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Social Change Through Comedy

Caty Chattoo

How can we view social issues differently if the lens is unexpected and maybe even a little controversial? How do we follow a comic’s joke to its sources in real life? What happens when we use comedy as a lens for examining the most pressing issues in global development?

These are some of the questions that Executive Producer Caty Borum Chattoo , Creative Director at the Center for Media & Social Impact , has been working to help raise over the past year with her latest project, “ Stand Up Planet .” The project is a documentary TV show, transmedia series and digital campaign that explores the power of humor to confront some of the biggest factors contributing to poverty in the world today.

“Stand Up Planet” is hosted by Los Angeles comedian Hasan Minhaj , who set out to find rising comedic talent in the harshest parts of the world. The team has filmed in India and South Africa, two areas where stand-up comedy is taking hold amid ongoing health crises and changing social environments. Minhaj invites the comedians he meets to perform on the show and delves into the issues at the center of their jokes.

Last month, Minhaj gave a keynote address about “Stand Up Planet” at the Social Good Summit , a prestigious three-day conference that brings world leaders and innovators together to find media and technology-based solutions to global challenges. Other speakers at the conference included former Vice President Al Gore and UNICEF’s executive director Anthony Lake.

In addition to exec-producing the core documentary element of "Stand Up Planet," Chattoo also directs the digital platforms and the future evaluation of the project. She calls "Stand Up Planet" her dream project: “My professional passion is working at the intersection of translating complex social issues into entertaining narratives, connecting with untold stories through documentary production. The world of ‘social impact media storytelling’ is evolving in such exciting ways,” said Chattoo, adding, “The hope is to build upon this foundation for future work.” 

“Stand Up Planet” was directed by David Munro and produced in association with Kontent Films. The concept was created by Munro and Xandra Castleton. Learn more about “Stand Up Planet” and follow its development at www.standupplanet.org .

Click here to read AUSOC’s full article on Caty Borum Chattoo and “Stand Up Planet.”  

Stand Up Planet in LA

Comedians Mpho Popps, Hasan Minhaj, and Aditi Mittal in Los Angeles