KEVIN AVERY (MICHAEL GARDNER). Writer, Executive Producer.
KEVIN AVERY is a writer and comedian originally from San Francisco, CA, whose high-energy brand of stand up has brought him to the finals of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition and earned him a spot on Metropolitan Magazines list of Top 99 People to Watch. A regular opener for Dave Chappelle and David Alan Grier, Kevin has appeared at the Vancouver Comedy Festival, the 2009 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, the 2010 SxSW Music and Film Festival, and the 2008 and 2010 SF Sketchfest. Kevin recently wrapped up a series of headlining shows at the Punchline in San Francisco with fellow comic and co-conspirator W. Kamau Bell, which the SF Weekly called “as rare and magical as a sparkle-unicorn doing West Side Story choreography under a liquid light show.”
Kevin has been praised by the Oakland Tribune for his “sharp-witted” style and “impressive physical comedy.” Of his animated style of stand up comedy and storytelling, the San Francisco Chronicle raves, “Avery is Amazing!” Kevin has appeared on Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, Comedy.TV, and and can be seen in the indie film Harrison Montgomery opposite Martin Landau. Kevin is one half of the popular comic radio and podcast duo “Siskel and Negro” (available on iTunes). His stand up comedy album, Hardcore, recorded live at the Punchline in San Francisco, is now available on iTunes and at RoofTopComedy.com
Kevin wrote, produced and stars in the popular web videos “Black Guys on a Beautiful Day” and “Not in a Gay Way.” His original script for THUGS, THE MUSICAL placed second in the 2010 LA Comedy Shorts festival.
DAVID ALAN GRIER (PEPPERMINT)
Trained in Shakespeare at Yale, Grier began his professional career on Broadway as Jackie Robinson in “The First,” for which he earned a Tony nomination in 1981. He then joined the cast of “Dreamgirls” and went on to star opposite Denzel Washington in “A Soldier’s Play,” in both the play and film versions. Grier starred on Broadway in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and has also performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival in productions of “Richard III” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in Central Park.
Grier’s television credits include Life With Bonnie, DAG (in which he starred as the title character), and the acclaimed television series In Living Color, where he helped to create some of that show’s most memorable characters. In addition, Grier has gained recognition for his numerous feature film roles, including BADASSS! directed by Mario Van Peebles, The Woodsman opposite Kevin Bacon and Mos Def, 15 Minutes, Boomerang, Bewitched, Jumanji and Robert Altman’s Streamers, for which he won a Golden Lion Award for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. Grier also co-wrote, produced and appeared in the independent film Poker House.
MARGARET CHO (YVETTE)
Comedian MARGARET CHO’s successful 1999 off-Broadway show, I’m The One That I Want, was made into a film and was the basis for her best-selling book of the same name. Her second ground-breaking show, Notorious C.H.O., culminated with a concert at Carnegie Hall and was also released as a feature film. She has since released four consecutive concert films, and an album of comedy songs, Cho Dependent, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2011. She is currently featured in a supporting role on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and was recently in an episode of 30 Rock.
RACHEL TRUE (LISA ROWLANDS)
RACHEL TRUE got her start in acting with a recurring guest role on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, and soon after made her mark with roles in The Drew Carey Show, Once and Again, Half & Half, Dream On, and Noah’s Ark. Her numerous film credits include CB4, a rap parody in which she played opposite Chris Rock, Half Baked, opposite Dave Chappelle, and The Craft, which became #1 at the box office. Indie roles include an appearance in Gregg Araki’s Nowhere, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
PRODIGAL SUNN (KETCHUP)
PRODIGAL SUNN is a co-founder of the influential Wu-Fam group Sunz of Man and a longtime Wu-Tang Killa Bee, appearing on numerous albums including “Iron Flag.” Prodigal has built a reputation as one of the more socially conscious and lyrically deep artists associated with the Wu Tang Clan. He has a strong international audience, and has won a Grammy Award in France for “La Saga” – I Am, featuring Sunz of Man and a Viva Award in Germany for DJ Tomek – Featuring GZA and Prodigal Sunn. He has appeared in a wide range of programming; from an episode of Sex and The City to American Rap Stars, the longest running rap documentary on cable. His production company Godz Inc., has new albums in the works from Yung Masta, Chi-King, a powerful documentary of life in the streets, a DVD mix tape and additional episodes of American Rap Stars.
KENN MICHAEL (LOUIS FRANKEL)
KENN MICHAEL is an American actor and musician, best known for his role as Michael Peterson in the television series The Parent ‘Hood from 1995 to 1997 for which he also composed some music, as well as his appearance on Eddie Murphy’s 1992 film, Boomerang.
Michael provided the voice of the character Darren Patterson on the Nickelodeon animated series As Told by Ginger, as well as earning a small role in All Grown Up!, as Sulky Boy’s band member J.T.. He also appeared in Silent Story and Delivering Milo. Notable guest appearances on television shows include roles in City of Angels, Living Single, and Freaks and Geeks. His film credits include Carolina Skeletons (or The End of Silence), Evolution, and The Super, for which he was nominated for a Young Artist Award.
BARON VAUGHN (DONALD EVAN LESLEY)
BARON VAUGHN is a curious bi-coastal comedian. He splits his time between NYC and LA where he can be seen in various clubs and underground rooms. He’s been on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, many shows on VH1, MTV, FUSE, and the movies Cloverfield, and Black Dynamite. He’s performed in the 2006 HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, the South Beach Comedy Festival, DC Comedy Festival, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Vancouver Comedy Festival, All Points West, and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Recently, he was seen on Comedy Central in both The Awkward Comedy Show (available on DVD and iTunes), and Russell Simmons Presents: Stand Up at the El Rey. He is currently featured in the new USA series Fairly Legal.
LIAM SULLIVAN – Director
LIAM SULLIVAN is the director and comic behind LiamShow.com, a collection of funny short films created by and starring Liam. In 2006, Liam’s musical comedy video Shoes went viral on YouTube, spawning hundreds of fan remakes and launching Liam’s character Kelly into internet stardom. Shoes was selected as a viral video to watch by Entertainment Weekly, was chosen as one of the top 10 videos of 2007 by YouTube, and went on to win the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite User-Generated Video” later that year. The popularity of Liam’s subsequent Kelly web series hasn’t waned – as of this writing Liam’s videos have received over 100 Million views, and his Shoes video was recently picked by Time Magazine as one of the best YouTube videos of all time.
Liam has gone on to write and direct music videos, comedy web series and ad campaigns for companies, and fellow comedians, including Marshalls, Tunecore and iKlipz. He recently directed a series of music videos for comedian Margaret Cho’s album, Cho Dependent. “It’s all about having fun,” says Liam. “My videos are provocative and strange, but mostly, I’m just aiming for hilarious.” Visit Liam on the web at LiamShow.com
DARESHA KYI – Executive Producer
DARESHA KYI is an award winning filmmaker and television producer with more than 15 years in the business. Daresha is a graduate of the NYU Film & TV Program. She won a full fellowship from TriStar Pictures to attend the Directors Program at The American Film Institute based on her short film, Land Where My Fathers Died. She wrote, produced, directed, and co-starred in the film with Isaiah Washington. Daresha is a natural story-teller who writes, produces, and directs in many mediums. Daresha has produced shows and segments for WE, AMC, OXYGEN, E!, BRAVO and FUSE among many others. Because she has worked in front of the camera as an actor, reporter and host, Daresha knows how to elicit top notch performances from talent.
NEFERTITI LOVELACE – Producer
A self-professed “comedy nerd,” NEFERTITI LOVELACE was drawn to working on THUGS, THE MUSICAL right away. Since graduating from USC’s School of Cinema-Television in 2004, Nefertiti has worked steadily in the entertainment industry on a variety of shows, including Late
Night with Conan O’Brien, Last Call with Carson Daly, Last Comic Standing, The Bonnie Hunt Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! She thinks lemon bars are a highly underrated dessert.
KERI SMITH ESGUIA – Producer
Keri Smith Esguia is a co-founder of Whitesmith Entertainment, a comedy and music management firm based in Los Angeles and New York. She cut her teeth in the industry managing the career of comedian Margaret Cho, with whom she worked closely for 10 years, overseeing, among other things, Cho’s international touring, merchandising, and concert film releases. As head of the comedy department at Whitesmith Entertainment, she currently works with some of the nation’s brightest up-and-coming comedians and writers, including Kevin Avery, W. Kamau Bell, Sara Benincasa, Janine Brito, and the political comedy group, Laughter Against the Machine. Along with her business partner, music manager Emily White, she oversaw the production of the 2011 Grammy nominated comedy album,Cho Dependent, and produced many of the accompanying music videos. Keri is the executive producer of the filmsMargaret Cho: Beautiful and Cho Dependent, and the forthcoming Laughter Against the Machine tour documentary. She is also an executive producer of the new FX series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, premiering this August. Keri is a member of the advisory board of WAM! (Women, Action and the Media).