Serious Comedy Talk

Episode 104: Barry Katz Part 1


Barry Katz is an Emmy and Grammy nominated TV-film-record producer, talent manager, and podcast host.
Katz is universally known for representing iconic artists like Louie Anderson, Ken Jeong, Andy Dick, Hasan Minhaj, and Mike Epps, giving the first quality stage time in New York City and Boston to future stars like Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Sarah Silverman, Anthony Clark, Dave Attell, Bobcat Goldthwait, Dana Gould, Timothy Olyphant, Denis Leary, and the late Patrice O’Neal, as well as helping launch the careers of some of the most extraordinary comedy artists in the business—including Dave Chappelle, Nick Swardson, Louie CK, Felipe Esparza, Bill Burr, Frank Caliendo, Marc Maron, Whitney Cummings, Bill Bellamy, Judah Friedlander, Wanda Sykes, Bert Kreischer, Jeff Dye, Jim Gaffigan, Dane Cook, Steve Byrne, Jeffrey Ross, Neil Brennan, and former and present SNL stars Darrell Hammond, Jay Mohr, Melissa Villasenor, Jim Breuer, and Tracy Morgan.

Throughout his career, Katz has sold 39 out of 40 stand-up comedy specials he produced and has brokered an unprecedented 100 TV development deals, created 3 television shows, and executive produced over 50 different specials, documentaries, reality shows, and scripted series including the YouTube TV produced Telethon for America (with Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Lawrence, Pete Davidson, Alicia Keys, Charlize Theron, Ray Romano, Chelsea Handler, and Jane Fonda), NBC’s Whitney, Netflix’s The Road Trick, FOX’s Action, HBO’s Tourgasm, Showtime’s Jay Mohr: Happy. And A Lot, History Channel’s Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery, TBS’s Frank TV, Comedy Central’s Whitney Cummings: Money Shot, CBS’ Welcome to New York (Letterman’s first produced sitcom), HBO’s Heidi Fleiss: The Would-be Madam of Crystal, the syndicated Bellamy/Tim Meadows/Jon Lovitz/Vivica Fox sitcom Mr. Box Office, and 7 seasons of the Emmy-nominated NBC series Last Comic Standing.

Katz started his involvement in the film business when he helped Chappelle and Neal Brennan (who eventually went on to create Chappelle’s Show) sell the cult classic Half Baked to Universal Studios and went on to produce several films after that, including Employee of the Month (starring Jessica Simpson and Cook), Good Luck Chuck (starring Jessica Alba), My Best Friend’s Girl (starring Kate Hudson and Alec Baldwin), I Killed JFK (about the only living person in history to admit to killing Kennedy), and Misery Loves Comedy (starring Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Judd Apatow, and Larry David).

Katz was the first manager to work with a comedy artist to use social media to accelerate their career, with Dane Cook. At the height of his popularity, he was able to press a button on his computer and sell out 2 shows in one night at Boston Garden and 2 shows in one night at Madison Square Garden for a total of 75,000 tickets sold in less than a week—which had never been done before. In the recording world, he has produced Grammy nominated, multiple gold, platinum, and double platinum albums, while becoming the only manager/producer to debut a comedy album in Billboard’s top 5 national charts–twice.

In other facets of the business, Katz was one of the driving forces and co-founders of Comedy Dynamics, which has become one of the largest independent comedy production and distribution companies in the world. Additionally, he was involved in the original sale of the Emmy-nominated Comedy Central Roasts to the network, which has become one of the longest running, most profitable, annual specials franchises in the history of TV.
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