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Comedy is Empowerment at Digital Hollywood 2014

A panel of inspiring advocates of funny sat before the audience ready to tackle discussions of comedy, talent, and digital media.
A panel of inspiring advocates of funny sat before the audience ready to tackle discussions of comedy, talent, and digital media.

By Carla Jara

Just do it.

Three words, a simple statement, but speaks volumes in meaning. A phrase coined by Nike, though bodes well across the spectrum, the idea of making things happen is more than just possible, it’s doable.

A trend in today’s digital media age is the notion of just doing it—chasing dreams is no longer a mantra in this ambitious generation, but catching them is.

In the Marina Vista room, at the Ritz Carlton hotel, on Wednesday, May 7, a panel of inspiring advocates of funny sat before the audience ready to tackle discussions of comedy, talent, and digital media.

Comedy Central’s “Broad City” executive producer Sam Saifer, HelloGiggles Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Romolini, All Def Digital Vice President Aaliyah Williams, and Team Coco General Manager John Wooden were among the panel, moderated by Comedy Gives Back CEO Amber J. Lawson.

Good vibes exuded from every direction, as the panel enthusiastically delved into various topics. During the 45-minute conversation, a video from All Def Digital was shown in response to the controversy surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. All Def Digital took the touchy, and serious subject of racism, and presented their views in the best way they knew how: through laughter.

“Comedy will offend people,” Williams says, “but if it doesn’t, you’re not doing it right.”

Comedy comes in a range of flavors—what one deems hilarious, another may find appalling. Though subjective, comedy brings out laughter when done correctly. Like comedy, digital media can be as simple as making someone smile.

Created by actress Zooey Deschanel, HelloGiggles is a website brimming with articles catering to all things female, though they welcome males too. Beauty, love, health, and “cuteness” are just a few of the topics found on the website, though what makes HelloGiggles unique, is their philosophy of women empowerment. HelloGiggles was established as a safe environment for women to share their story, and to laugh in the process.

“You can’t touch people, unless you take a risk,” Saifer says.

After coming across the self-produced web series “Broad City,” Saifer worked endlessly to sell the original concept to production companies with the hopes of turning the quirky online show, into one that could be broadcasted across television screens. After being turned down several times, Saifer, along with the original creators Iliana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, turned to comedian and actress, Amy Poehler for support. With Poehler’s help, “Broad City” became what it is today, with the show being picked up for a second season. What began as a well written, but poorly edited, one-camera set-up, “Broad City” turned from simple web videos, to a comedic wonder with a large following.

“If you want to do it, you can just do it,” Saifer declares.

With an extensive spectrum of digital media platforms, there is no excuse in terms of exposing the world of one’s talent and abilities. YouTube carries millions of videos from users who are constantly pushing out original, self-produced content. HelloGiggles allows people from around the world to contribute their own written articles about subjects that spark their interest.

Whether it is through a video, words, photography, music, and more, there is a platform waiting for any enthusiast.

Like Digital Hollywood’s tagline, “Content is King,” digital media grants anyone the opportunity to not just put content out into the world, but to easily express oneself. Digital media is in no way disappearing, but doing exact the opposite.

Sharing passion has now become as easy, as a simple click of a button.

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