Other Group

The Comedy Resistance

Website:

thecomedyresistance.com/

Project of:

The Action Network

Type:

Get out the vote, civic

Founded:

2017

Co-Founder:

Stephen Kessler

The Comedy Resistance is a project of the left-of-center Action Network that uses comedians and comedy to generate support for its activities, which include voter registration drives, get-out-the-vote campaigns, advocacy for liberalized asylum policies, as well as support for abortion providers.

Background

The comedy Resistance was cofounded in 2017, in part, by Stephen Kessler, a filmmaker and fiancée to prominent Washington, D.C. lobbyist Heather Podesta. [1] [2] The group’s parent organization and fiscal sponsor is the left-of-center Action Network, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which supports aligned group by giving them tools to fundraise, organize, and circulate petitions. Other projects of the Network include GetEqualWomen’s MarchUnited We Dream18MR.org, and the New Economy Coalition. [3] [4]

The organization uses live events and digital campaigns featuring prominent comedians in order to raise support and attract volunteers for its initiatives. Comedians affiliated with the organization include Bob Odenkirk, the star of the television show “Better Call Saul”; Patton Oswalt, a standup comic and critic of the Trump administration; Maria Bamford, a standup comedian and actress; Reggie Watts, a left-wing comedian who opposed the candidacy of Donald J. Trump in the 2016 election, particularly in his collaborative song with The Cooties, “Trumpy Trump”; and David Cross. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Campaigns

Masks for All

Starting in 2020, the Comedy Resistance, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organized volunteers, provided them with personal protective equipment kits, and arranged for them to distribute face masks to homeless individuals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio, San Diego, New York City, and Tijuana. Additionally, during this campaign the organization featured prominently an individual known as the “Masked Rider,” who rode on a motorcycle as part of a publicity stunt while delivering masks to farm workers displaced by wildfires in California, a women’s shelter in South Los Angeles, and members of the Navajo Nation at the border of New Mexico and Arizona. [10]

Voter Registration and GOTV

Starting in 2018 in preparation for the 2018 election, the organization, partnered with VoiceWithMe and Headcount to organize voter registration and get-out-the-vote events featuring comedians in swing districts across the United States. [11]

Asylum Advocacy

Also starting in 2018, the Comedy Resistance began operating in Tijuana in support of Al Otro Lado, a pro-immigration and refugee group, providing transportation services and security in safehouses to people seeking to claim refugee status. [12]

Immigrant Defense

Since 2017, The Comedy Resistance has distributed “legal rights cards” to illegal immigrants and organized volunteers to work with groups disrupting the raids and arrests of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security. [13]

Clinic Defense

Since 2017, The Comedy Resistance has organized volunteers to work with LA for Choice, a pro-abortion organization, to escort women to and from a clinic that provides abortions in Downey, California. [14]

Stephen Kessler

Stephen Kessler is a co-founder of the Comedy Resistance as well as director and filmmaker who has worked to develop advertisements and content for businesses such as Apple, McDonald’s, Conde Nast, Snapple, General Motors, Taco Bell, and the New York Mets. [15] Notably, he is the husband of prominent Washington, D.C.-based Democratic-aligned lobbyist and contemporary art philanthropist Heather Podesta, who was previously married (her marriage with Kessler is her fourth) to Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. [16]

References

  1. “The Comedy Resistance.” The Action Network. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://actionnetwork.org/groups/the-comedy-resistance. ^
  2. Lovenheim, Peter. “The D.C. power player with Rochester roots.” Rochester Beacon. November 2, 2020. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://rochesterbeacon.com/2020/11/02/the-d-c-power-player-with-rochester-roots/. ^
  3. Young, Brian. “#ANPartner Case Study: AFL-CIO Migrates Seamlessly to Action Network.” Medium. Powering Progressive Movements, December 7, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2022. https://medium.com/powering-progressive-movements/anpartner-case-study-afl-cio-migrates-seamlessly-to-action-network-380ac577ef4. ^
  4. Breland, Ali. “Left Finds New Online Tools to Fight Trump.” TheHill, February 21, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2022. https://thehill.com/policy/technology/320195-left-finds-new-online-tools-to-fight-trump ^
  5. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  6. Mack, David. “Comedian Patton Oswalt Explained Why He Donated To A Trump Supporter Who Trolled Him On Twitter”. BuzzFeed News. February 28, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2022. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/patton-oswalt-trump-gofundme. ^
  7. Carlson, Erin. “David Cross Admits to Snorting Cocaine at the White House Correspondents Dinner”. The Hollywood Reporter. February 22, 2012. Accessed August 22, 2022. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/david-cross-cocaine-white-house-293785/. ^
  8. “”Trumpy Trump” – The Cooties ft. Reggie Watts.” YouTube: JASH. October 12, 2016.  Accessed August 22, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioF5LlCRNTw&ab_channel=JASH. ^
  9. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  10. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  11. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  12. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  13. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  14. “About.” The Comedy Resistance. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://thecomedyresistance.com/about/. ^
  15. “Stephen Kessler.” Kessler Content. Accessed August 22, 2022. http://kesslercontent.com/about-kessler-content. ^
  16. Lovenheim, Peter. “The D.C. power player with Rochester roots.” Rochester Beacon. November 2, 2020. Accessed August 21, 2022. https://rochesterbeacon.com/2020/11/02/the-d-c-power-player-with-rochester-roots/. ^
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