SAG-AFTRA posts “Do Not Work” notice to performers seeking “Laughs” TV credit

If you were hoping to use Laughs as a TV credit and as a path to SAG-AFTRA membership, well, let the actors union stop you right there.

SAG-AFTRA issued a “no-contract, no-work” order Tuesday against the stand-up comedy showcase series, which debuted late Saturday night on FOX as a summer trial show.

The union’s notice said that Half Life Productions and executive producer Steve Hofstetter “has not yet executed a minimum basic agreement with SAG-AFTRA. Therefore, all SAG-AFTRA members are hereby informed that no member may accept work or appear as a guest on this series. Violating this order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.”

Hofstetter had billed Laughs as “a ground-breaking new stand-up show, bringing the national comedy scene to a TV audience. Call it “curated comedy” – we watch hundreds of clips each week to show you the very best from the stand-up scene, along with how to catch all your favorite acts live.”

His 13-week tryout with FOX premiered Saturday night in 11 markets.

Hofstetter not only hosted the show from The Laughing Derby in Louisville, which he co-owns, but also from his co-owned club in Indianapolis, Morty’s. He also showcased filmed spots from Broadway Comedy Club in NYC, YouTube clips from other venues and a sketch group, Vine videos, Tweets and jokes posted to Reddit.

In case you missed it, here is the first episode in full:

The episode’s description, from YouTube: “Stand-up from Josh Adams, Mat Alano-Martin, Pat Brown, Costaki Economopoulos, Matty Litwack, Chris Bowers, Etta May, Mark Riccadonna, & Michael Somerville. A sketch from Sasquatch. Vines from Mike Feeney and Danny Palmer. Tweets from Lauren Reeves and Alyssa Wolff. Standup Shots from Sierra Katow, Nat Baimel, Tim Ross, and David Freeburg.”

Previously: Steve Hofstetter told The Comic’s Comic what he was looking for in his new series, Laughs.


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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10 thoughts on “SAG-AFTRA posts “Do Not Work” notice to performers seeking “Laughs” TV credit

  1. In metered markets, the premiere of weekend comedy show Laughs on select Fox stations delivered a .4 rating, down 50 percent from its lead-in and 33 percent from its year-ago time period average.

    1. The union is trying to uphold the same minimum standards that apply to all shows on network and cable television. If you can’t ethically produce a show, DON’T PRODUCE A SHOW. This is exploitation, plain and simple, and a new low for both Hofstetter’s “career” and industry-on-comic victimization.

        1. Undercutting the agreed-upon standards that allow people working in television to make a living wage is obviously unethical.

        2. Circumventing the established standards of compensation which all television producers must abide by is pretty straightforwardly unethical, no? Do you really need this explained?

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