Degenerate comedy label goes wide

To develop content from established and new comedians

NEW YORK -- It's not your father's comedy business anymore.

Production and management firm Generate is taking more control of comedy content in the digital age and pushing it across various platforms with the launch of Degenerate, a label co-branded with distribution partner Warner Bros. Records.

It is developing content from established and up-and-coming comedians, including ones represented by Generate's talent division, and distributing it across platforms in the form of TV specials, DVDs, CDs and digital offerings. Touring blitzes by featured talent also are part of the equation.

The template for the label is the successful Blue Collar Comedy brand, which also is distributed by Warner Bros. Records. Degenerate will feature more metropolitan comedy though.

To ensure more control over the production -- handled by Generate Studios and its recently promoted head of production Michael Petok -- and licensing of content, Generate funds the production of one-hour comedy specials and presells them to cable networks.

The label already has sold five specials to Comedy Central. The first, "Au Contraire!" aired Friday and featured Generate client Christian Finnegan performing in Philadelphia. The accompanying CD and DVD -- with added content -- come out Tuesday.

Additional specials set for Comedy Central later this year feature Jon Reep and Generate clients Arj Barker, Patton Oswalt and Anjelah Johnson. Other planned specials will put the spotlight on Generate clients Janeane Garofalo, Al Madrigal, Finesse Mitchell and Brian Posehn. The likes of HBO and TBS are among other possible network partners, and Degenerate-Warner Bros. Records also expects to package and sell its specials in overseas markets.

"Degenerate will elevate the profiles of gifted comedians, both Generate clients and others, and create unique multichannel branding opportunities," Generate founding partner Kara Welker said.

Added founding partner Dave Rath, "The Degenerate label brings to bear our deep understanding of comedy as a genre as well as all of Generate's resources in production, talent management and creating multiplatform entertainment."