Chauvet lights Fall Back Comedy Jam
Monday, 15 November 2021
comedyThe Marc Wasserman lighting design featured a collection of Chauvet Professional
USA - The Barclays Centrein Brooklyn and Capital One Arena in Washington reverberated with the sound of merriment during the Fall Back Comedy Jam.
Featuring a star-studded ensemble of comics led by Academy Award winner Mo’Nique, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Rip Micheals, 2 Chainz, and other talents, the show served up a nonstop stream of routines.
Creating an engaging visual setting for the show, while also strengthening the connection between the performers and the audience was a Marc Wasserman lighting design that featured a collection of Chauvet Professional Rogue, STRIKE and COLORado fixtures supplied by Audio Spectrum of Boston.
“Lighting comedy is always a fun challenge,” said Wasserman who also served as technical director of the shows. “People come to see comedy because it’s a great escape from all the concerns that surround us, especially in times like these. My goal always is to create the kind of atmosphere that pulls people into the show without distracting. With great stars like we have in this show, you don’t want to detract from their performance. What you want to do is create epic static looks that fit the style of each comedian and can live on in fans’ memories.”
With this in mind, Wasserman avoided video wall backdrops, and went with richly textured beaded swag curtains to create an immersive look. To accentuate this evocative scenic element he up-lit the curtains with 12 COLORado Solo Batten fixtures arranged across the upstage deck.
“There were video walls for IMAG videos to the sides of the stage, but I don't believe in using LED wall backdrops or complex servers for comedy concerts, unless there is a very specific reason to do so,” said Wasserman. “Call me old school, but I prefer elegant curtain designs that are properly illuminated. The battens gave me beautiful natural colours to work with, so it really brought out the visual impact of the curtain.
“This was especially important with our headliner Mo’ Nique,” continued Wasserman. “I used the illuminated curtain to project a sense of respect around this Academy and SAG winner and her contributions to the field. The look created a certain aura on the stage, so when she came on, you could almost hear a pin drop - and the audience hung on every word and punchline.”
For Buster Rhymes, Wasserman create a more frenetic over-the-top concert style look with help from his moving fixtures, including the eight Rogue R2 Wash units that were positioned on the deck stage left and stage right. The RGBW fixtures were also used for side lighting and to create aerial washes.
Another key part of Wasserman’s rig were the six STRIKE 1 blinders that were positioned upstage and were used to light the audience for cutaways and reactions shots. Audience lighting from the STRIKE units also created a bridge between the comedians and the crowd.
“There’s almost always a role for audience lighting at a comedy show,” said Wasserman who has lit a variety of memorable tours by comedic stars like Nick Cannon. “In this particular show, some performers like Rip Micheals like to call out different audience members, making them part of the show. Our camera operators needed to have the shots ready for broadcast/projection - sometimes within a few fractions of a second! We had a great team in this project including to Rafael Jaimes and Betty Villanueva.”

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