Earlier this year, Kevin Hart’s production company, Hartbeat Digital, announced it was teaming up with Lionsgate to launch a comedy-specific streaming service called Laugh Out Loud. On Thursday, Just For Laughs hosted a live pitching session, where ten finalists who had submitted web series proposals online were invited to sell their shows to Kevin Hart himself.
“I’m a comedian’s comedian,” Hart said before the lucky ten took to the stage for their two-minute presentations. He outlined his vision for Laugh Out Loud: A network of comedians and social media stars creating online-only comedy content to speak to a global audience. The platform makes sense coming from Hart, who has demonstrated his vast, worldwide appeal by consistently selling out huge, multi-thousand-seat venues from Stockholm to Singapore. Now, he’s looking to parlay that reach to the smartphones of millennials across the globe.
The live pitch session was a savvy bit of promotion for his streaming service. “Jay-Z was the voice of Tidal,” Hart said. “He stood in front of it and he made people understand what it was.” Hart hopes to do the same for Laugh Out Loud, and he kicked things off with a gesture of generosity: When all ten presenters finished their pitches, rather than pick a few from the pack, he decided to option all ten series. “Why don’t I say fuck it and just take ’em all? Let’s start off with a bang.”
Look out for these pilots when Laugh Out Loud launches this fall.
1. Campus Law
The Presenters: Brandon Calder, Ryan George and Samuel Brisson
The Pitch: Three underachieving guys become security guards at their alma mater.
Kevin Hart Says: “Older guys hanging around college kids is creepy, and can be funny.” (Also: “It’s always dope to see a black guy with the two white guys. How’d that happen?”)
2. Co-Anchor Confidential
The Presenter: Charlie Berens (co-creator Zuri Hall not present)
The Pitch: A behind-the-scenes look at a small-town local news station that’s just hired its first black female anchor (Hall) — based on Berens and his co-star’s actual experience as small-town Texas news anchors.
Kevin Hart Says: “The good thing about anything news-based is you can always stay current…I love the fact that you two actually came from this world.”
3. Drunk Eats
The Presenter: Drew Miller (co-creator of “Live @ the Apt”)
The Pitch: Comedians compete to prepare the best late-night drunk food for a panel of drunk comedians and drunk social media stars, adhering the even the most unreasonable requests. The loser has to put the remaining food in a blender and chug, Freaks and Geeks style.
Kevin Hart Says: “That’s a fucking funny idea, man.”
4. Inhuman Resources
The Presenter: Matt Kelly
The Pitch: Comedians pose as a series of awful human-resource managers and conduct candid-camera interviews with actual job seekers.
Kevin Hart Says: “Goddamn. Very great presentation.”
5. Melting Pot
The Presenter: Amish Patel
The Pitch: A global sketch comedy show inspired by personal stories that takes a microscope to cultural clashes, featuring man-on-the-street interviews. “A cross between Chappelle’s Show and Tosh.0.”
Kevin Hart Says: “The best thing that you’re saying is ‘global.’”
The Presenter: David Meritt II
The Pitch: The misadventures of a group of young, talented, black men in Hollywood — “Trying to date, trying to make it happen, sleeping in your car, having the lights turned out.” Entourage meets The Hangover.
Kevin Hart Says: “You’re looking at something that comes off as a television show that people are simply doing themselves, because they understand how now. And that’s the beauty of the internet.”
7. One Night Only
The Presenters: Jonas Diamond and Jeremy Diamond
The Pitch: Classic standup bits — from comedians dead or alive — set to original animation (the example they presented was an animation of Richard Pryor’s Playboy Bunny bit).
Kevin Hart Says: “Genius. Genius. That’s a great concept.”
8. Off Color
The Presenters: Naomi Steinberg, Ryan Ling, Kara Welker, Nimesh Patel (Patel went up alone, though: “I told my white people to sit down.”)
The Pitch: “Black and white people are going to war. And brown people have to choose. It feels like mom and dad are getting divorced: Dad’s really cool, but Mom’s got all the stuff.” Comedians who are neither black nor white tell their stories about growing up in America in the mushy middle.
Kevin Hart Says: “That’s taking a simple thought and making it so amazing. That’s the Jerry Seinfeld effect.”
9. The Dating Game
The Presenter: Sterling Scott
The Pitch: The classic game show, but with a modern twist – adding social media interaction, featuring people of all genders, sexualities, and ethnicities.
Kevin Hart Says: “There’s something about your goddamn essence, man. I don’t know what it is, but you make me fucking laugh.”
10. The Review
The Presenter: Abdul Butt
The Pitch: A news magazine show featuring unscripted, “undercover” interviews with real subjects, like The Daily Show interview segments.
Kevin Hart Says: “The video did it justice.”