Lucy Place, B.A.’10

Meeting the Comedy Challenge

By Stephen Shoemaker, B.A.’02

The premise was both thought-provoking and ripe for comedic hijacking: Pair comedienne and TV-show hostess Chelsea Handler with an expert on perception and bias, one who tours art museums to train clients in the subtle ways the subjective and objective intertwine and influence thinking.

Lucy Place

The result is a segment that aired last year during the first season of Handler’s self-titled show “Chelsea” on Netflix. And it ended up exactly the way Lucy Place, who works as a researcher on the show, envisioned it when she came up with the idea.

“I was so happy because I had found a profile of the expert, Amy Herman, in The New York Times; I pitched it, and Netflix loved it. And I thought the piece was so great and went off without a hitch,” Place said. “It’s hilarious because we all have bias, and Chelsea especially is always saying she’s trying to work on that herself.”

It’s but one example of numerous pieces on the show where Place has left her stamp. As the seventh person hired to work on the show in 2015, Place has helped develop ideas; research the newsmakers, up-and-comers, and trendsetters who appear as guests; and pitched field pieces like the one filmed at the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

“I’ve been there from the beginning; it has been incredible to see the arc of the show and how it’s been formed. And we’re still changing it; we’re still working on it,” Place said. Most noticeable is a format change from three shows a week to an hour-long episode that will release on Fridays when the second season of “Chelsea” premieres this spring.

Place, who graduated with degrees in English and communication, said ideas for the show are always in development, even during the off-months. That presents some unique challenges for the staff. “It’s an interesting thing, remaining topical and having the foresight to see what we’re going to be talking about in June or the months ahead,” she said. “And politically, that makes it a really interesting challenge, also.”