Grace Parra and Stephen Guarino are set as the new co-directors of CBS 2018 Diversity Comedy Showcase, the network said today. They replace Rick Najera, who exited last month amid an investigation into inappropriate comments made during production of last year’s Diversity Comedy Showcase.
The showcase also named it head writers for 2018: Nahreen Tarzi and Chris Eckert. See their credits below, along with those for Parra and Guarino — all of whom are alums of the CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase.
Najera has served as director of the comedy showcase for the past 13 years. In announcing its investigation into the matter, CBS said on October 26: “In March 2017, CBS became aware of inappropriate comments made during the production of the Diversity Comedy Showcase, and remedial action was taken at that time, which the company felt was appropriate to the matter. Subsequent information has recently emerged. After looking into these reports and a discussion with Mr. Najera, he has resigned from his role with the Diversity Comedy Showcase.”
The Diversity Comedy Showcase is attended by senior-level CBS Entertainment executives, showrunners and casting directors from series on CBS, as well as other networks and talent agents/managers from across the entertainment industry. The next showcase will be held in January at L.A.’s El Portal Theater.
Here are mini-bios about the new directors and head writers for CBS 2018 Diversity Comedy Showcase, supplied by the network:
Grace Parra (“The Nightly Show”) is a host, comedian, actress and writer. Parra was a performer and writer in the 2013 CBS DIVERSITY COMEDY SHOWCASE. Parra’s television and film credits include “How I Met Your Mother,” on the Network, “Zeke & Luther,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Farah Goes Bang,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Greenberg.” Parra is represented by UTA/Mosaic.
Stephen Guarino (I’M DYING UP HERE) is a writer, actor and director. He was a performer and writer in the 2011 CBS DIVERSITY COMEDY SHOWCASE. His credits include “Happy Endings,” “Dr. Ken,” “The Comeback,” “The Big Gay Sketch Show,” and “2 Broke Girls,” on the Network. He has directed at The Groundlings, Funny or Die and Upright Citizens Brigade. Guarino is represented by CAA and 3 Arts.
Nahreen Tarzi is a writer/comedian who currently serves as Head Writer at Frederator Networks. Tarzi served as a writer for the 2017 CBS DIVERSITY COMEDY SHOWCASE. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and has performed stand-up for over eight years.
Chris Eckert performed in the 2017 CBS DIVERSITY COMEDY SHOWCASE and is a main company member of the Groundlings Theatre where he has created and produced the ongoing LGBTQ show “The Gale.” His additional credits include “The Comeback,” “Raising Hope,” “Super Fun Night,” “MADtv” and “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo.” Eckert is represented by Buchwald and Liberman/Zerman.