Through Standup, Raging Artists Bridges Marketing and Comedy Writing

Share Article

Raging Artists breaks new ground, venturing into the world of standup comedy and bridging the gap between creative marketing and comedy writing.

Hursh, Juicy, Ernie

Comedy is about pain, and nothing reflects that truth more than standup. It is the most visceral connection an audience can have with a performer, which is why there is a secret wish in the advertising industry for comedians to be marketers.

With its foray into standup, Creative Content and Marketing agency Raging Artists has set a new standard for comedy writing in advertising. “Comedy is the premiere content genre driving hits on YouTube and standup is the pinnacle of comedy writing,” said Justo Diaz, CEO/Partner at the agency, which has created successful Web-based campaigns for numerous fashion brands and entertainment companies. On December 6, RA's three comics will be performing 20-minute sets at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank. “I set out to do two things: to confirm our acumen as writers in the toughest, most brutal testing ground imaginable - standup comedy; and to prove to our CCO that he’s the funniest guy on the planet,” Diaz said. “I knew if I could prove it to him, convincing the rest of the world would be easy by comparison.”

“No ad agency has done this, earning its stripes in standup,” said Raging Artists CCO/Owner Hesh Rephun. “I told Justo I’d get onstage under one condition - I want our best writers up there, too. They happened to be him and (CFO/Partner) Ernie Noh. You wouldn’t expect a CFO to laugh at your jokes let alone deliver his own, but RA fosters a culture of courage. Ernie was a Creative Director on our recent Honda Experiment, our Chief Technology Officer sits in on creative brainstorming sessions. I want every endeavor to testify to the level of freedom, trust, and collaboration at this company.”

Rephun, Diaz, and Noh - whose stage monikers are Hursh, Juicy, and Ernie, respectively - immersed themselves in the medium this summer, performing at open mics, work-shopping their material, competing in (and winning) contests, and ultimately being invited to perform in shows at several clubs. All three have performed at the legendary Ice House in Pasadena and have booked a return engagement for January 8, 2012. On November 28, Hursh appeared onstage in the Main Room at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, part of a lineup that included guest spots by famed comedians Jeff Ross and Bill Burr. The December 6 show at Flappers is being produced and hosted by Andy Dugan, and will feature three additional comedians.

“Humor has always been a part of the Raging Artists model,” explained Diaz, citing work for agencies and brands such as SLAM (Sportie LA Media) and BEARPAW Footwear (for whom RA crafts comedy-driven videos with celebrities and pro athletes like Karina Smirnoff, Rick Fox, and Caroline Gleich). The agency’s successful Honda Odyssey 2012 Campaign Experiment directed by Tim Damon, uses humor to convey the notion that “A Family Man is Still a Man,” and garnered raves in automotive blogs, mommy blogs, and ad trades. RA drove Bandito Brothers’ BMW “Living in the Lights” spec to millions of views on YouTube, with massive fan response and press coverage. The agency’s efforts dominate the first page of Google for terms such as “Honda Odyssey Campaign,” “Sneaker Videos,” and “BMW M3 Film.”

“With stand-up, we did what we always do, jumping in with both feet. We like to scare ourselves, and for better or worse we don’t scare easily,” Diaz said. “Comedy is about pain, and nothing reflects that truth more than standup. It is the most visceral connection an audience can have with a performer, which is why there is a secret wish in the advertising industry for comedians to be marketers and for marketers to be comedians. But the two worlds haven’t really come together until now.”

“Ultimately, this demonstrates to our staff and our clients that through our unique expertise the potential for brand-consumer relationships can be realized,” said Noh. Regarding the standup experience, he added, “In life, I don’t vocalize my opinions about lunch, much less religion or race, so it's very cathartic to do so onstage.”

In addition to upping the ante for comedy campaigns, Raging Artists’ stage material has spawned an animated series called “Holy Smokes,” currently in development with an award-winning animation company that, likewise, is known for comedy. Noh would not reveal details, other than to say that “Holy Smokes” is “not the best show for people determined to sleep through life enveloped in the warm blanket of dogma.”

“I’m very proud of our company and it’s leadership,” Rephun added. “For normal, fully functional human beings to write for a live audience, then get up there - and destroy a room - that’s fucking amazing to me. If you’re a hot young writer and you want a job with Raging Artists, get your ass up onstage. Then we’ll talk.”

For tickets to the December 6 show at Flappers, visit:


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marjorie Giberson
Visit website