Nitzan Mager is inordinately serious

Nitzan Bachar “NB” Mager is a Brooklyn-based global citizen who crafts whip-smart, socially conscious comedy.  

Her work includes the web series QUARANTINE, I LOVE YOU featuring Denis O’Hare, Ali Wentworth, Michael Chernus, and others; a commissioned short doc on GLORIA STEINEM featuring an interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and a newly wrapped short, DIVING IN, starring Maria Dizzia. 

She is currently in development on two dark comedies that take on unwieldy issues with panache: RUN AMOK (American gun culture) and STRANGE LOVE (a feminist take on Dr. Strangelove– hello nuclear warfare in the 21st century). 

RUN AMOK was a second-round finalist for the Sundance Lab and STRANGE LOVE was a second-rounder for the Sundance, Middlebury, and Outfest screenwriting labs, the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition, and placed in the top 20 percent for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship. 

What were you like as a teen?

I was inordinately serious. And one day when I was 18 went to an acupuncturist who was this lovely, ancient, wise woman and she said to me in a very heavy accent, “You need to have more fun.” So I took her advice very seriously.

Did you have an un-sexy starter job? 

I had MANY un-sexy starter jobs that I absolutely loved… worked at the local movie theater, worked at Blockbuster, and was a camp counselor at camps I was certainly unqualified for.

How have skills from non-production jobs transferred into your producing jobs?

I think school, sports, working any job, family and friend dynamics all lead you to the work ethic you have… First and foremost, just people skills – I think if you know how to talk to people and can genuinely listen and connect that transfers to any job you could want.

Best comedy or producing advice you ever got?

There’s always a solution, it all comes down to asking the right questions of the right people.

Worst comedy or producing advice you ever got?

Enough money can solve anything.

How has being funny helped you in your life, either recently or when you were younger?

I think having a sense of humor makes every burden a little lighter.

How do you as a producer approach bringing out the comedy in a project?

Having fun while you are making it is KEY… if you are not having fun while you’re making it (it’s comedy for goodness sake) then the audience is going to feel that and vice versa – if you are having a BLAST, and enjoying putting it together that will resonate.

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at an aspiring producer?

Always remember what you’re making, when it feels impossible and hard, and you’re overworked and not making enough money just remember what you’re doing and try and find some inspiration in the material.

What is your go-to show?

Friends, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Everybody Loves Raymond, Broad City.

What single word always cracks you up?