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One of the forces shaping the next generation of comedy is a guy just barely out of college: Daniel Cramer, 25, whose monthly newsletter on rising comedic talent has Hollywood bigwigs checking their in-boxes to see where the next big hit might come from.
The “Cramer Comedy Newsletter” is sent to about 1,000 executives, producers, agents and managers, highlighting up-and-comers in the stand-up scene and on social media. “The idea that no one had done this before is mind-boggling,” says Jimmy Miller, a veteran comedy manager who has steered the careers of Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow. “He created something out of thin air. And it has the opportunity to become a real go-to voice.”
Some of those highlighted in Cramer’s newsletter, like Hannah Crane and Dylan McKeever, have found representation, while some, like London Hughes, are now partnered with producers to develop movie or pilot projects. Meanwhile, Cramer became one of the youngest studio-based producers in town when earlier this year Sony scooped him up in an overall deal that sees him incubating rising talent and conducting comedy roundtables for the studio.
Cramer, who grew up in Orange County the child of neuroscience professor parents, describes himself as being a comedy-nerd kid who had an autographed photo of Mel Brooks on his wall and a habit of sneaking off to see Upright Citizens Brigade shows on weekends in L.A. While he was at Oberlin College, he got a job as a comedy booker for the school that took him to nightclubs in Chicago and New York. With a budget of only four figures, he had to go deep to find acts that would satisfy the college crowd but not break his meager bank. He booked rising comics such as Sarah Sherman and Langston Kerman, and it introduced him to touring agents, who gave him a ground-floor view of the business.
The booking job led to an internship at UTA, followed by a floating assistant gig at Sony, where he started a rudimentary list of comedians as “a way to impress execs and be useful to anyone and everyone,” he says. Its popularity soared during the pandemic as it morphed from being just a write-up of live comedy acts every month into a content aggregator of short films, Instagram sketches and character videos.
“It’s a quick way to get to know 20 new people you hadn’t seen before,” says Allysa Mahler, a partner and co-head of WME’s Comedy Crossover group, which has signed some of the newsletter discoveries. “We trust Daniel’s taste.”
Cramer already is developing several projects, among them a feature with rising comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy that has Ferrell attached to star and Miller producing.
“I have whiplash,” Cramer says. “I never thought that following my passion and being a comedy nerd could actually lead to this job.”
This story first appeared in the Oct. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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