The Business Of Comedy A Conversation With Bob Sumner

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Bob Sumner Comedy Producer

Bob Sumner, best known as the co-creator of HBO's Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam is a recognized force in the world of comedy.  With over 25 years of experience, the Roselle, NJ native has discovered many of the top gifted comedians that have graced the stages and big screens around the world.  Before joining Rush Communications, Sumner was an independent club promoter for musicians and comedians in the tri-state area. While attending Seton Hall University he hosted a radio show  on SHU's  FM station WSOU, where his Friday Night Jam show called Mellow Madness was as popular in its time slot as the major radio shows  in the tri state area.  

In 1989 Sumner was hired at Def Jam Recordings and in 1992 along with entertainment titans Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan, helped launch HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" which forever changed the landscape of urban comedy. He is definitely the man comedians want to know and  has helped to make superstars out of many of today's well known comedians such as Bill Bellamy, Mike Epps, Dave Chappelle, Sheryl Underwood, Chris Tucker, and the late, great Bernie Mac.

Currently Sumner is executive partner in his venture Laff Mobb which has produced specials that have aired on Showtime, and most recently executive produced "Laff Mobb's We Got Next" on Magic Johnson's Aspire network. He is Curator of Comedy at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY and has served as comedy producer for such notable events as the American Black Film Festival's HBO Comedy Wings competition, Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning's "Zo's Comedy Groove" charity event, the Soul Train Music Cruise, and the Newark International Film Festival. His new television show, Laff Mobb's "Laff Tracks", is currently airing on the Tru television  network.   

Moderated By: Lisa Durden TV Personality I Pop-Culture Expert I Award Winning Content Creator. She an "A Plus Panel" Contributor on My 9 Network's, Chasing News, Fridays @ 11pm.

Newark NJ native, Lisa Durden, is a brilliantly outspoken, sought-after, television personality and subject matter expert in the areas of pop-culture, politics and social issues. Lisa “Keeps The Camera Hot” as an #APlusPanel Contributor on Chasing News, Fridays at 11pm on My9 Network. She’s also made appearances on such nationally syndicated programs as Fox News Channel’s, Tucker Carlson TonightFox & FriendsThe Kelly File with Megyn Kelly; HLN’s, The Daily Share with Melissa Knowles; iHeart Radio’s American Now with Meghan McCain, Fox 5 News Live withErnie Enastos; Arise TV; PIX 11 Morning NewsWTNH News 8’s CT Style with hosts Ryan Kristafer & Teresa Dufour and WABC Radio’s Geraldo Rivera Show and Hot 97’s Street Soldiers withLisa Evers, to name a few.  Lisa is host and executive producer of her popular, self-titled talk show, The Lisa Durden Show, which airs in over one million homes on Newark, NJ Cablevision, Manhattan Neighborhood Networks, and online on at and

 Lisa is an award-winning director/producer in television and film and in 2005, Ms. Durden launched, Lisa Durden Unlimited Productions, a Multi-Media Company, headquartered in the State of New Jersey, that specializes in creating award-winning content across various platforms for television, film, the web and live audiences. The organization’s mission is to create quality programming about underserved communities and to tell compelling stories, with big, entertaining, characters!! Projects include: Conceived & Produced the panel discussion, Puerto Rico: Nearly A Year After Hurricane Maria” in association with Ark Republic; Production Director of The Reel Sisters Star Studded Awards Ceremony. Past honorees include Cathy Hughes owner of TV One, actress Naturi Naughton, star of the hit STARZ series POWER.  Additionally, she’s the Assistant Director of the Verizon PSAConversations With MomProducer of short film Paris Blues in Harlem (Directed by Nadhege Ptah); Director of her critically acclaimed, feature documentary, PROJECT WOW: Men On The Down Low, which broadcast on BET J series, Black Stories and is currently being distributed in feature length by Echelon Studios Inc.; Co-Producer of the provocative, feature film TITLE VIIConceived & Produced the award-winning PBS Maya Angelou Film’s successful Live Twitter Chat which garnered 8 Million Impressions; The former Broadcast Manager with the National Black Programing Consortium’s (NBPC), AfroPoP Series, which celebrates the cultural and historical growth that has occurred in the last generation using films tailored to a world audience from insightful, artful and often unique local perspectives; Producer of ImageNation’s annual, star studded Revolution Awards. Past honorees include director Ava DuVernay, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, #BlackLivesMatter & actor Hill Harper and Playright/Actor Danai Gurira.  Ms. Durden served as Associate Producer of the award-winning PBS’ feature documentary, Soul Food Junkies (Director: Byron Hurt); Associate Producer of the critically acclaimed, Sundance Channel’s, 5 part docu-series, Brick City 1 (Director: Mark Levin & Executive Producer: Forest Whitaker); Associate Producer of the upcoming POV 2 part docu-series, The Newark Project, about education reform in Newark, NJ; and was formerly the Curator of the annual Reel Sister Of The Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series.

 In September 2015, Lisa was featured in Rolling Out Magazine, as the months “Black Intellectual,” who has blazed a trail in news and media with her straight-talking commentary. Lisa Durden is best known as a “Radical Woman In Media” and is most recognized as a thought leader, social justice advocate, black lives matter supporter and feminist. Lisa’s voice is her activism! Ms. Durden has mentored underserved girls since 1994 and remains a strong fixture in her community. Lisa is happily single and child free because she wants to be!! #ClapForThat!!