- Monday, Jul. 17, 2017
Bonnie McFarlane has been announced as the fourth recipient of the Superlounge Diversity Award. An accomplished touring comedian and late night mainstay, who recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, McFarlane wrote and directed the film, Women Aren't Funny, a documentary confronting bias and discrimination in the standup world. Prior to entering the comedy world, she embarked on a career as a copywriter, at Scali McCabe Sloves in Vancouver. McFarlane now returns to the ad world as a director, and will attend Superlounge director Jordan Brady’s Commercial Directing Bootcamp, August 26 in Los Angeles. She joins previous winners Jody Lauren Miller, Monty Marsh and Kristyna Archer.
“Bonnie is a fixture on the stand up circuit, and her hilarious film tackled the same thing women in film and commercials are facing now,” said Brady, who launched the Commercial Directing Bootcamp in 2015, holding sold-out seminars in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Austin and Dallas. “A tweet of hers caught my eye, and I thought, ‘Here's a smart storyteller who could be a successful commercial filmmaker, but how is she gonna learn the ropes?’"
“I’m so honored, I’ve been very aware of Jordan for a long time through I AM COMIC and his other documentaries, and on social media,” said McFarlane. “And yes, it was my snarky tweet that started this thing. Jordan listed what it takes to be a director, and I replied, ‘Yeah - and to be a man.”
That may be changing, thanks to endeavors aimed at leveling the playing field, such as #FreeTheBid, and the Superlounge Diversity Award. In response to the lack of female, minority and LGBT directors at the helm of filmed advertising, the scholarship was launched by Superlounge to help expose these filmmakers to the insights offered by the successful seminar. Filmmakers’ reels are judged on the following criteria:
- Quality of storytelling;
- Need for exposure to industry.
- Passion for making ads.
“I’d wanted to direct for a long time, and done some shorts and live shows with multimedia. I learned so much making Women Aren’t Funny. Truthfully, if I’d known how much work it would be,” McFarlane recalled with a laugh, “ I wouldn’t have done it.” She begins production on a new short film August 8. As a filmmaker, McFarlane sees many parallels between standup and the ad biz. “Comedy and advertising are very similar, in terms of the economy of words, and the importance of visual storytelling, whether in gags or vignettes,” she said. “Regardless of the medium, I’m always drawn to stuff that’s challenging.”
Growing up and attending school in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, McFarlane very much wanted to be a copywriter. “I was fortunate enough to land a job at Scali, and was hostessing at a comedy club at night,” she recalled. When she started doing standup, all of her agency colleagues came out to support. And when she entered "The Search for Canada's Funniest New Comic," she won. McFarlane pursued standup, continuing to freelance as a creative. She moved to New York, working there and in Los Angeles, doing stand-up and serving as a writer/producer for Television. Spots on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn followed. She appeared as a panelist on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld and as one of Dr. Katz's patients on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. She was the first comedian eliminated on season two of the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing, in 2004. McFarlane recorded her own HBO One Night Stand special in 2005, and in 2008, she had her own Comedy Central Presents half-hour special. McFarlane is also one of the hosts of the Nickelodeon show NickMom Night Out. In 2016, she released "You're Better Than Me," a memoir published by Anthony Bourdain which recounts McFarlane's upbringing and comedic career.
“Comedy is like sand through your fingers,” McFarlane concluded. “Looking at spots and other branded content, I sometimes think I could do it better. It does seem like there’s a bigger fear of letting a woman handle being in charge than a man, whether it’s a commercial or a roomful of people. The more people succeed, the easier it becomes, one hopes.”
Superlounge is a boutique LA production company featuring award-winning commercial directors Jordan Brady and Jeannette Godoy. The company is presided over by Executive Producer/Partner Dave Farrell and Executive Producer, National Sales Vicki Williams.
About Jordan Brady
Jordan Brady's true passion is commercials, yet he's directed five features films, including the 2010 cult hit feature documentary I AM COMIC (Netflix, Showtime), a Who’s Who of standup comedy launching a filmmaking journey through the current boom that has made him the definitive biographer of the medium's modern era. Even more of today’s top stand ups appeared in Brady’s 2014’s I AM ROAD COMIC (Netflix, Hulu), and he recently filmed I AM BATTLE COMIC, which followed Brady and a squadron of stand-ups to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iraq, where they performed for troops serving in the US Armed Forces. Brady also hosts the wildly popular podcast RESPECT THE PROCESS, often described as “The Rosetta Stone of filmmaking.”