National accolades have recently been awarded to a New London-based comedy agency, proving their mission of bringing people together through laughter has been a big hit.

Laughter Has No Color began about seven years ago, when Booking Agent and owner of Elsenpeter Productions Richard Elsenpeter attended a comedy show at an area winery. But it wasn't the headliner who caught his attention — it was Vernon Davis, who goes by the stage name Longhorn The Comedian. Davis' comedy was “hilarious,” and he emphasized a positive message during his routine — laughter has no color. Two years later, they were in business together and on the way to achieving national recognition from GoodDeedSeats.com for their efforts in gathering a diverse group of comedians who let that message ring through loud and clear.

“'We as a nation and we as a people need to get past racism and we need to get past our differences and we need to realize that we are just here together,' and I thought that was a great message he was trying to give,” Elsenpeter said.

Elsenpeter carried on a tradition set about by his father, Toby Dick Ellis — a well-known area theater and television performer — when he took the helm of the family business, Elsenpeter Productions. And when Davis joined forces with him as the Talent Contact for the new comedy agency in the company, Laughter Has No Color was born.

The group of performers includes men and women of many ethnicities. He said he is always looking out for people who bring something unique to their performances, noting there are many talented performers in the area. But when Davis sent a message to him that they had been named to the top 30 comedy agencies in the nation by GoodDeedSeats.com , Elsenpeter was pleasantly surprised that their agency was amid a list of agencies from entertainment hubs like New York, California, Nashville and Las Vegas.

“To see those names of those organizations, and then little old me from New London, Mo., to be included in that was very humbling and very proud,” he said.

Elsenpeter said the funny routines of the men and women who perform in venues including St. Louis, Kansas City and Dayton, Ohio can truly break down barriers and bring folks together through laughter. Davis has performed in some places that Elsenpeter said were dangerous in his opinion for an African-American performer. But his routine and what he had to say broke down those preconceived barriers — as the audience members filled each venue with hearty laughter.

“It doesn't matter what color you are, what race you are, what ethnicity you are, what gender you are — if you're on stage and you're funny, people are laughing,” Elsenpeter said. “They don't care about any of that. They just want to be entertained and they just want to have fun and they just want to laugh.”

To learn more about Laughter Has No Color, please visit http://laughterhasnocolor.com or call 217-335-3338.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com