Salon Events for Our Members

Salon – Funny Ladies: Serious Business

Attended by Leading Entertainment Industry and Corporate Influencers

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The District by Hannah An

March 16, 2015
Hosted by The District by Hannah An

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TV and film has unleashed a new generation of comediennes who act, perform stand-up, write, and direct – yet, despite representing half the population, females are still sidelined in comedy series – with only 31.5% of characters being girls and women. This is still one of the most imbalanced genres in prime time. Comedy has changed on sitcoms, in clubs, and on Saturday Night Live. The repertoire of women isn’t limited to self-loathing or man-hating anymore; the humor is more eclectic, serene, and organic. As comedy has opened up, women who once might not have dared write comedy, or writers who hadn’t considered performing, have been emboldened to become writers and get onstage, Our See Jane salon will convene a panel of comedians, actors and content creators to share their experience in the business and offer insight and best practices into their own creative process.

The Serious Side of the Funny Business

By Mia Adler Ozair,

Amidst the dialogue, laughter, and hilarity of the talented women on the Funny Ladies: Serious Business panel existed a deep and meaningful undertone. The most recent See Jane Salon for members featured a variety of industry leaders from comedians to execs conveying a general consensus: All that funny business is hard work, and this is especially true for women. The Institute Founder and Chair, Geena Davis, kicked off the evening by noting that women in comedic roles do not tend to be allowed personalities on shows. Read More…

Panelist Bios

Nikki Levy

Host and Creator of Don’t Tell My Mother!

Nikki is the host and creator of Don’t Tell My Mother! A graduate of Northwestern University, she serves as Vice President of Wedge Works, a feature film production company with a deal at Fox Animation. She’s worked on such films as Fox Animation’s 2013 release Epic starring Beyonce Knowles, Academy Award-nominated Frost/Nixon, and Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants. A native New Yorker, she credits her amazing, dysfunctional family for the genesis of this show. She lives in Los Angeles with her pit bull, Leib.

Cameron Esposito

Comic, Writer and Actor

Cameron Esposito is a Los Angeles-based standup comic, writer and actor who has appeared on CBS, FOX, NBC, Comedy Central, HBO, TBS, IFC, E! and the Cartoon Network. Her most recent standup album, Same Sex Symbol, was voted Album of the Year by The AV Club, Paste Magazine and Consequence of Sound.

Fern Orenstein

Senior Vice President, Casting at CBS Entertainment

Fern Orenstein is Senior Vice President, Casting at CBS Entertainment. She is responsible for supervising the casting of long-form and event series, reality programming and CBS’s original mobile content. Fern has spearheaded hundreds of actor showcases and workshops as part of CBS’s Diversity Institute program designed to give minorities opportunities in front of and behind the camera, many of which Fern will detail in a few moments. In 1999, Fern was jointly nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the CBS mini-series Joan of Arc. She is the recipient of two Media Access Awards and two SAG/AFTRA Crystal Awards for her diversity work. In October 2013, she received the Talent Managers Association’s Heller Luminous Award for her work in diversity for actors.

Diona Reasonover

Writer and Actor

Diona Reasonover is from Detroit, which she promises is a much nicer city than it seems. As one of the head writers for the 2015 CBS Diversity Showcase, she is the 1st African American and the 1st female head writer of the program (She’s also the first lesbian head writer, but hey who’s counting?). A graduate of Oberlin College and Cal Art’s Master’s program, Diona is now starring in TBS’s newest comedy, Buzzy’s, premiering in Summer 2015. Diona performs regularly at Upright Citizen’s Brigade on the Maude team Last Slice! and at Second City. She’s appeared on shows for VH1, Disney, ShaneDawson TV, on Funny or Die, in Glamour magazine, and in numerous commercials. She’s such a Capricorn.

Alysia Reiner


Alysia just won a SAG award for & wrapped her third season as "Fig" on Orange is the New Black, the Netflix series by Jenji Kohan, as well as joining the cast of Shonda Rhimes’ break out hit How to Get Away with Murder.  She is also a series regular in the new series Down Dog now on Amazon. This summer she shot 4 independent films, and recently wrapped the indie 5 Flights Up with Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton.  Reiner, one of the SAG Award-winning ensemble of Sideways can also be seen in That Awkward Moment with Zac Efron, had 2 award winning films at the 2014 South by Southwest festival.

Alysia loves working as a change maker for women, and was just awarded the Sarah Powell Huntington Leadership Award by the Women’s Prison Association. Additionally, she was recognized as an Intelligent Optimist in Ode Magazine, and profiled by Women In Film as a woman to watch. Alysia is a graduate of Ethical Culture and Fieldston Schools, and Vassar College