Funny People is described as the ultimate search for the next comedy triple threat that paces the next generation of America’s up-and-coming comics through a series of live stand-up, improv and sketches to determine who will be granted the crown of America’s funniest person.
Irwin executive produces, with his Irwin Entertainment as the project’s production company.
Funny People broadens the scope of comedy performances on a competition reality series beyond stand-up, which was the focus of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. That series gave a break to several then-little-known comedians like Amy Schumer.
The project also continues Fox’s push in reality-competition series. The network’s unscripted team, led by Rob Wade, had been developing a slew of formats, with three series greenlights in the past six months: The Masked Singer, which has been a breakout hit; Mental Samurai, which debuts in February; and the just-picked up Paradise Hotel reboot, in addition to game show Spin the Wheel.
The Masked Singer premiere earlier this month drew a 4.2 adults 18-49 rating and 13.0 million total viewers in Live+7, logging the largest L7 gains (from L+SD) for an unscripted debut.
Funny People would mark a return to Fox for Irwin, who spent two years as producer on the network’s late-night sketch comedy program MadTV early in his career.
Irwin has extensive experience both in reality series, with credits that include Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, and comedy specials, having produced a slew of stand-up specials headlined by Kevin Hart, Jim Jefferies, Michelle Wolf, John Mulaney, Neal Brennan, Tracy Morgan, Dana Carvey, Nikki Glaser, Daniel Tosh, Trevor Noah, Chris D’Elia, David Spade, Norm Macdonald, Patton Oswalt, Hannibal Buress and Anthony Jeselnik, among others.
Irwin also did a five-year stint as VP Development and Production for Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video.