Local writers, comedians ‘Stand Up for the WGA’ at MilkBoy show

Stand Up for the WGA
Madinah Wilson-Anton

Philadelphia is a union town, no doubt about it. So, with the labor strike of the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, it’s nice to know that stand-up comedians in this area can still work and make jokes while carrying around protest signs and picketing.

To speak to all that, Philadelphia WGA members, comedy writers and one funny Democrat State Representative from Delaware’s 26th District work out their frustration against Hollywood on July 31 with “Stand Up for the WGA.” Booked and curated by local promoter Jesse Lundy and comic writer Dennis DiClaudio, the Monday night event at Milkboy on Chestnut Street is set to “generate awareness for the WGA’s ongoing fight for fairer deals, contracts, and provisions in the entertainment industry, while simultaneously paying working writers for the work that they write.”

But mostly, “Stand Up for the WGA” is all about telling jokes and making fun of management.

Dave HillProvided

“I will be making jokes and I do hope they will hit,” stressed Madinah Wilson-Anton, the progressive Delaware State Representative who will attend “Stand Up for the WGA” … not in an official capacity.

“I have watched from afar issues with other unions, such as striking teachers in other states,” said Wilson-Anton. “I support workers, unions, am fortunate to have been endorsed by many different unions, and am happy that I have a chance to give back on Monday night with my jokes.”

The MilkBoy night’s curator, comedian and one-time Comedy Central ‘Indecision Forever’ writer Dennis DiClaudio jumped in to remind Metro that Wilson-Anton is indeed funny and quick witted, and that she is an advocate for union members and striking writers.

Dennis DiClaudioProvided

“I wanted this show to be diverse and inclusive of many points of view, not just stand-up comedy jokes,” said DiClaudio. “I have a million friends in the biz effected by this strike. I’m despondent for them, and I’m despondent for that career path.”

Having worked for Comedy Central during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election cycles, DiClaudio has witnessed both sides of the coin – humor and politics – interacting as strange bedfellows.

The current writer’s strike effects several members of this “Stand Up for the WGA” panel, including Pratima Mani (a Peabody-receiving, two-time Emmy-nominated comedic writer who currently writes for ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’) and Dave Hill (currently a contributor to NPR’s ‘This American Life’ with television credits on ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’, and ‘The Tick’).

Pratima ManiProvided

“Just read the responses from the studios to some of our demands – no counter proposals, no consideration towards writers’ rooms, rejections on matters of A.I.” noted Mani. “And it’s every writer, including those at the top of their game helping to create hit shows who can’t make a living age. This isn’t an existential dilemma. This is about fairness.”

Hill seconds that emotion, and notes that the producers, networks and showrunners are more than likely keeping the WGA at bay until autumn when writers will become more desperate for money and the union’s membership will cave to unworthy offers.

“It’s a problem as old as time. It’s greed and disparity and needs to change.”

‘Stand Up for the WGA’ will take place at MilkBoy, 1100 Chestnut Street, on July 31. For tickets and information standupforthewga.carrd.co