Locally-produced sketch comedy series "Laugh Now Laugh Later" starts its sixth season Friday night.
The series from Maddgame Entertainment will air at 10 p.m. on WBTR, Channel 41 (cable Channel 19), and continues in that time slot with a new weekly episode through the end of 2017.
For viewers who want to laugh a little longer, Maddgame Entertainment will offer an extended version of the show at maddgameentertainment.com.
"All of our popular sketches will be back, including 'Jay the Barber' and 'Man on the Street,'" says producer, creator and director Terrance Turner.
And "Ratchet Ronnie" is sure to return, too. He owns the world's greatest bar, by the way. That's his story, he says, and he's sticking to it.
"It will be a balance of old and new material," Turner says. "And though we've already prepared some content, we'll be working on new material during the season to address current events."
"Laugh Now Laugh Later" went into hiatus in 2015 while Maddgame Entertainment focused on producing an independent, feature-length comedy. Meanwhile, a "best-of" DVD was released to tide viewers over until the show's 2017 return.
"We have a YouTube channel, but it's easiest to reach it through our website," Turner says. "We have one cast member, Carissa Cropper, who never breaks character, and 30 minutes isn't enough to show what she's doing. So, we're able to extend it on the internet."
For those unfamiliar with the show, think of the sketch format of a prerecorded “Saturday Night Live” or hark back to “In Living Color.”
Turner stages the show with a 15-member cast of actors and stand-up comics. Actor Will Merrill ties the sketches together through his narration. Turner is joined by five writers — most of them cast members — in creating the sketches.
"We also have think-tank sessions, where all the cast members offer ideas," says associate producer Kyesolyn Byrd, also the show's casting director and a cast member. "That doesn't mean we use all the ideas, but no idea is bad."
Production has been made easier for the crew now that community company UpStage Theatre has moved its main stage to Cortana Mall. Turner's mother, Ava Brewster Turner, is founder and artistic director of UpStage, which previously performed in a small theater at 1713 Wooddale Blvd.
The company is keeping the smaller theater for its black box season but also has offered it to Maddgame Entertainment as a green screen studio.
"We film a lot on location, but green screen work was always difficult for us," Turner says. "Now we have a permanent location to do this, and we've already started filming in the theater. We're excited to be back."