Ad Age’s 40 Under 40: Thai Randolph

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Executive VP and general manager, Laugh Out Loud

Thai Randolph, 36, has come a long way from Holly Hill, South Carolina, a town so small that the opening of a Hardee's shut down school and the two stoplights on Main Street for a parade in its honor. Now Randolph is working with Kevin Hart as an executive at Laugh Out Loud, a digital video brand that wants to rule comedy online. "No joking, this is a very challenging time in the content business," Randolph says. At LOL, a joint venture with Hart and Lionsgate, Randolph is thinking about how this new comedy channel can be successful through digital platforms (it also has a channel on SiriusXM satellite radio).

"I had to figure out what is our unique proposition," she says. "We're not a publisher, we're a digital video brand and network."

LOL's biggest hits so far are the shows Hart stars in, like "Cold As Balls," where he interviews athletes while they sit in ice-filled tubs. The show has landed sponsors like Mountain Dew and Old Spice. Another brand, Lyft, sponsors a show of its own on the network, "Kevin Hart: Lyft Legend." LOL is distributed on Facebook, YouTube and Sirius XM, and has a mobile app that claimed 500,000-plus downloads in its first 30 days one year ago (it has not released more recent figures). —G.S.

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