I’m pleased to be on the official Board of Directors for the inaugural Palm Springs International Comedy Festival which launched on November 10 at Hotel Zoso in downtown Palm Springs. My mother Karen Sharpe-Kramer and I established a new gift in honor of my father: the Stanley Kramer Mad World Award for Best Comedy Ensemble in a feature film.
It’s fitting because my father’s popular comedy classic from 1963, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year and was filmed largely in Palm Springs and Palm Desert. (We just presented a sold-out screening at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, which my dad built for the film’s premiere).
We selected Book Club, the ensemble comedy from Paramount Pictures, released last May, for this year’s award. We presented the filmmakers Bill Holderman and Erin Simms with this “first-ever” award, and cast member Ed Begley, Jr. brought his lovely wife Rochelle.
Festival Founder and Executive Director Paul Cruz says the Palm Springs International Comedy Festival is “just what Palm Springs needs” and the goal is to “celebrate well known comedians and search for new talent.” Besides the Stanley Kramer Mad World Award, Paul did a splendid job by recognizing marquee talent. The controversial and influential Kathy Griffin was honored as “Comedienne of the Year” and actress/producer Illeana Douglas was honored with the “Pioneer in Comedy Award” for her groundbreaking web series Easy to Assemble.
On the L.A. local comedy scene: The hottest rising comic is a 69-year-old Jewish man with a long white beard named El Yid. Toluca Lake resident Marc Sheffler has created this character and performed a unique comedy routine during Hanukkah week, on the topic of the rise of anti-Semitism during the era of Trump. He debuted it at a pub in Sherman Oaks on December 5.
Live your dreams…….
Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.