@jonnysun presents

The Online Humor Conversation Series at MIT

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Generously funded by the MIT De Florez Fund for Humor, in association with the MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media, and co-sponsored by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

 
 

The Online Humor Conversation Series at MIT brings comedians working online in conversation with academics and researchers to discuss humor's impact and influence on the internet, society and culture. 

Free and open to the public.

 

SPRING 2017

UPCOMING EVENTS

Kambiz Hosseini ("The Jon Stewart of Iran"), in conversation with Simin Kargar. Can Authoritarians Take Jokes? Humor as a tool for political resistance. Wednesday, May 3. 5-6:30pm. Media Lab. E14-633.

Moderated by Susan Benesch. Free and open to the public.

5:00pm-6:30pm. MIT Media Lab, E14 Lecture Hall (E14-633) on the sixth floor. 75 Amherst St, Cambridge.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

This event will be live-streamed through Periscope at @MITHumorSeries.

Heben Nigatu (BuzzFeed's Another Round podcast), in conversation with Meryl Alper and Kishonna Gray. Wednesday, May 10. 5-6:30pm. Media Lab. E14-633.

Moderated by Jonny Sun. Free and open to the public.

5:00pm-6:30pm. MIT Media Lab, E14 Lecture Hall (E14-633) on the sixth floor. 75 Amherst St, Cambridge.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

This event will be live-streamed through Periscope at @MITHumorSeries.

Dylan Marron (Welcome to Night Vale, Seriously.tv), in conversation with Jonny Sun and Ethan Zuckerman. Thursday, May 11. 5-6:30pm. Media Lab. E14-633.

Free and open to the public.

5:00pm-6:30pm. MIT Media Lab, E14 Lecture Hall (E14-633) on the sixth floor. 75 Amherst St, Cambridge. 

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

Nathan Zed (@nathanzed), in conversation with Jonny Sun and Kishonna Gray. Monday, May 15. 5-6:30pm. Media Lab. E14-633.

Moderated by Jonny Sun. Free and open to the public.

5:00pm-6:30pm. MIT Media Lab, E14 Lecture Hall (E14-633) on the sixth floor. 75 Amherst St, Cambridge.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

This event will be live-streamed through Periscope at @MITHumorSeries.

The comedians behind the Tax MarchMaura Quint (New Yorker, McSweeney's) and Frank Lesser (writer, The Colbert Report). Time and place TBA.

Free and open to the public.

Time and place TBA.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

This event will be live-streamed through Periscope at @MITHumorSeries.

 

 

PAST EVENTS

Matt Nelson (creator of @dog_rates), in conversation with Jonny Sun (@jonnysun). On cuteness, dogs, and humor in online discourse. Wednesday, April 19. 5:00-6:30pm. Media Lab. E14-633.

The creator behind the wildly popular Twitter account @dog_rates (over 1.5M followers) sits down with MIT PhD student and internet comedian @jonnysun to discuss the process behind creating online content, the "Wholesome Humor" movement, the universal appeal of dogs, remix culture, the legitimacy of creative work on the internet, humor's role in political discourse, countering negative speech, and more. Moderated by Susan Benesch. Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

5:00pm-6:30pm. MIT Media Lab, E14 Lecture Hall (E14-633) on the sixth floor. 75 Amherst St, Cambridge.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

This event will be live-streamed through Periscope at @MITHumorSeries.

Coming FALL 2017...

Megan Amram (@meganamram). Writer, Parks and Recreation, The Good Place, Transparent, Silicon Valley, Children's Hospital. Author, Science... for Her!

Demi Adejuyigbe (@electrolemon). Writer, The Good PlaceCo-creator, Gilmore Guys podcast.

...and more!

 

About our guests

Dr. Meryl Alper is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Dr. Alper studies and teaches about the social implications of communication technologies, with a focus on youth and families, disability, and mobile media. She is the author of Digital Youth with Disabilities (MIT Press, 2014) and Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality (MIT Press, 2017). Prior to joining the faculty at Northeastern, she earned her doctoral and master’s degrees from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and History from Northwestern University. In her research and teaching, Dr. Alper draws on her professional experience in educational children’s media as a researcher, strategist, and consultant with Sesame Workshop, PBS, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Noggin/The-N (which is where she met Drake when he was still just Jimmy Brooks #Degrassi).

Susan Benesch directs the Dangerous Speech Project and studies pro-speech, effective ways of responding to online hatred and harassment, with special focus on humor. She is faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and teaches at American University in Washington, D.C.

Kishonna L. Gray (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is currently a MLK Visiting Scholar in Women & Gender Studies and Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT, and a Berkman Klein Fellow at Harvard. She is also the Founder of the Critical Gaming Lab at Eastern Kentucky University. She is expanding on the work created here to develop new initiatives surrounding Equity in Gaming (www.equityingaming.com). Her work broadly intersects identity and new media although she has a particular focus on gaming. Her most recent book, Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live (Routledge, 2014), provides a much-needed theoretical framework for examining deviant behavior and deviant bodies within that virtual gaming community. Her work has been featured in the LA Times, Paste Magazine, Engadget, The Guardian, BET, and Blavity. Follow her on Twitter @KishonnaGray and the Equity in Gaming Initative at @equityingaming.

Kambiz Hosseini is an Iranian-American political satirist, actor, and radio and television host. He lives in NYC and makes fun of Iranian politicians for a living! Kambiz is the host of Paradox, a weekly satirical news program that airs on Radio Farda. From 2013-2015, Kambiz hosted a weekly satirical news show, Poletik, with over 10 million views on YouTube. From 2013-2016, Kambiz produced and hosted a weekly Persian-language podcast on news and developments of human rights in Iran, Five in the Afternoon, with more than 4 million plays on SoundCloud. In 2015, Five in the Afternoon won the Reporters Without Borders Award and Kambiz received the Reporters Without Borders User Award that honors individuals advocating for freedom of expression around the world. From 2009-2012, Kambiz co-created and hosted the successful and critically acclaimed TV show Parazit on Voice of America, which reached over 30 million viewers worldwide. The Washington Post dubbed Parazit “The Iranian Daily Show” and referred to him as the “Jon Stewart of Iran.” Among the high-profile guests that he interviewed on Parazit was the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Kambiz was awarded the Bronze Medal for Parazit at the 2012 New York Festival’s Best Television and Films in the comedy/satire category. In 2011, Kambiz testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Affairs, where he delivered personal remarks advocating for human rights in Iran. Kambiz immigrated to the United States in 2000 and is based in New York City. He has been featured on CNN, FOX News, PBS, NPR, PRI, CBC, and many other media outlets. Kambiz has 1.6m followers on his Facebook page, 203k followers on Twitter and 235k on Instagram.

Simin Kargar is a human rights lawyer and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. At Harvard, she focuses on harmful speech online, the interplays of media, power and new propaganda and how online platforms are facilitating its dissemination. In addition, Simin studies how discourses of geopolitical issues are created and disseminated through social media. Simin has published research analyzing the formation of online movements that led to changes in policies, or to creating tangible social impact. Her current research addresses cyber abuse and online harassment against communities of journalists, artists and activists who - due to their profession, activities or beliefs- are more likely to become targets of coordinated online mobs.  

Matt Nelson, the online humorist behind the wildly popular @dog_rates, joined Twitter in 2014, and quickly began to combine two of the hottest things on the Internet: dogs and humor.  In late 2015, as a teenager, he started WeRateDogs, a Twitter account that changed the game when it came to the "cute" account genre, focusing on unique and hilarious captions to accompany dog pictures. Now, @dog_rates has over 1.7 million followers on Twitter, a shop for t-shirts and hats, a new app (@GoodDogsGame), and a forthcoming book in October 2017. Nelson, 20, studies Professional Golf Management when he’s not rating dogs, and lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Heben Nigatu is a writer, comedian, and America’s Foremost Public Intellectual. She is the co-host of the podcast Another Round, which has been called the “Beyoncé of podcasts” by a human who is definitely not her. She is also a former writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She brings her love of Vines (R.I.P.) and knowledge of issues of race, gender, media and pop culture to all of her work and only loves one thing more than her favorite shows: mangoes. Awards: Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in Media, 2016; Fast Company’s Most Creative People, 2016; Brooklyn Magazine’s 50 Funniest People, 2016; Marie Claire’s 50 Most Influential Woman, 2016; The Root’s 100 Most Influential African-Americans, 2016.

Dylan Marron is an IFP Gotham Award and Drama Desk-nominated writer, performer and video maker. He is the voice of Carlos on the hit podcast Welcome to Nightvale, an alum of the New York Neo Futurists, and the creator of Every Single Word (Tumblr’s “Most Viral Blog” of 2016 and Shorty Award Nominee). Dylan is a writer, correspondent and the most recognized face of Seriously.tv, where he created the viral smashes Sitting in Bathrooms with Trans People, Shutting Down Bullsh*t, and his signature Unboxing series.

Jonny Sun is the author behind @jonnysun. As a Twitter comedian, he has appeared in NPR, BuzzFeed, Playboy, GQ, and McSweeney’s. His past and present lives include: architect, designer, engineer, artist, playwright and comedy writer. He is currently a doctoral student at MIT and a Berkman Klein Fellow at Harvard, where he studies humor and online place. His first book, “everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too” (HarperPerennial) comes out in June 2017.

Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the role of technology in international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W. W. Norton, 2013). With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded the international blogging community, Global Voices. It showcases news and opinions from citizen media in more than 150 nations and 30 languages, publishing editions in 20 languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Zuckerman is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces. In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer organization that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously, he helped found Tripod.com, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. Zuckerman blogs at ethanzuckerman.com/blog. He received his bachelor's degree from Williams College, and as a Fulbright scholar, studied at the University of Ghana at Legon.

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Created by Jonny Sun, Susan Benesch, and the Berkman Klein Center's Online Humor working group. Generously funded by the MIT De Florez Fund for Humor, in association with the MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media, and co-sponsored by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

 
 
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