“Comedy has the power to unite very disparate audience s in a matter of seconds,” explains Page Hurwitz in our recent webchat. She adds, “It’s a unique artform. Within one punchline you can bring together people from all walks of life. It can remind us of our shared humanity. The more diverse voices that are on that stage, telling those jokes, and uniting those audiences the better. It gives us an understanding of each other and insight into each other’s experiences. You might not know someone like Michelle Buteau, you can get to know someone like Michelle Buteau.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Hurwitz is an Emmy nominated producer who began her career as a stand-up comedian. This past year she has produced and directed the stand-up special “Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia” and the stand-up series “Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready” (both available on Netflix). The Buteau program recently won Best Comedy Special at the Critics Choice Awards.
Hurwitz reveals, “I first met Michelle 19 years ago when we were doing stand-up together in New York. We’ve been friends ever since. It’s not like this just happened for her. Her chance is so long overdue. Tiffany as well. She’s been doing stand-up since she was 17 years old. They are finally getting their chance. That’s where things are changing. It used to take so much longer for women and people of color to get their opportunities. There would only be one spot. Now we are opening up, we’re having more spots and comedy’s becoming more popular. More people are getting their opportunities and hopefully are not having to wait 18-20 years to get that chance.”
Both projects are made by ‘Push It.’ This production company was set up by Hurwtiz and Wanda Sykes to produce comedy content with an eye toward diversity, in front of and behind the camera, championing LGBTQ+, Black and female voices. Hurwitz describes, “The people behind the camera are the ones making all the creative choices that you are not aware of, but you actually do see. It was very important we brought in other producers, writers and directions who bring different life experiences to the table.”
The producer/director also reflects, “When I say diversity it should be diverse. That includes men. You need to have a lot of different perspectives at the table. We need to have everybody at the table and working on shows together. It’s not about silencing or subtracting. It’s about broadening.”
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