NBC’s Stand-Up For Diversity (2009 edition)
NBC may not be offering Last Comic Standing this summer, but if you are a comedian "of diverse backgrounds" (which, we presume, means not only not white, but also not Jewish -- comedy!), then you can take part in the Peacock Network's sixth annual "Stand-Up For Diversity" showcase.
How it works: NBC holds open calls in a few select cities. The first 100 comedians get a chance to perform a one-minute set, with a few asked back to perform at later callbacks, and fewer still performing at a showcase the following evening. So far, sounds exactly like LCS, right? Only this is NBC's ongoing effort to prove that it's willing to diversify its casting for sitcoms and other TV projects. The top comics selected from the regional showcases go to Los Angeles at the end of the year, with at least one performer signed to a one-year holding deal with the network (in 2008, that was Rob Stapleton) and a few heading to NACA's national convention and going on a college tour. "With every new year, our efforts underscore NBC Universal's genuine commitment to spotlight fresh diverse talent for the general entertainment community in Hollywood," said Kendra Carter, the net's director of talent diversity initiatives, in a press release. "Our entry-level outreach has proven to be successful in the past and will pitch a larger tent by adding more cities to the tour this year. This confirms our priority of introducing prominent industry players to some of America's funniest and diverse comics."
They clearly have seen some funny people in previous years, even if they haven't quite figured out what to do with some of these talented performers just yet.
Details? Anthony Anderson (appearing on NBC's Law & Order, and also hosting a monthly comedy show at Gotham in NYC) will serve as the showcase's celebrity spokesperson. Auditions and regional showcases are set for the Miami Improv on June 28-29, The Comedy Palace in San Diego on July 12-13, The Punchline in Atlanta on Aug. 11-12, NYC in November and Los Angeles in December.