Laugh Out Loud, the digital comedy brand founded by Kevin Hart, announced a round of promotions and hires to support the company’s growth.
Hart will move from CEO to chairman of LOL, continuing to take an active role in the company’s overall comedic vision, content, and talent development.
Jeff Clanagan, Hart’s longtime business partner and current president of Laugh Out Loud, will become CEO, focusing on the content side of the business, including development, production, distribution and experiential. Thai Randolph, previously LOL’s EVP and GM, has been promoted to president and COO, overseeing strategy and operations, including corporate development, marketing, ad sales, finance and strategic partnerships.
In addition to Clanagan and Randolph’s promotions, LOL is expanding its team with key new hires and appointments. Clanagan hired Candice Wilson as head of production and development, overseeing all development production for LOL including “Die Hart” on Quibi and “Lyft Comics.” Wilson came to LOL from Lionsgate, where she worked on acquisitions and development at CodeBlack Films. Randolph has brought on Manveer Sehmi as SVP, head of finance and operations, who joins LOL from experiential company Confirmed360, where he served as CFO and COO. Prior to that, Sehmi was VP, controller at Funny or Die.
LOL also promoted Tina Maher to VP, integrated marketing and monetization, and announced the hiring of Beej (Brian) Gefsky as VP of content acquisition and distribution.
Hart commented, “In just a few short years, we have built a global comedy brand that is giving a platform to emerging and diverse comedic voices. As leaders, Jeff and Thai have been a tremendous force in growing the company with me. Together, they have expanded our distribution network, brought in amazing content partnerships, and led the expansion and growth of our divisions across the company. My move to chairman and Jeff and Thai’s new roles, along with our additional new hires and appointments, allow us to continue building on our promise and will keep us on track to become the biggest comedy company in the world.”
LOL was formed in 2017 as a joint venture between Hart and Lionsgate. In early 2019, Hart bought out most of Lionsgate’s stake to become majority owner. In early 2020, he cut a deal with NBCUniversal, under which the media company took a minority equity stake in LOL and NBCU’s Peacock secured a first-look arrangement with Hart’s company. The deal will bring a slate of LOL-produced series and short-form originals, as well as catalog content, to the Peacock streaming service.
Laugh Out Loud has expanded business and partnerships across its core divisions: LOL Network, LOL Studios, LOL Audio, and live experiences unit LOL X!. Clanagan and Randolph both have been with the company since its 2017 launch and have been instrumental the company’s evolution from its original vision of a subscription-based streaming service to a broader multiplatform comedy brand with a portfolio of owned intellectual property.
The company says LOL Network has grown to reach more than 100 million consumers through new partner deals, including with ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV, the Roku Channel, Comcast’s Xumo, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook, with the soon-to-launch Laugh Out Loud presence on Peacock from NBCU. LOL Audio has ramped up its audio offerings with a multiyear extension and expansion of its collaboration with SiriusXM and a recent partnership with Simon & Schuster to bring its Comedy in Color Franchise to audiobook format. LOL X! most recently partnered with Just For Laughs to bring the Comedy in Color franchise to its festivals and led the marketing for Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out tour.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Laugh Out Loud’s Kevin Hart, Jeff Clanagan, Thai Randolph
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