Groundbreaking, Live, Streaming Comedy Channel to Launch as Joint Venture from BEC and The Stand, Introducing “WITZ”

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“BEC is delighted to partner with brothers Cris and Paul Italia, Patrick Milligan and the world-class team at The Stand and their production arm Angry Buddha Films headed up by Frank Mosca and Stephen Franciosa Jr.,” said BEC Co-CEO Barry Gordon.

Digital channel studio and syndicator BEC: Best Ever Channels and The Stand Group, Inc., one of the top comedy Management, Production, and Venue operators in the U.S., announced today that together they will launch a new comedy brand and the first “TRUE LIVE” comedy channel to streaming platforms in early 2022.

The channel, WITZ, will include curated library programming, new stand-up comedy specials, talk shows, vodcasts and other new franchise blocks (“Cancelled Comedy,” “The Sunday Supper,” “What’s Your F@#king Deal?! with Big Jay Oakerson) sometimes taped and sometimes LIVE from the famed The Stand Comedy Club and a brand new studio hub in New York City.

WITZ will target its launch as a streaming FAST channel on all the major platforms. FAST streaming channels traditionally offer a live look and feel, as they play out in a linear feed vs. on demand, but WITZ is collaborating with FAST tech supplier, WURL, to broadcast “true live” feeds of the channel, meaning real time playouts as comedians are performing.

WITZ will also feature some known and never seen features from its library. Newly produced stand-up specials from Rich Vos titled “VOS Anonymous”, the first ever comedy special filmed inside a Narcotics Anonymous convention, Derek Gaines of the “Last OG’”s pandemic special called “Why Was I Home Anyway?,”Laurie Kilmartin’s “45 Jokes About My Dead Dad” and Aaron Berg “Stands Down” are set to premiere on the channel. In addition to the first ever TRUE LIVE (defined as broadcast simultaneously as the performances occur) comedy specials to be streamed for FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV) exploitation on all OTT platforms.

Besides being the first FAST channel to feature LIVE comedy performances and shows, WITZ will also feature a revenue sharing profit participation pool to a founding and rotating group of comedians to create a true “United Artists” of Comedy.

“BEC is delighted to partner with brothers Cris and Paul Italia, Patrick Milligan and the world-class team at The Stand and their production arm Angry Buddha Films headed up by Frank Mosca and Stephen Franciosa Jr. Together we are going to build a bold and innovative new comedy brand in the global streaming ecosystem!” said BEC Co- CEO Barry Gordon.

“We think the new homerun in comedy is to mirror the physical comedy experience with a digital one,” said The Stand Group’s partner Cris Italia. “With their technical, syndication and marketing prowess, BEC is the perfect partner. This will help us take our “artist-friendly” home for comedians into the homes of a massive streaming audience.”

“It’s nice to be able to binge every episode of ‘The Love Boat’ and ‘Riff Trax’ 24/7, but it’s also clear that there’s a massive gap in the OTT landscape when it comes to artist-first comedy,” said Jonathan Schwartz, a highly regarded media consultant (a.k.a. intern) who previously held top positions at Madonna’s Maverick Films and Relativity Media and bottom positions almost everywhere else. “Barry’s long history of producing top comedy specials and Cris’ partnerships and brilliant concepts for content are going to generate a new comedy channel unlike any other.” Schwartz negotiated the joint venture and will work closely with Barry and Cris on not only day-to-day operations, but also content, carriage and advertising inventory.

ABOUT BEC-BEST EVER CHANNELS LLC
BEC (Best Ever Channels, LLC) is an independently owned digital channel studio and content syndicator founded in 2019 and based in Los Angeles, CA. BEC specializes in niche content categories, with a current library of nearly 7000 episodes, and offering 12 channels in FAST and AVOD formats to OTT platforms. Six BEC channels [Best TV Ever, MORE U, CLIX, GRID, Trailers From Hell, and COMMUNE) currently run on most streaming devices through its agreement with PLEX GMBH, and technology partner, WURL, Inc. BEC also owns two SVOD channels in Amazon Prime [Best TV Ever, Best Westerns Ever] and has launched its own streaming service, Best Classics Ever, on web, mobile and Amazon Fire.

ABOUT THE STAND GROUP, INC
For the last decade, The Stand has been a staple of the New York comedy scene by hosting A-list comedians and becoming a home to the city’s funniest performers as well as the best comedy fans. By offering exceptional service, high-end cocktails, and rustic American cuisine, The Stand has become a hub in the Gramercy Park / Union Square area of New York City. Headed up by brothers Cris Italia, Paul Italia and Patrick Milligan, The Stand was named the best comedy venue by New York Magazine and TimeoutNY. These three also own and operate a management and production company, representing some of the best names in comedy while producing for TV and film. Due to their success at The Stand, they were tapped as stand-up comedy bookers for the The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in 2015 and have collaborated with Just for Laughs and SXSW festivals. Their produced comedy specials and series have been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, Showtime among many other streaming and on Demand platforms.

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