When it comes to stand-up comedy, there’s more to it than just what you see on Netflix or Comedy Central. There are hundreds of thousands of comedians in the U.S. alone, ranging from mainstream superstars to local comics just starting out. As for rising talent, there are several comedians who are on their way to becoming the next George Carlin or Joan Rivers. Here are just a few of the best comedians to watch out for this year.
While many people may know Kumail Nanjiani from last year’s hit romantic comedy The Big Sick, Nanjiani’s breakthrough role was playing Dinesh on HBO’s Silicon Valley. A Pakistan native, Nanjiani got his start performing stand-up at his small midwest liberal arts college. After that, Nanjiani began landing roles on various tv shows, including Key & Peele, Broad City, and The Colbert Report. Following the 2017 release of The Big Sick, a loosely-based adaptation of Nanjiani and his wife’s real-life courtship. Nanjiani remains one to watch this year, so be sure to look out for him in upcoming movies and tv spots.
Trevor Noah is one of those comedians who seems to be all over the place these days. After having tremendous success in the comedy scene in his native South Africa, Noah relocated to the U.S. and began appearing on a variety of late-night shows, until he eventually landed the spot of Jon Stewart’s successor on The Daily Show. Noah cites legendary comedians like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, and Richard Pryor as major influences, but Noah’s still maintains a unique style of comedy that is all his own.
Damon Wayans Jr.
You would think that growing up in a family full of comedians would normally make someone shy away from that line of work, but it was quite the opposite for Damon Wayans Jr. Wayans, the son of Damon Wayans of the famous Wayans family, had some pretty good role models to look to when breaking into the entertainment industry. After starring in 2009’s musical comedy Dance Flick, Wayans began appearing in several tv shows, including New Girl and Happy Endings, the latter of which Wayans was a leading cast member. Wayans has also appeared in several blockbuster films, including Let’s Be Cops, Big Hero 6, and How To Be Single. Today, Wayan continues to work in the entertainment industry, and also co-founded the Special Guest App, which works as an entertainment booking platform that connects users with local entertainment for hire.
If the name Tiffany Haddish sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen her in one of your favorite movies or tv shows! Haddish has been working in the entertainment industry for a long time, but didn’t begin receiving mainstream recognition until fairly recently. After landing guest spots on tv shows like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, That’s So Raven, and Chelsea Lately, Haddish started landing more prominent roles, and it’s been nothing but success for her since. Last year, Haddish was given her own stand-up special on Showtime, and that same year Haddish became the first black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live
Whether starting off as a warm up comedian or getting their big break after performing at college open mic nights, these comedians have proven that hard work and dedication certainly pays off. Be sure to keep an eye out for these talented performers this year!
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