Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Laughter: Selling Laughter

18 March 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm


Confirmed speakers include Steen Raskopoulos (comedian) Kat Buckle (Curtis Brown) and Owen Donovan (comedy producer). Chaired by Chloe Julius (UCL, History of Art).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Andrew Dean


IAS Forum
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

What does it mean to make money out of laughs? The only art form exempt from Arts Council funding because of its ‘commercial’ status, live comedy appears to be very comfortable in bed with business. Yet ask anyone working in the laughter industry and they will tell you otherwise. The business of laughter is fraught with obstacles, and the path to commercial success often is paved with compromise rather than talent. For the lucky few who make it to the big stadium stages, the industry which carried them there will likely disown them, branding them ‘sell-outs’.

Providing three perspectives on the comedy industry - the producer, the agent, and the comedian - this panel will explore the relationship between laughter and business, asking what the price of laughter is - and what it costs to achieve it.

Steen Raskopoulos is an Australian comedian, improviser, and actor. He's been nominated for both the Barry Award (Best Show) in Melbourne & Best Newcomer in Edinburgh, been a cast member of Australia's Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and recently supported Conan O'Brian in Australia. Steen is also one half of The Bear Pack, the hit improv show that has sold out shows around the world. His latest solo show, Stay, was one of the top 10 best reviewed show at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, and is currently playing at London's Soho Theatre.

Owen Donovan is a comedy producer and the managing director of live comedy production company Berk’s Nest. He’s produced over 50 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, including two Edinburgh Comedy Award winners (Rose Matafeo in 2018 and Richard Gadd in 2016), and a number of UK tours and London transfers. He also handles scripted comedy development for Who’s On First, a film and television production company.

Kat Buckle has been an agent at Curtis Brown for two years, representing a varied roster of clients that covers comedians, podcasters, directors, writer-performers, producers and journalists. Kat represents clients including Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Jordan Brookes, Sarah Solemani, Tessa Coates, Emma Sidi, and This Country producer Simon Mayhew-Archer. 

All welcome. Please note that there may be photography and/or audio recording at some events and that admission is on a first come first served basis. Please follow this FAQ link for more information.