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Carolyn Portner

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

Carolyn Portner smiling headshot

Carolyn Portner

Carolyn Portner is a comedy writer, podcast host and stand up comedian based in Los Angeles. She is currently the writers’ assistant on Netflix’s upcoming sitcom Pretty Smart and recently wrote Episode #211 “Tainted Love” for Season 2 of ABC’s Mixed-ish. Previously, she was the writers’ assistant on ABC’s The Conners and supported writers rooms for CBS’s Young Sheldon and NBC’s Trial And Error.

Carolyn lives with a rare genetic bone disorder called Multiple Hereditary Exostoses (a rare disease where she was born with large benign tumors on her bones) and ultimately had three major operations before turning eighteen. Now donning titanium hips, she performs stand-up all over Los Angeles and produces a monthly comedy show, “Get Spunky!” in Silverlake.

Carolyn also hosts and produces a comedy podcast called Medium Rare, which explores identity around visible and invisible disabilities with the mission of answering big questions like “if we’re all cooked up differently, what brings us together as human meat?” She hopes her writing and stand up can encourage others to claim ownership of their disability experiences rather than hide it.

Learn More

After an extensive search and interview process, 30 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2021 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 8-week, 24-session virtual summer Lab series for people interested in – and with experience in – development, production and post-production, including careers as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, animators and other production roles, will take place June 22 – August 12, 2021. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. This Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award. Learn more:

This program, which continues building the talent pipeline of young professionals with disabilities looking to work behind the scenes, is made possible with support by:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, Pop Culture Collaborative, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company
  • Gold Sponsors: A&E and Final Draft
  • Silver Sponsors: NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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