“Bring the Funny”
First of its kind panel explores how female Asian American comedy writers have found a place in the industry.  

(May 2, 2013) 

Photos: Michael Jones
(L-R) May Chan, Jenny Lee, Erica Oyama, Vera Santamaria, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Carole Kirschner  

It is no secret that comedy writers rooms often lack a female touch. But does an Asian American female comedy writer face even more issues as a “double minority?”

The WGAW’s Asian American Writers Committee and the Committee of Women Writers recently co-hosted an evening with female Asian American comedy writers to find out. Moderator Carole Kirschner, who is Director of the CBS Diversity Institute Writers Mentoring Program and the WGAW’s Showrunner Training Program – and a former stand-up comedian herself - posed questions on how to break into the business. Panelists shared their experiences and stories about their respective writers rooms and careers. A main topic: how female comedy writers can stay in once they finally gain entry. Moving up the writers’ ranks beyond the position of staff writer is the key, they agreed. Writers also talked about creating online content, moving into producer roles and working in other media as a way to bolster and expand their careers in television.

The panel concluded on a high note with the women in agreement that despite certain struggles, overall they had felt appreciated and welcomed in writers rooms throughout their careers and that being a double minority had not been a major impediment to success. The consensus was that at the end of the day, their job was to keep writing and “bring the funny.”

May Chan  

Cherry C.  

Jenny Lee  

Erica Oyama  

Vera Santamaria  

That said, this event brought together an impressive group of very funny female writers: May Chan (The Last Airbender, Phineas and Ferb); Cherry Chevapravatdumrong (Family Guy) ; Jenny Lee (Shake It Up) ; Erica Oyama (Burning Love, Children’s Hospital) and Vera Santamaria (Up All Night, Community).