The new series stars W. Kamau Bell, Nato Green, & Janine Brito
The series that almost wasn’t.
Laughter Against the Machine has been saved from the sands of time and is joining Means TV’s lineup with all seven episodes available beginning Tuesday, August 4th.
The documentary series takes us along with comedians, W. Kamau Bell, Nato Green, and Janine Brito as they travel across the U.S. in 2011 before and after the first Occupy Wall Street protests begin to rock the nation.
Laughter Against the Machine follows the trio as they visit some of the least funny places in the world, like the militarized US/Mexico border, the 9th Ward in New Orleans that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, or Oakland under martial law during Occupy. Amidst this grim political backdrop, these comics find something or someone to laugh about, challenging audiences to question the state and those in power.
Nato Green says of the series, “In early 2011, Kamau, Janine and I were in the Bay Area despondent. The Tea Party had just swept the midterm elections, Gabby Giffords had been shot in Arizona, emboldened racists were acting out all over, and Democrats lacked spine almost as much as they lacked vision. It felt like everyone was demoralized and the people on the front lines were doing their best in impossible conditions. Good thing that’s all the distant past and in no way relevant to anything happening now.”
“In what we innocently thought then was our darkest hour, we launched Laughter Against the Machine to bring laughter to people needing to unwind after a long day of being tear gassed by cops and blockading ICE deportation buses.” Nato added.
“When Nato approached us with the footage from the tour we immediately wanted to work with him to make something from it.” said Nick Hayes, head of production at Means TV. “You can’t help but laugh when you watch the three of them have a blast together, making jokes about Obama or how cops’ mothers never loved them. The fact that it’s almost a decade old adds a whole other dimension to it and gives it this feeling of a crystalized moment in time. It’s also fascinating to see the frustration and dissatisfaction people across the country felt with Obama at that time. That sense of betrayal and hopelessness during his presidency is something that the mainstream media has really tried to paper over and rewrite, but it’s clear to see in these audiences reactions.”
W. Kamau Bell would later go on to host the FX series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which the New York Times called “five years ahead of its time,” for which Nato and Janine were both writers, and then to CNN as the Emmy Award-winning host of United Shades of America. Janine Brito is currently a writer for television, and Nato Green continues to do stand-up comedy, write, and podcast from San Francisco while working as campaign coordinator for SEIU Local 1021.
You can watch all seven, 11-minute episodes of Laughter Against the Machine now streaming exclusively on Means TV. https://means.tv/programs/latm
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