Q7 Special Jury
Michael Melamedoff: Partner, Director of Development (Cowboy Bear Ninja)
Michael Melamedoff is an executive producer, filmmaker, and the head of development for Cowboy Bear Ninja. Michael has developed projects with A&E, CNN, Fusion, Lionsgate, MTV, and Viceland at Cowboy Bear Ninja. He most recently EPed Fusion's SHADE: QUEENS OF NYC, and TruTV's PAID OFF WITH MICHAEL TORPEY. As a filmmaker, his director credits include THE PROBLEM WITH APU, and WEAKNESS starring Bobby Cannavale. He also produced and co-starred in FLAMES (Tribeca 2017).
Maureen Taran: Vice President of Talent (TruTV)
Maureen Taran is the vice president of talent for WarnerMedia’s truTV. In her role, she leads talent recruitment and casting initiatives for the comedy network, which includes a diverse slate of original programming from creators including Amy Sedaris, Andrea Savage, Adam Conover, Bobcat Goldthwait, Jon Glaser and many others. Additionally, she oversees all talent relations responsibilities and maintains relationships within the entertainment and comedy communities. She is based in the network’s New York office.
Jose Acevedo: Director of Development & Original Programming (Comedy Central)
Becky Horvath: Supervising Producer (Verizon Media)
Jose Acevedo is a Director of Development & Original Programming at Comedy Central. He developed Goatface: A Comedy Specialwith Hasan Minhaj’s sketch team Goatface, The Fall of Donald Trump: A President Show Documentary and Alternatino with Arturo Castro. In past lives he worked at NBC and OWN. He lives in Brooklyn with his hairless cat Varys.
Becky Hovarth is a 3-time Emmy Award-winning producer / director with 15-years’ experience creating lifestyle and entertainment content. She’s produced segments throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia with A-list talent and global brands. After years of working in broadcast TV, she’s now overseeing Yahoo’s Lifestyle & Entertainment video team at Verizon Media. Becky is a proud member of the DGA and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is also the founder of the Brooklyn Brunch Club - www.brooklynbrunchclub.com.
Q6 Special Jury
Jesse North is a digital video producer living in New York. He is the Senior Video Producer at NBC News. His work has also been seen in Us Weekly, 92nd Street Y, Broadway.com, People, and Entertainment Weekly.
Caitlin Smith is no stranger to a quickie! (She currently holds the school record in the 800 meter run at her high school alma mater in Cleveland, OH).
Caitlin is a producer at Above Average and has created projects for Funny or Die, TruTV, and various reality shows--primarily in rural America--that you guiltily watched while threatening to "cut the cord once and for all!" Caitlin took Irish Dance for 7 years and impressively maintained the 2nd level, Advanced Beginner, for the entire duration.
Idol: Hank Mardukas
Sandy Kenyon is Entertainment Reporter and movie critic for Channel 7 Eyewitness News. His popular entertainment reports can be seen weekdays on Eyewitness News This Morning and frequently on other Eyewitness News broadcasts. In addition, his reviews and feature reports appear each week in more than 6000 NYC taxicabs as part of WABC-TV's Taxi TV.
Sandy has interviewed hundreds of legendary stars in the course of his career, including Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Lauren Bacall to name only a few.
Q5 Special Jury
Ophira Eisenberg is a standup-com, author and host of NPR’s Ask Me Another. She has appeared on HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central, The Late Late Show, The Today Show, Gotham Live and more. Ophira's memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy was optioned for a feature film with Zucker Productions. She is a regular host and teller with The Moth and has been featured numerous times on their award winning radio show and #1 podcast, The Moth Radio Hour.
Lauren Ashley Smith is the Head Writer of the critically acclaimed late night show, "The Rundown with Robin Thede" on BET. She is only the second black woman to ever hold that title on a late night show. Lauren's previous writing and producing credits include "Best Week Ever," "Fashion Queens," and "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." As a comedian, Lauren performs routinely at the Magnet Theater in New York City and is the former host of the Zagat web series, “Chefs Eating Tacos.” Lauren has appeared on VH1.com, The Scene, Refinery29, and the Netflix original series, “The Characters.”
Jermaine Hall is the Vice President, Managing Editor of Content at BET Digital.
Q4 Special Jury
Currently she's Head Writer of The President Show on Comedy Central. Previously she's written for @midnight with Chris Hardwick, The Roast of Rob Lowe and other fun shows. Emmy has been named one of Comedy Central's Comics To Watch. She's appeared on @midnight and in festivals including SF Sketchfest, The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, Riot LA and The Kennedy Center's District of Comedy Festival. (Very festive!) You can hear some of her standup here on WNYC's 2 Dope Queens.
Brian McElhaney And Nick Kocher are writing partners who perform under the name BriTANicK. They came up with that name 9 years ago. It doesn't make any sense but now it's too late to change it. They have made a ton of online sketch comedy which you can watch at BriTANicK.com. They have acted in some stuff and written for other stuff including The Goodwin Games and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and they are currently writers for Saturday Night Live.