October 30, 2017
“Giggle Break”: One Alum’s Big Break into the World of Funny
By Jessica Romer
“Comedy is a way to the heart” remarks USC alumnus Daniel Rashid as he waits for his flight from New York to Los Angeles after wrapping a comedic feature in the city. Rashid graduated in 2015 with a major in dramatic arts, minor in cinematic arts, and dreams of the silver screen.
Yet, after six months of post-grad angst, Rashid was struggling to find his voice and place within the creative world. “I wanted to be doing sketch comedy so I decided just to do it and not wait for anyone to give me permission.”Armed with a camera and gumption, Rashid started Giggle Break, a multi-platform online sketch comedy channel.
The unique, quirky, and laughable title Giggle Break is a homage to a one-night only live sketch show he and his friends created while students called “Giggle Hour.” “Giggle Hour” was the first sketch he had produced himself and further fostered Rashid’s interest in filmmaking.
With friends and fellow comedians in school, out of school, and everywhere in between, he wanted to build an open-ended community to collaborate with. Giggle Break quickly gained traction and popularity; and the community expanded. After producing, directing, and editing the first several sketches, friend and fellow USC alum Avi Kaye joined Giggle Break and became co-creative developer of the sketch comedy channel.
Rashid continues to write, produce, and star in sketches; while fellow USC alum Avi Kaye serves as director and editor. Rashid and Kaye often collaborate with other USC alumni comedy troupes such as Trifecta and occasionally accept scripts from other comedians.
With the bustle of New York City in the background, Rashid reminisces about his time at USC. He was active member of the USC community, even speaking at the School of Dramatic Arts’ commencement in 2015. Rashid was also a member of the USC improv troupes The Merry Men and a founding member of The Suspenders. As a dramatic arts student, he proudly acted in over 40 SCA student films. Yet, Rashid emphasizes, “Although acting is my passion, other areas of filmmaking interest me deeply as well.”
Rashid speaking at the School of Dramatic Arts Commencement Ceremony in 2015.
To explore these cinematic interest, Rashid minored in cinematic arts to expand his breadth of cinematic knowledge and experience to accompany his acting education. “SCA classes in directing and screenwriting benefited me as a storyteller by learning about the technicalities of filmmaking.” Rashid attributes much of directing and producing skills to experience on set while acting in over 40 SCA student films. He says the experiences aided him in developing his own directorial style.
Over a year after its genesis, Giggle Break is a thriving community with thousands of viewers and over 20 sketches on their platforms. It has provided a solid platform for Rashid and fellow comedians to share their work.
“There’s a real body of work that I can show whenever anyone asks to see what I do…. I honestly don’t know if I would’ve been cast in “You Can Choose Your Family” if not for Giggle Break.” Giggle Break has attracted wide attention after having sketches featured on Funny or Die. Rashid is hopeful and optimistic regarding the future of Giggle Break and Funny or Die’s relationship. The multi-talented USC alum will seen in the upcoming feature “You Can Choose Your Family” with Jim Gaffigan, working on an independent short, and shooting new Giggle Break sketches.