work of our newest generation of USC Comedy students.

Visit the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 Homepage:
Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 on Facebook:
Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 on Instagram: @USCComedy
Follow the USC Comedy Festival, Vol. 5 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 SuccessLegal EaglesTop Gun), Barnet Kellman (Murphy BrownMad About YouGeorge Lopez), David Isaacs (Cheers, FrasierM*A*S*H*), Robert Townsend (Diary of A Single Mom, The Parent Hood), Rob Schiller (The King of Queens), Andy Cadiff (Last Man Standing, Spin City) John Bowman (Saturday Night LiveIn Living Color), Dave Goetsch (The Big Bang Theory), F J Pratt (Sullivan & Son) and Tim Marx (Young Sheldon), to name just a few.
Our students benefit from the expertise and participation of SCA Comedy Alumni such as Jay Roach (Austin PowersMeet the Parents), Tim Story (Barber ShopRide Along), Judd Apatow (Girls, Superbad, Knocked Up),  Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy), Peter Segal (Tommy BoyGet Smart), Gabe Sachs (Freaks and Geeks), Jason Reitman (JunoUp in the Air), Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off The Boat), and Prentice Penny (Insecure), 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


Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago