Local comedy show Laugh Now, Laugh Later swings into third season
By Katie EastPosted Feb 20, 2013
Remember those chewy, bright-colored candies called Now and Laters? Keep that mind.
Currently in its third season, the MyBRTV sketch show Laugh Now, Laugh Later gives Baton Rouge something to enjoy now and talk about later.
Laugh Now, Laugh Later, which focuses mainly on sketch comedy, started in the fall of 2011. This season, which began Jan. 11, now also features pop culture news and local fashion segments.
Creator and executive producer Terrance Turner originally wanted to produce a sketch movie that featured the talents of Baton Rouge.
“It morphed into a television show,” Turner said. “I wanted to show that Baton Rouge has something else to offer that isn’t the same old, same old. I wanted to start something different that highlighted the talent in this city, and give them a new vehicle to perform.”
Stand up-comedian and Laugh Now, Laugh Later writer and actor Will Merrill agrees that the show is a great avenue for local talent.
“I think anyone who loves to laugh and loves Baton Rouge will like this show,” Merrill said. “The show not only showcases local talent, it also showcases local events and venues that may not have that type of exposure.”
Turner wanted to create a show that was entertaining for everyone, and prefers not to define it as a sketch or variety show.
“I stay away from the term ‘variety show,’” Turner said. “I call it an ‘entertainment show.’ I want to highlight the city, but everybody doesn’t act and everybody isn’t funny. This is another avenue for them to display what they’re doing. It’s all entertainment.”
Merrill, a veteran Baton Rouge comedian, often has to explain what a “sketch show” is to people who aren’t familiar with sketch comedy.
“It’s a show that takes everyday situations and brings it to a different level,” Merrill explained. “I was in a sketch where another comedian, Justin Tibbs, asked me to go to jail for him for first degree murder. We take a situation like asking for a favor to a hilarious level. However, we present it in a way that even those who aren’t familiar with the genre could appreciate what we are trying to convey.”
The Laugh Now, Laugh Later cast features Will Merrill, Jeff Buck, Byron Wade, Quinton Williams, Oonarissa Brown-Bernard, Sharmaine Hunter, Alexander Scott, Johnny Jones, and Jared Burns, along with other local actors and comedians.
Merrill, one of the head writers on the show, has a unique viewpoint as both a stand-up comedian and sketch actor. He notices the differences between the two, but thinks any audience can like both styles of comedy.
“Sketch comedy makes you think further into a premise than with stand-up. Usually with stand-up it’s premise, set up, punch line, segue. With sketch comedy you have to sell one premise and act it out and involve everyone [in the scene].”
With sketch titles like “Sex Dos and Don’ts” and “No Homo, Just YOLO,” the Laugh Now, Laugh Later brand of humor isn’t for all ages.
This season, Turner took a backseat from acting and writing to focus on producing. Though Turner is not a comedian, he says everyone takes part in the writing and creative process of the sketches.
“Society is funny. There is a lot of absurdity in everyday life,” Turner said. “You have to laugh at it to get through it. You can find the humor in everyday life – from something simple to possibly tragic. If you lose your sense of humor, you lose your light. I take life as light as possible.”
Merrill, like Turner, also finds humor in the not-so-humorous events of life.
“I believe what is funny is what makes me think,” he said. “And usually if I have to think about it, it probably stemmed from a not-so-funny situation. If presented correctly, just about anything can be funny.”
Turner said the show has something for everyone. This season Tyra Sterling will be producing a fashion segment, while D. Martez will be covering pop culture. Quinton Williams will be hosting a “man on the street” segment.
Turner’s company, Maddgame Entertainment and Marketing, also periodically produces live comedy events.
“Those were different shows because they featured stand-up comedy and showcased what that cast was capable of,” Merrill said. “Plus, fans of the show got the opportunity to hang out with the cast face to face. It helped bring another launchpad for local talent in the city.”
For now, both Turner and Merrill agree that producing material and gaining an audience for Laugh Now, Laugh Later is the main goal of the group.
“You’ll be entertained, if nothing else,” Turner said. “You’ll be proud to see something locally produced that doesn’t look locally produced.”
Laugh Now, Laugh Later _airs every Friday at 11 p.m. on MyBRTV: Channel 16 on COX and Channel 39 on AT&T U-Verse. _