Comedy Central launched its “Corporate Retreat” initiative on Monday at the new Upright Citizens Brigade East Village venue (UCBeast) in New York City. The twice-monthly event will showcase comedy shows—some live, some tapings—across the brand’s platforms, including online, mobile and records.
It’s not a bad way to stay in touch with the burgeoning comic scene. One of the Retreat’s goals, says Lisa Leingang, SVP, Original Programming & Development for Comedy Central, is to keep tabs on “the ever-changing world of NY comedy, by simply presenting the community with an opportunity to get on stage.”
Monday’s event, which featured more experienced comics, kicked off with a low key routine from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” writer and correspondent Wyatt Cenac and closed with the saucy and seemingly fearless Amy Schumer, best known for roasting Charlie Sheen. Other talent included the wig-wearing John Roberts, Kurt Metzger and John Mulaney, who will debut his own show on the net in January.
Prior to the live portion, CS showed a video inaugurating the first corporate retreat, featuring various comedians (disguised as run-of-the-mill office employees) ironically singing the praises of Viacom’s “always funny” corporate culture.
“Daily Show” Correspondent Jason Jones, for instance, noted that there’s no way that Viacom could be an evil corporation, and cited the presence of a ping pong table as evidence. Gilbert Godfrey played a receptionist, who greeted people with a friendly voice "that says you’re in funny hands.” And “The Marriage Ref” host Tom Papa, dressed to the nines, remarked that he’d finally made it at Comedy Central. But alas, a camera pan out reveals he’s actually an elevator attendant.
Next up on the corporate agenda is a performance from amateur comics looking to score a deal with Comedy Central Records. One of the net’s core initiatives is developing talent, said Leingang, and the Retreat should attract a slew of new hopefuls. “Our relationship with the comedy community is strengthened by giving comics a place to work out new material, develop a show idea in a live setting as well as scouting up-and-coming new voices.”