About the Show

 

CBS ANNOUNCES THE CREATIVE TEAM FOR

THE 2019 CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE”

AND THE NEWLY CREATED WRITERS’ ROOM WITH 11 SHOWCASE ALUMNI

The Creative Team Includes Stephen Guarino, Sheila Carrasco and Tess Paras

The Writers’ Room Will Create Original Sketches for This Year’s Participants

(Left to right): Tess Paras, Sheila Carrasco and Stephen Guarino Writers’ Room Staff

LOS ANGELES – Dec. 18, 2018 – CBS today announced the director, head writer, assistant director and the newly created writers’ room for the 2019 CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE.

Stephen Guarino (“I’m Dying Up Here”) returns to direct, Sheila Carrasco (JANE THE VIRGIN) serves as head writer and Tess Paras (CRAZY-EX GIRLFRIEND) serves as assistant director. All three are previous participants of the CBS showcase.

In addition, the showcase has created, for the first time, a writers’ room with 11 alumni of the program. This inaugural initiative will provide the writing participants greater exposure to the creative community and the opportunity to share their experience with this year’s participants.

For the past 14 years, this showcase features the best talent in the business, and I can’t wait for the entertainment community to witness these naturally gifted actors perform original sketches, all under the direction of Stephen, Tess and Sheila. The showcase is consistently evolving, and this year we have 11 alumni serving as writers working closely with the creative team and cast to produce sketches,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, CBS EVP Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications. “The writers’ room creates an opportunity for alumni to share their experience as previous writers and performers while guiding the new participants through the showcase process.”

Recognized by many as the industry leader in actor showcases designed to highlight diverse talent, THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE has developed into a hybrid comedy show with Broadway worthy live performances and original, creative writing. The show is attended by senior level CBS Entertainment executives, showrunners and casting directors from series on CBS, as well as other networks and talent agents/managers from across the entertainment industry.

Stephen Guarino (“I’m Dying Up Here”) is an Emmy-nominated actor, writer and director. He was a performer and writer in the 2011 CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE. His credits include “2 Broke Girls” and “Superior Donuts,” on the Network, “Happy Endings,” “Dr. Ken,” “The Comeback,” “The Big Gay Sketch Show” and his Daytime Emmy-nominated performance in “EastSiders.” Also, he has written and produced for Funny or Die, including a hit musical drag parody of “Downton Abbey” starring the cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He has directed at the Groundlings, Funny or Die and Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). Guarino is repped by CAA and 3 Arts.

Sheila Carrasco (JANE THE VIRGIN) is a writer, comedian and actress. Carrasco was a performer and writer in the 2018 CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE. Her television credits include LIFE IN PIECES and “The Odd Couple,” on the Network, “American Housewife,” “Me & My Grandma,” “Van Life” and “I Think You Should Leave.” Carrasco is a creator for Más Mejor (Broadway Video’s premium comedy studio for Latino voices) and was recently featured at Just For Laughs 2018 New Faces of Comedy: Characters. She has written and performed at UCB, Groundlings, American Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Garage, and Moscow Art Theatre and is a member of IAMA Theatre Company. Carrasco is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

Tess Paras (CRAZY-EX GIRLFRIEND) is a comedian, actress and writer. Paras was a performer and writer in the 2014 CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE. Her television credits include “The Good Wife,” on the Network, “Grimm,” “Girl Meets World,” “White Collar,” “Mulaney,” “Weeds” and “Wilfred.” Paras will recur on the upcoming season of “Just Add Magic.” As a comedy writer, she has produced and starred in viral videos with millions of views, including “Trumping Makeup Tutorial,” “What If Catcalls Were Cheeseburgers?” and “Typecast.” She performs regularly with Quick and Funny Musicals! and the Asian AF Show at the UCB Theatre. Paras is repped by Gersh and Haven Entertainment.

Following are the 11 writers in the showcase’s first writers’ room:

Name: Ashleigh Hairston

Hometown: Seattle, Wash.

Education: BA, acting, Howard University

Training: Upright Citizens Brigade (Los Angeles), iO (Los Angeles)

Credits: Television credits: “Single Parents” (series, ABC), “Modern Family” (series, ABC), “All About the Washington’s” (series, Netflix), “Marvel’s Black Panther’s Quest” (voiceover, DISNEY XD), “Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors” (voiceover, DISNEY XD), “Marvel Rising: Initiation” (voiceover, DIGITAL) and “Craig of the Creek” (voiceover, CARTOON NETWORK).

Film credit: “Babysplitters”

Interesting Fact: Allergic to avocado

Rep Info: Rectangle Entertainment

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2018 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Daniel Acker

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Education: BA, cinematic arts, University of Southern California

Training: The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade (Los Angeles)

Credits: Television credits: “Modern Family” (series, ABC), “You Can Do Better” (series, truTV) and “Shaded” (Staff writer, series, WitTV).

Film credit: “Larry Crowne”

Interesting Fact: Used to rap in high school while a friend played music off of a TI-83 calculator

Rep Info: Stewart Talent

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2015 writer

 

 

Name: David Brandyn

Hometown: White Plains, N.Y.

Training: Upright Citizens Brigade (New York), UCB (Los Angeles), The Second City (Hollywood)

Credits: Television credit: “Cheetah in August” (series, Amazon).

Sketch comedy credit: “Maude Night” (Upright Citizens Brigade Los Angeles house team)

Interesting Fact: Spent much of his youth competing in NYC’s ballroom scene!

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2018 writer

 

 

Name: Joe Conti

Hometown: Vernon, N.J.

Education: BFA, musical theater, Montclair State University

Credits: Television credits: “This Is Us” (series, NBC), “Scandal” (series, ABC), “Dear White People” (series, Netflix), “What/If” (series, Netflix) and “Law & Order: SVU” (series, NBC)

Interesting Fact: Joe was a performer in the 2018 CBS Diversity Showcase and LOVED IT SO MUCH he came back as a writer this year!

Rep Info: Agent: Clear Talent Group --- Manager: Advanced Management

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2018 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Kaitlyn Tanimoto

Hometown: Laguna Hills, Calif.

Education: BA, political science, University of California, San Diego

Training: Upright Citizens Brigade (Los Angeles), The Second City (Hollywood), Annie Grindlay Studio

Credits: Television credits: “Camping” (series, HBO) and “Adam Ruins Everything” (Series, TruTV)

Interesting Fact: Taught English in Japan and once paid $14 for a little cup of noodles at the top of Mt. Fuji.

Rep Info: Reign Agency

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2016 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Leonard Robinson

Hometown: Danbury, Conn.

Education: BBA, management information systems, Howard University

Training: The Groundlings, Upright Citizen’s Brigade (New York and Los Angeles) , IO West, Steppenwolf West

Credits: Television credits: “Insecure” (series, HBO), “Adam Ruins Everything” (series, TruTV), “NCIS” (series, CBS) and “NCIS: LOS ANGELES” (series, CBS)

Theater credit: “Groundlings Sunday Company”

Interesting Fact: He has a black belt in judo yet is deathly allergic to cashews and sesame seeds.

Rep Info: Commercial – CESD

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2007 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Leslie-Anne Huff

Hometown: Los Angeles

Education: BA, communications, University of California, Berkeley

Training: The Groundlings, Sunday Company

Credits: Television credits: “The Vampire Diaries” (series, CW), “Young and Hungry” (series, Freeform), “The Middle” (series, ABC), “Bones” (series, FOX) and “NCIS” (series, CBS)

Interesting Fact: When she was a kid, she met Michael Jackson and his chimpanzee, Bubbles.

Rep Info: LINK Entertainment Group

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2018 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Mike Rose

Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.

Education: Orange County High School of the Arts

Training: The Groundlings

Credits: Television credits: “The Comeback” (series, HBO), “I’m Sorry” (series, TruTV), “Pop of the List” (Staff Writer, series, POP) and “Gay Skit Happen” (Consulting Producer, series, LOGO).

Film credit: “Friendsgiving”

Interesting Fact: Broke his neck when he was 21. It’s still technically broken.

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2010 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Peter Kim

Hometown: Flushing, N.Y.

Education: BA, psychology, University of Michigan

Training: iO Theater (Chicago), The Second City (Chicago)

Credits: Television credits: NCIS (series, CBS), “Shrink” (series, NBC Seeso), “Electric Dreams” (series, Amazon) and “Chicago Justice” (series, NBC)

Film credits: “Canal Street”

Interesting Fact: Allergic to silk.

Rep Info: APA, Artist First

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2018 performer/writer

 

 

Name: Shirin Najafi

Hometown: Palo Alto, Calif.

Education: BA, economics, Columbia University

Training: Upright Citizens Brigade (Los Angeles)

Credits: Television credit: “Threads” (staff writer, New Form)

Web series credits: “Psycho Therapy” (creator, web series, WhoHaha) and “Mental” (creator, web series)/

Standup credit: “Comedy Store” and “Hollywood Improv/”

Interesting Fact: Ran for VP of her fifth grade class under the campaign theme of “Being Abraham Lincoln” because her immigrant mom said that was a good idea.

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2014 writer

 

 

Name: Steph Garcia

Hometown: Elizabeth, N.J.

Education: BA, sociology, New York University

Training: Stella Adler (New York), The Magnet Theater (New York), Upright Citizens Brigade (New York and Los Angeles), The Ruby (Los Angeles)

Credits: Television credit: “Hood Adjacent” (writer’s assistant, series, Comedy Central), “The Catch” (writer’s production assistant, series, ABC) and “Selfie” (writer’s production assistant, series, ABC)

Interesting Fact: Got married in a hurricane.

Rep Info: BTB Management, The Wayne Agency

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Year: 2015 writer

The 2019 CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE will be held in Los Angeles at the El Portal Theatre. The schedule is as follows: Tuesday, Jan. 15, Wednesday, Jan. 16, Thursday, Jan. 17 and Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 PM, PT, with afternoon shows on Wednesday, Jan. 16 and Thursday, Jan. 17 at 1:00 PM, PT.

Alumni of THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE include Emmy Award winners Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”) and Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”), Diona Reasonover (NCIS), Justin Hires (MACGYVER), Geoffrey Arend (MADAM SECRETARY) and Nico Santos (“Superstore” and “Crazy Rich Asians”), among numerous others.

For more information about CBS Diversity & Inclusion, please visit: https://www.cbscorporation.com/diversity/.

* * *

Press Contacts:

Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i

818-655-1587

tiffany.smith@cbs.com

Christine Park

818-655-1597

christine.park@cbs.com

Press:

Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i
818-655-1587
tiffany.smith@cbs.com

Christine Park
818-655-1597
christine.park@cbs.com