'Veep' Director, Producer to Launch Female-Driven Online Comedy Network
PYPO will launch in 2016 with comedy shorts, editorial content, illustrations and more on a variety of topics, from crying to mistakes.
Why do women say "sorry" so often? What does it meant to have it all?
These are some of the questions that Veep executive producer and director Stephanie Laing wants to explore with her new female-driven online comedy network PYPO.
Launching Jan. 4, PYPO will combine sketch videos, editorial series, animations and more to explore a new topic each week. A weekly newsletter, the PYPEline, will release every Monday with a specific topic at the forefront, and a follow-up newsletter will hit inboxes on Thursday with user-generated content on that week's theme.
Laing, who is currently working as an executive producer on HBO's Vice Principals, tells The Hollywood Reporter that PYPO — which stands for Put Your Pretty On — first took root about six years ago when she was leaving the house with her daughter who stopped and said, "Hold on, I have to put my pretty on" and proceeded to apply ChapStick. In that moment, Laing realized she needed to define for her daughter what it means to be pretty. "Put Your Pretty On became our mantra on how to live your life," she explains. "When she was nervous for a test, I'd say, 'put your pretty on.'"
Laing co-founded PYPO earlier this year with former Beats by Dre executive Susan Paley and recently brought in Elizabeth Thorp, formerly editor of Capitol File, as editor-in-chief.
"The biggest focus for us is that we're not reporting the news," says Laing. "There are a lot of sites like that focused on women that are great, but we want to create the news. Our focus is on original content and digital shorts. We want to provide that platform for women comics to try out material. Our message to them was, 'let us help you be your own producer. Let us help you execute something.'"
PYPO has lined up a group of experienced writers and producers to create content for the site, including Georgia Pritchett (Veep), Tony Roche (Veep), Gemma Baker (Mom) and Marie Claire executive editor Lea Goldman. Several of Laing's past collaborators have joined the PYPO advisory board, including Veep creator Armando Iannucci, Banshee creator Jonathan Tropper and Veep stars Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky.
PYPO also recently traveled to Australia to film a series of videos with Rose Byrne's production company The Dollhouse Collective.
But Laing wants to be clear, she's not making comedy just for women. "We won't just have stuff where women are curling their hair," she says, noting that she wants to push the boundaries of comedy. "When you push the line content-wise and people think it's funny, you can draw the line again."
On the editorial side, Thorp has lined up a group of contributors from both the entertainment and political worlds and says PYPO won't be afraid to address politics, especially during an election year with a female frontrunner in Hillary Clinton.
PYPO will also expand offline with in-person events and merchandise including books. The company, which currently has a full-time team of about five, will also create branded content. Laing notes that the ultimate goal is to sell TV shows. "I'd like to think that we'd have our PYPO players," she says. "We want to launch talent."
Watch the PYPO trailer here: