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June 26, 2023

Quinta Brunson to receive international comedy award for 'Abbott Elementary' success

The West Philly native will be honored at the Just For Laugh festival in Montreal next month alongside Bert Kreischer, Ronny Chieng and Mae Martin

Celebrities Comedy
Quinta Brunson Just For Laughs Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK

Quinta Brunson will receive the Comedy Person of the Year Award at Just For Laugh's ComedyPro conference in Montreal in July for her success with ABC's 'Abbott Elementary.'

Quinta Brunson will be named Comedy Person of the Year at the Just For Laughs ComedyPro Conference for her success in creating and starring in ABC's hit sitcom "Abbott Elementary."

Brunson will accept the award during a ceremony at the Just For Laughs comedy festival, held July 26-29, in Montreal, Canada. Brunson was honored by the comedy industry as a rising star in 2017. In the years since, the former Buzzfeed producer has made considerable strides, becoming the first Black woman to receive three Emmy Award nominations in one year. 

Festival organizers described Brunson as a "prominent figure and game changer in the entertainment industry." She has been named as one of Time 100's must influential people, been listed among Forbes' 30 Under 30 and received multiple accolades as a writer and showrunner on "Abbott Elementary," which she created in 2021. 

"Comedy is so important to me," Brunson said during her acceptance speech for best musical/comedy television series at the Golden Globe Awards in January. "Comedy brings people together, comedy gives us all the same laugh. ... And I'm gonna pull it together to say that we made this show because we love comedy and we love TV, this is my cast, and I love them. I don't know where I'd be without them because we get to make this show for everyone and, during a very tough time in this country, I'm happy that 'Abbott Elementary' is able to make so many people laugh."

Brunson will be honored alongside stand-up comic Bert Kreischer, "The Daily Show" correspondent Ronny Chieng and "Feel Good" writer and star Mae Martin during the awards ceremony. The Comedy Person of the Year Award went to Amy Schumer in 2022 and Dave Chappelle in 2021. 

A West Philadelphia native, Brunson attended the Charter High School for Architecture and Design and attended Temple University before dropping out after her second year to pursue a career in comedy. She originally garnered a fanbase by posting funny videos on her Instagram account in 2014, including the viral series "Girl Who Has Never Been on a Nice Date." 

She worked as a video producer for Buzzfeed, releasing "Broke," a web series for the now-defunct YouTube Red. She was nominated for best acting in a comedy series at the Streamy Awards in 2017 before leaving the Buzzfeed in 2018 to begin producing projects on her own. 

During that time, Brunson co-starred in several pilots that were not picked up by a network or streaming platform, including a sitcom with Jermaine Fowler. She produced a Facebook Watch series titled "Quinta vs. Everything," appeared on The CW's "iZombie" and voiced characters in Adult Swim's "Lazor Wulf" before beginning to co-star and write for HBO's "Black Lady Sketch Show."

In 2021, Brunson released "She Memes Well," a series of essays about her personal life and career ahead of the December premiere of "Abbott Elementary." The series released its pilot episode to widespread acclaim and began releasing weekly episodes the following January, quickly gaining a dedicated fanbase

The show, which is halted due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, stars Brunson as a quirky, chipper second grade teacher at an underfunded public elementary school in Philly.

She is joined by a cast of zany characters including Sheryl Lee Ralph as a beloved kindergarten teacher, Lisa Ann Walter as a South Philly-born third grade teacher, Tyler James Williams as a substitute teacher, Chris Perfetti as a socially awkward history teacher, Janelle James as a silly, inept principal and William Stanford Davis as the school's janitor. 

The show has been widely celebrated as a popular network drama in the age of streaming, earning two Critics' Choice Awards, three Golden Globes, an Independent Spirit Award, six NAACP Image Awards, a Peabody Award, two Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award

In January, "Abbott Elementary" was renewed for a third season. It will resume production once the Writers Guild of America reaches a deal to end its strike.