Sarit Catz... Princess Of Comedy

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And let me tell you, working in comedy is a royal pain!

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Note to TV-industry aspirants: Hit two vital get-togethers today. Learn the dark art of network scheduling in the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom in New York. It’s the IRTS Foundation’s Newsmaker Breakfast, with scheduling maestros Jeff Bader of ABC, Preston Beckman of Fox, Kelly Kahl of CBS and The CW, and Mitch Metcalf of NBC. Then it’s “How To Write for TV,” hosted by the Learning Annex at a New York site to be determined. It’s taught by Sarit Catz, who has worked with Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and, yes, the Olsen Twins.

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NEW REPORT: WRITING JOBS HARD TO COME BY FOR WOMEN IN TELEVISION COMEDY

Writers Guild Study Shows Women Severely Underrepresented on Hollywood Writing Staffs

LOS ANGELES, CA – Although women make up slightly more than half of the U.S. population, they accounted for less than 25 percent of employed Hollywood writers in 2004-2005, the time period studied by a new report commissioned by the Writers Guild of America, west. According to the “2005 Hollywood Writers Report,” the traditional employment-share advantage male writers have enjoyed relative to their female counterparts has shown few signs of eroding since the previous report was issued in 2000.

Landing a coveted television staff position is difficult for any writer given the fact that the number of these jobs has declined by over 17% in the past five years. This is due to the rise of reality series that have no unionized writers as well as efforts to cut production costs by using fewer writers on traditional scripted programs. Nonetheless, the situation is worse for women given that approximately 10% of all television shows have no women writers on staff at all.

For funny women, the challenge is even greater because the top shows for women staff writers are more likely to be dramas. “There’s definitely a myth that women aren’t funny,” says three-time Writers Guild Award-winning sitcom writer Sarit Catz. “And of course that’s absurd because every woman who lives with a man or takes care of kids has to have a sense of humor. Or medication.”

Catz, a recognized comedy expert, has written hit shows like “Full House,” “Coach,” “Soul Man” and other series. When she and her husband decided to have children, Sarit took a hiatus from Hollywood and turned her attention to stand-up comedy, making the rounds of New York and New Jersey’s top comedy clubs. “I’ve run across so many funny women in the clubs, it’s… it’s not even funny.”

Now that her kids are in school, Catz is waging the uphill battle to return to television. She is currently competing in Nick@Nite’s “Funniest Mom in America” contest and is the Head Writer of the “Bob Gonzo Show,” an upcoming sketch/variety show being produced independently. Sarit has also written a pilot for fellow Garden State comedian Mike Marino which the pair hopes will find a place on the fall 2006 schedule. “If we sell the show, I’m going to pack the staff with women,” Catz promises. “We’ll have a token guy, though, so we won’t be accused of being sexist. I’m kidding. I think.”


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JOKE'S ON THEM

For Reasons Historical and Hysterical, Stand-up Comedians Don’t Stand Out as Oscar Hosts

By Nick Madigan and Rob Hiaasen
Baltimore Sun Reporters

March 7, 2006

There is no tougher room than the Academy Awards. Just ask Jon Stewart, whose stint as Oscar host Sunday night at times drew a chilly reception from the star-studded audience in front of him. For a while, he seemed destined to join an ignominious group: comedians killed by Oscar. Kind of like Chris Rock and David Letterman.

Why is it so hard to host the Oscars?

"I think it's the toughest single gig that a humorist can have," Dave Barry, the former humor columnist for The Miami Herald, said yesterday in a telephone interview. "You have two completely different audiences. Obviously, you have the huge TV audience. Then you have the Hollywood audience, which has its own jokes and touchiness level. The one affects the other."

While mocking the stars who have gathered for the Oscars is a time-honored tradition, it requires a delicate touch. "They are not secure people," Barry said. "They don't react like a normal audience. They seem to be glacial."

Sarit Catz, a stand-up comic, screenwriter and voiceover artist, said hosting the Oscars seems like a daunting prospect for anyone.

"You're face-to-face with legends," she said. "You're on a broadcast that's being seen around the globe. Any comic feeds off his audience, and this one is not there to see comedy. They want to see who's going to win. Add to the mix that he's going to be compared to everyone who's gone before him, and they're all brilliant. It's the hardest assignment I can imagine as a comic."


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There was an article in "The Item" (4 May 2006, pg. A13)

CATZ APPEARS AS “DIVA OF COMEDY”

I'd copy it in here but they haven't posted the paper online yet. What do I expect? It's only 2006 for Pete's sake!!

Luckily, it's fairly similar to... →→→→→→→→→→→→

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MOM DOES STAND-UP, SARIT CATZ IS A 'DIVA OF COMEDY'

MILLBURN -- Sarit Catz of Millburn is not afraid to make a stand for motherhood. In fact, she regularly stands up for mothers and parenting and other funny topics in front of audiences at comedy clubs around New York and New Jersey.

The perky Millburn comic and mother of two young children has performed her stand-up at The Comic Strip, Stand-Up New York, Gotham Comedy Club, The Improv, Comedy Cellar, New York Comedy Club, Boston Comedy Club, Yuk-Yuk's, Rascals Montclair, Palisades and West Orange, Jenkinson's, Uncle Floyd's, and she says, "many, many, many, many others not worth mentioning."

She is a three-time winner of the Clash of the Comics; a semifinalist in the 2006 Great Canadian Laugh-Off; and was recently invited to compete in the Gilda's Club Laugh-Off.

Next week, Ms. Catz will perform for local audiences with Bloomfield comics Eileen Kelly and Carey Reilly as the Divas of Comedy. Hear them deliver a night of stand-up at the Diva Lounge, 369 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 4, and Thursday, May 18. Reserve at 973-509-3000.

Ms. Catz, a 14-year-resident of Millburn, was raised in the Boston suburbs and says she was never a class clown.

She began to develop a knack for comedy while attending the University of Pennsylvania. There she began to perform with a women's parody group and to write material for the others in the troupe. She says that standing in the wings and watching the audience react to her material offered her more to chew on than standing in front of the audience herself.

Armed with a masters degree from the Wharton School, Ms. Catz moved from the world of advertising and public relations into a comedy career, first in radio, and then on to the West Coast, as a television writer/producer. Her credits include Coach, Full House, Soul Man, Talk to Me, The Crew, Café Americain and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. She has worked with Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Valerie Bertinelli, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Craig T. Nelson, John Stamos, Bob Saget, Anthony Clark, Peter Scolari, and the Olsen Twins.

She created two original series, Girls' Night for UPN and Click for Big Ticket Television, a division of Spelling Entertainment. She is currently the head writer and producer for the "Bob Gonz o Show," a sketch/variety show appearing on RipeTV, the new on-demand network, and in syndication.

Ms. Catz knows what is funny. She says that rhythmic language, specifically the "rule of three" is funny -- "ba da, ba da, ba dum." The petite comic says that playing off her "cheerleader mom," appearance, describing the downside of parenting, and giving the audience "permission to laugh" about the underside of child rearing also becomes funny. "The unexpected is funny, so when I tell the truth about being a mom -- that is funny."

The divas who will perform with her at the Diva Lounge are Eileen Kelly, a semifinalist in Nick at Nite's "Funniest Mom in America," and comic actress and comedienne Carey Reilly.

Ms. Kelly was featured on WNBC's "Live at Five" as one of the "Momics" performing in "Mom's Cracking Up," a comedy show for parents and young children.

Her solo show, "My Pony's in the Garage" was part of the NY International Fringe Festival and is currently in development for television.

Ms. Reilly has been seen on "Law & Order," "All My Children," and in numerous national commercials.

She has performed her stand-up comedy in clubs and was a New York City semifinalist for CBS's "Star Search."

The line-up for the first show, Thursday May 4, also includes Laura Spaeth and Christine Grillon. The show begins at 8:30 and admission is $5.

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NETWORK COMEDY CONTEST COULD TAKE ENTERTAINMENT PRO FULL CIRCLE

Sarit Catz to Compete in Nickelodeon’s “Funniest Mom in America” Contest

MONTCLAIR, NJ – When three-time Writers’ Guild Award winning sitcom and comic screenplay writer Sarit Catz and her husband decided to have children, Sarit took a hiatus from Hollywood. But, that very move could bring her back to show business if Sarit win’s Nick@Nite’s “Funniest Mom in America” contest where the prize is $50,000 and a network development deal. “When I was working in Hollywood, all I wanted was a development deal,” comments Sarit. “Now that I’m a mom in New Jersey, I actually have a shot. What a laugh.”

Having once written and produced hits like “Full House,” “Coach,” “Soul Man” and other series, plus optioning two comic screenplays, Sarit now spent her days changing diapers, pushing strollers, and trying to survive Check E. Cheese’s. However, when Sarit’s children were born, so was her stand-up comedy career. Not only did the kids drive Sarit crazy enough to run screaming from the house and into the clubs, they also provide her with plenty of material. “Most of my act is about being a mom,” says Catz. “I don’t even have to embellish most of the things my kids say and do. It’s like having my own writing staff.”

Soon Catz started making the rounds of New York and New Jersey’s top comedy clubs including The Comic Strip, Stand-Up New York, Gotham Comedy Club, Comedy Cellar, New York Comedy Club, Boston Comedy Club, Rascals Montclair, Palisades and West Orange, Jenkinson’s, Uncle Floyd’s and many, many others. According to Bob Gonzo, a veteran comedy club booker and comic manager, “Sarit is a comic everyone can relate to because everybody either is a mom or has a mom. Even wackos like me!”

When she got a call from Gonzo asking her if she wanted to compete in Nick@Nite’s “Funniest Mom in America” contest, Catz took her response right from her young daughter’s vocabulary, “Uh, yeah. Duh.” One of New Jersey’s top comedy venues, Rascals, is hosting a showcase on Tuesday, November 1, 2006, and according to manager Ed Cavanaugh, “Sarit was the first person I thought of.”

Finalists will compete on-air for $50,000 and the ultimate winner of the national contest could get a deal to develop a show for Nick@Nite. That would bring Catz full circle to network television where her entertainment career began. And Sarit’s not scoffing at the $50,000 either. “Do you know how much preschool costs?”

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BITING SARCASM: EVERYONE JUST LOVES A JOKE WITH A TOUCH OF VENOM

BY ALLAN JOHNSON - CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Webster's New World College Dictionary defines sarcasm as "a taunting, sneering, cutting or caustic remark," while the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - which calls itself "one of the world's most trusted dictionaries," so you just know it's right, huh? - describes it as "a bitter or wounding expression or remark." Well, that's illuminating.

Both definitions, while accurate, also are a little misleading about the practice, which some find hilarious and others feel is mean and passive-aggressive.

"If you're trying to be mean, it can be mean," said Sarit Catz, who has written for such TV comedies as "Full House" and "Coach." "It depends on what you're being sarcastic about. If you say something like, `Oh, you're a genius,' well, that's sarcastic and mean."

But Catz, a New York-based stand-up comic and comedy writer, noted that the intent behind sarcasm is the difference between ripping on someone and just having a little fun. "If you say, `Oh, this looks good on me,' you're being sarcastic and not really mean because you're talking about yourself," Catz said. "It's all in the delivery."

Another comedian, Jimmy Tingle, stressed that in many cases, sarcasm is best left to the professionals. "When a person does it who's not performing, then that's probably when it gets to be troublesome," said Tingle." "If somebody's always using it, then I can see how that can wear thin on people if (the sarcastic person) is not supposed to be there to entertain them."

Patricia Rockwell, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Louisiana at Layfayette, has studied non-verbal behavior by focusing on deception, sarcasm and mixed messages. She said that in addition to finding that Americans are more sarcastic than other cultures (Really?), men are more sarcastic than women. "When women are talking together, there's not very much sarcasm that goes on," Rockwell said.

As for sarcasm being a passive-aggressive form of communication, Rockwell's research doesn't support that. In fact, she said, "some researchers will argue that it is less aggressive because you are muting the real meaning, the real intent. So that's not so aggressive. "On the other hand, instead of saying something really polite and pleasant, you are intentionally presenting negative information," Rockwell added. "And you expect people to recognize it. At least, that's what we have thought, that when you are sarcastic you are assuming that people understand you as being sarcastic. That's not necessarily true, because so many people don't pick up on it."

Oh, say it isn't so.

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HOLLYWOOD ON THE HUDSON

Two Entertainment Veterans Set New Situation Comedy in Hoboken, New Jersey

HOLLYWOOD, CA – Top stand-up comic Mike Marino and veteran sitcom writer Sarit Catz have teamed up to bring a new television comedy to the small screen. The two New Jersey natives, who have both worked for years in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, decided to set the show in their home state. But, with the hit series “The Sopranos” already set in New Jersey, does the Garden State need another TV show? “Definitely,” asserts Sarit Catz. “America should know we’ve got more than just wiseguys in Jersey. We’ve got people who know wiseguys.”

Mike Marino, known to thousands as New Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy, has teamed up with the award-winning television veteran to create a series based on his stand-up material. “The studios and networks sent me to see dozens of comics but I never wanted to develop for anyone until I saw Mike’s act,” says Catz, a writer/producer whose credits include such top-ten series as “Full House” and “Coach,” as well as numerous others. “He’s relatable, he’s got a clear point of view, and he’s downright hilarious,” adds Catz who is herself known on the stand-up comedy circuit as the Princess of Comedy.

An actor trained at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Mike Marino has appeared in television series such as “Becker,” “Party of Five,” and “Frasier.” According to Catz, “You don’t come across too many stand-ups with acting chops. But Mike’s got ‘em.” Marino has appeared in dozens of commercials as well as being a regular member of Jay Leno’s sketch players on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Marino and Catz are currently in pre-production on the pilot for “Marino’s,” a series about an Italian-American family in Hoboken. Once a predominately Italian-American working class town and known to millions as the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, Hoboken has been discovered by upscale professionals and now boasts trendy restaurants and boutiques alongside the butcher shops and delis. “You can run across absolutely anybody in Hoboken,” says Catz, “which is what makes it such a great setting for a show.” Marino adds, “Even though the family is Italian, it could be any family. I mean, who doesn’t have crazy relatives?”

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HOLLYWOOD SCREENWRITER GOES GONZO

Sarit Catz Named Head Writer of “Bob Gonzo Show”

FAIRFIELD, NJ – What does a comedy writer do once she’s produced several top-ten sitcoms, developed three national radio network services, performed stand-up in leading comedy clubs, and optioned two feature film scripts? If she’s Sarit Catz, she takes on yet another entertainment genre, the variety show. Untroubled by the new challenge, Sarit laughs, “It’s probably a bad idea, but I’ve made bigger mistakes. After all, I have two kids.”

Catz, a writer/producer whose credits include such hit television series as “Full House” and “Coach,” along with numerous others, has recently been named the Head Writer of the upcoming “Bob Gonzo Show.” The comedy-variety series, which is being produced in New Jersey, will be seen on the new Ripe TV on-demand network (www.ripetv.com) as well as in syndication. According to Catz, “The show’s going to be ‘Laugh-In’ meets ‘Love American Style’ meets Hooters - a kind of cheeky, irreverent throwback to the sixties with an edginess that is very today.”

And who is Bob Gonzo? Bob is a comedian and talent manager who launched the careers of Martin Lawrence, Joe Rogan, Kevin James, and many other top comics. Gonzo is perhaps best known, however, as the writer/director/producer/star of numerous low-budget films and the ringleader of “Gonzo’s Gorgeous Girls,” a bevy of beauties who have appeared in his films, at movie conventions, and who will be featured in the upcoming variety show. A number of years ago, Gonzo created the original “Bob Gonzo Show,” which became an underground sensation and attracted the attention of many of Hollywood’s top talent.

The comedy cult figure and the mainstream television veteran met in the comedy clubs of New Jersey, where both are based. According to Gonzo, “I know talent when I see it, and Sarit has it. When the opportunity arose to bring back the show, I wanted it to be done right and I knew she was the one to do it.” Catz adds, “Bob has a very relatable, lovable quality that comes through on camera. Between that and the hot chicks, we can’t lose.”

The winner of three prestigious Writers’ Guild of America Awards, Catz is also polishing the pilot script for “Marino’s,” a sitcom inspired by the stand-up comedy of another Jersey funnyman, Mike Marino, with an eye towards having that show on the air in the fall of 2006. With so much comedy coming out of New Jersey, maybe there’s something in the water. “There definitely is,” confirms Catz. “You can smell it.”