Today, Just For Laughs revealed the 2019 lineup of Just For Laughs New Faces, a series conceived to launch the careers of tomorrow’s top comedic talent. The pinnacle series, fueled by fresh-faced comics set to break the future of comedy’s glass ceiling, has been a Just For Laughs Festival highlight since 1996. With four distinct showcases – New Faces of Comedy, New Faces: Characters, New Faces: Unrepped, and New Faces: Creators, this series promises to introduce the world to the next group of comedic brilliance.
Just For Laughs New Faces is responsible for propelling the careers of many world-renowned artists, including: Jimmy Fallon (1996), Gabriel Iglesias (1999), Kevin Hart (2001), Hannibal Buress (2006), Amy Schumer (2007), Chris D’Elia (2009), Jerrod Carmichael (2011), Ali Wong (2011), The Lucas Brothers (2012), Pete Davidson (2013) and Michelle Wolf (2014).
Congratulations to this year’s New Faces, a group that includes Anna Drezen, Brad Silnutzer, Brendan Scannell, Chanel Ali, Dan Licata, Dewayne Perkins, Hannah Einbinder, Isabel Hagen, Joe Praino, Jay Jurden, Kevin Iso, Logan Guntzelman, Matty Ryan, Opey Olagbaju, Punkie Johnson, Reggie Conquest, Shapel Lacey, Shane Gillis, Tacarra Williams, Tien Tran, and Tyree Elaine. Those who read our site regularly are already plenty familiar with Shane Gillis how has been taking New York City by storm, Kevin Iso who is the star and co-creator of Flatbush Misdemeanors with Dan Perlman, and Reggie Conquest, who we’ve spotlighted as part of the Philly Six Foot Nothing crew in the past. Tien Tran, by the way blew us out of the water in 2016 when we saw her at NBC’s Breakout Festival in Chicago.
Just for Laughs also recognizes a crop of young comics who don’t yet have representation every year with New Faces: Unrepped and this year’s list is terrific. Andrew Murphy, Andrew Stanley, Craig Conant, Drew Dunn, Janae Burris, Jordan Jensen, Lael O’Shaughnessy, Napoleon Emill, Sean Grant, Tina Friml, and Sam Tallent.
And new to the new faces family this year, is the category of New Faces Canada! Prior to this year, the only New Faces show that covered Canada was the JFL42 New Faces in Toronto. The underhyped small show introduced us to some killer stand up acts, but was mostly attended by other New Faces, perhaps because it stands in the shadow of the high-visibility SiriusXM Top Comic talent search. So its very exciting to see that New Faces Canada will take its place alongside the other New Faces show at JFL Montreal. On the list: Bee Bertrand, Brett Forte, Cassie Cao, Charles Haycock, Hisham Kelati, Leonard Chan, Rebecca Reeds, Rob Bebenek, Tranna Wintour, and Yumi Nagashima.
Outside of the stand up performers, Just for Laughs recognizes two additional groups- characters (covering improv and sketch performers), and creators (covering those creating digital content).
In the Creators series, JFL is recognizing Benito Skinner, Brad Gage, Carmen Angelica, Felipe Di Poi, Jennah Brittany, Tiny Chef, and Tutweezy in 2019, and the Characters performers being recognized include Allison Dunbar, George Aivaliotis, Haley Hepworth, Michael Churven, Michael Van Schoick, Rachel Pegram, Shukri R. Abdi, Taylor Ortega, Thomas Whittington, and Tristan Griffin.
Read more about all of the new faces below!
Anna Drezen is a writing supervisor for NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and the co-author of the books How To Win At Feminism and How Many We Hate You. The latter, which was based on Anna’s experiences working as a concierge at a hotel in Times Square, was optioned by ABC and turned into a pilot, starring Kat Dennings and directed by Will Gluck. She recently wrote for Simon Rich’s TBS series Miracle Workers starring Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi, contributed to Kate McKinnon’s Audible fantasy-comedy series Heads Will Roll and consulted on Jena Friedman’s Adult Swim special Soft Focus. Anna was the editor-at-large of REDUCTRESS and wrote for Comedy Central’s Reductress pilot starring Abby Elliott.
Brad Silnutzer is a stand up, writer, producer, actor, and host based in Los Angeles. He created, writes, produces, and stars in The Fast and the Furious: A Musical Parody at The Dynasty Typewriter Theatre in LA. Brad was a Producer for ABC’s The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise and is currently the lead producer for Circadian Pictures. Brad made his Netflix debut as a celebrity judge on the food competition show, Cooking on High. Brad was previously named as one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch and as one of Riot Fest’s comics to watch.
Brendan Scannell is an actor and comedian living in LA. He stars in Netflix’s Bonding and previously in Heathers on Paramount Network. He can be seen in the Comedy Central digital series Stand Up Featuring, and in 2018 Vulture named him a “Comedian You Should and Will Know.” Brendan hosts two popular shows in LA, “The Cure” (alongside Joel Kim Booster) and the workshop “See What Sticks.”
Chanel Ali is a standup comedian, writer, and actress living in New York City. She is the host of the Food Network digital series Food Debate! and a cast member on MTV’s Girl Code. Her observational comedy covers her upbringing, her unique worldview, and the realities of being a polite person in the entertainment industry. In 2018, Chanel was featured on the Friars Club Roast of Gloria Allred and has written for the @NetflixisaJoke social media accounts.
Dan Licata is a NYC-based comedian. He is one of the writers & co-producers of Joe Pera Talks With You on Adult Swim, and previously co-wrote Joe Pera Helps You Find the Perfect Christmas Tree. He’s performed stand-up on The Chris Gethard Show, and has made several videos for JASH.
Dewayne Perkins is a queer Chicago born and raised writer and comedian. Currently a writer on NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, his previous credits include Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf and MTV’s Wild N’ Out. He’s also written for the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner, in which a joke he wrote was listed as one of The New Yorker’s “Best Jokes of 2018.” Dewayne was named one of Comedy Central’s “Up Next” comedians and a finalist for Stand-Up NBC. Dewayne is a member of the award-winning improv team 3Peat, whose Comedy Central digital short, THE BLACKENING, written by Dewayne, went viral with more than 15 million views.
Hannah Einbinder participated in 2019’s San Francisco Sketchfest, has been published in Flaunt Magazine, and was named in The Comedy Bureau’s “100 Best Things We Were Witness To In No Particular Order of 2018.” Einbinder performs regularly at clubs and theaters around the country.
Isabel Hagen began pursuing stand-up comedy upon graduating from The Juilliard School, where she studied the viola. She recently won first place in the 2019 One Liner Madness competition at the Bell House in Brooklyn and is recognized as one of NYC’s top roast battlers, winning many times at RoastMasters, Roast Battle, and Comedy Fight Club. As a violist, she has performed with artists such as Björk, Max Richter, and The National, and has appeared with musical guests on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She recently combined viola and comedy in her sold-out, one-woman show Viola and Jokes at Under St. Marks Theater.
Jay Jurden is a rising New York City based comedian originally from Mississippi. He has been featured as a finalist for Stand-Up NBC and a panelist for MTV News. Most recently he appeared in the 2019 Laughing Skull Comedy Festival and was picked as one of Time Out New York’s 2019 “Comedians To Watch”. This fall he continues his college comedy tour across the country.
Joe Praino is a comedian, actor and podcast host of two successful podcasts: The Joe Praino Podcast and Dirty Sports (with Andy Ruther), which showcases his immense depth of sports knowledge. He has interviewed the likes of writer/director David Zucker, NFL star Shawn Merriman, celebrity personal trainer Duffy Gaver and NBA star Brian Scalabrine, and he performs at several clubs across the country including Gotham Comedy Club, The Stand, The Laugh Factory, Comedy Bar, The Improv, Flappers and the Westside Comedy Theater.
Kevin Iso began performing stand up all across Texas before moving to New York where he has been honing his skills. Kevin has performed at the Montreux Comedy Festival in Switzerland, the Funny or Die Oddball Festival, and Bridgetown Comedy Festival. After being named one of Comedy Central’s Comics To Watch in 2015, Kevin’s stand up was featured on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party. On top of performing stand up, Kevin is the co-creator of the hit web series, Flatbush Misdemeanors.
Logan Guntzelman is a Los Angeles-based comedian. She performs in clubs and rooms all over the country, and has been selected to perform in the New York Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Festival, 10,000 Laughs Minneapolis, Echo Park Rising, CROMFest Denver, and the Chicago Comedy Expo. She’s also currently undefeated in the World-Famous Comedy Store’s Roast Battle and was a finalist in the Westside Comedy Theater’s Comedy Showdown.
Matty Ryan has been performing stand-up around the country for years. In 2016 he made his feature film debut with a role in Who Gets the Dog (nominated for Best Actor in the 2016 Midwest Independent Film Festival). Also in 2016, he recorded a standup set for MTV’s Acting Out. In 2017 he had a guest star role on NBC’s Chicago Justice, and was invited to perform at NBC Universal/Second City’s “Breakout Fest.” In 2019 he taped a set for Comedy Central’s Stand Up Featuring, which is currently streaming on their digital platforms.
Opey Olagbaju is a Nigerian-American standup comedian and writer that is currently writing on the Kenya Barris produced Unrelated for Freeform. Previously, he worked on I Love You America with Sarah Silverman (Hulu) as well as The New Negroes (Comedy Central). As a standup, the D.C.-area native performs across the city and has successfully showcased in several festivals, such as District of Comedy (DC), Bridgetown Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest, and the World Series of Comedy.
Punkie Johnson is a Los Angeles-based comedian from New Orleans, Louisiana. Starting her career as an emcee, Punkie is now a paid regular and favorite at The World-Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood where she is known as one of the most fearless, ruthless, and rawest, forces on the scene. Recent credits include Comedy Central’s Corporate, Tru TV’s Adam Ruins Everything, Amazon’s Please Understand Me and more. She will appear opposite Jimmy O. Yang and Bill Burr in the upcoming film The Opening Act, and HBO’s The Black Lady Sketch Show.
Reggie Conquest is from Philadelphia where he started his comedy career at the legendary Laff House. Since moving to New York City, Reggie has performed on FuseTV’s Stand Up and Deliver and written for TruTV’s Impractical Jokers. His stand-up has been featured at Brooklyn Comedy Festival, Skankfest, Hoboken Comedy Festival and Philadelphia Comedy Festival.
Shane Gillis is a stand-up comic based out of New York City. He was named an “Up-Next” Comic at Comedy Central’s 2019 Clusterfest in San Francisco. In 2016 he was the winner of Philly’s Funniest at Helium Comedy Club. Shane is a regular on SiriusXM and Comedy Central Radio’s The Bonfire. He’s also one half of A Fair One on Compound Media as well as Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast. Shane has written for Comedy Central’s Delco Proper and starred in and wrote for the Dweck Show, Tires Etc, and New Muscle.
Shapel Lacey is an American comedian born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. Shapel was cheerleading competitively for University of Louisville when someone dared him to take the stage as a comedian and he never looked back, dropping out shortly thereafter to pursue a career in stand up fulltime. Diligence and the desire to grow led him from the Phoenix open mic circuit onto main stages where he regularly performed for comedians such as Bill Burr, Chris D’Elia, Hannibal Buress, Bryan Callen, Frank Caliendo, and now regularly in Los Angeles, California.
Tacarra Williams hails from the Bronx, NY. She has hit major stand-up stages in New York and Hollywood including Caroline’s on Broadway, Broadway Comedy Club, The Apollo Theatre, Hollywood Improv, The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory. She also has her on 30min special on Comedy Central.
Tien Tran is a former member of The Second City’s 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall From Space, and recently performed in the 2019 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. A graduate of Boston College and a 2016 Second City Bob Curry Fellow, Tien was previously in The Second City’s 41st etc revue, Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno. Her stand up was featured at the Second City NBC Universal Break Out Comedy Festival and SCOUT Festival, and she currently performs all around Los Angeles. Tien is one of the co-hosts of the Crooked Media podcast Hysteria.
Tyree Elaine is a comedienne, writer and actress from Los Angeles. She recently wrapped the writers room on ABC’s The Conners. A semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Tyree has also been seen on Black Jesus (Adult Swim), Laff Tracks (TruTV), 50 Central (BET), Showtime at the Apollo (FOX), Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes? (TV One), The Xperiment (BET) and Laff Mobb’s We Got Next (Aspire). Tyree recently created and starred in a digital anthology video series called Women Over 30 Be Like, which was written about by The New York Times.
The New Faces of Comedy showcases will take place at Salle Ludger-Duvernay at the Monument National on July 24, 2019 at 7:00 and 9:30 pm.
NEW FACES: UNREPPED
Andrew Murphy is from Austin, Texas and is currently the city’s reigning Funniest Person in Austin winner. He’s performed standup all over the country and has opened for Theo Vonn, Brian Posehn, Bruce Bruce, the Lucas Brothers, and Dan Soder among others.
Andrew Stanley is an Atlanta-based stand-up comedian. His observational style and dry sense of humor have pleased audiences across the United States and internationally. Andrew was named the grand prize winner of The 2017 Search for the South’s Funniest Accountant. He was also selected to participate in the 2018 and 2019 Laughing Skull Comedy Festivals.
Craig Conant was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Conant stands out on every show he’s on and is quickly making a name for himself in LA’s cutthroat comedy scene, sharing the stage alongside some of today’s biggest names including Dave Chappelle, Chris D’Elia, and more. Craig Conant was on MTV and voiced Skeet William Cole in the animated series Court Ordered.
Drew Dunn started performing comedy at the age of 21 and hasn’t looked back since. This NH-based comic quickly established himself as one of the nation’s fastest rising comedians with his quick wit and unique point of view. Drew has won the Boston Comedy Festival in 2017 followed by winning the Seattle International Comedy Competition in 2018.
Janae Burris is a comedian, writer, actor and former co-host of the Denver Post’s Cannabist Show in Denver, Colorado. Her years growing up in one of L.A.’s most notorious neighborhoods, combined with her training in avant-garde theater make Janae’s comedy style something similar to a one woman show, a perfect fit for Shit Talk Tours, which she hostsregularly atthe Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.
Jordan Jensen worked as a farmer, a butcher, and a carpenter in her home town of Ithaca, NY before moving to Nashville to pursue stand-up comedy. She has since been featured at the Nashville, Asheville, Orlando, & Memphis comedy festivals, heard on SiriusXM, and worked with Kyle Kinane, Nate Bargatze, and Jen Kirkman.
Lael O’Shaughnessy is a Chicago based stand-up comedian and writer. Lael’s candid brand of humor and energetic stage presence has made her a regular at the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Bar, and Comedy on State. Along with performing regularly around Chicago, she also produces a popular weekly independent comedy showcase called High Dive Comedy, at the High Dive bar in Ukrainian Village.
Napoleon Emill is a Brooklyn-based comic with North Carolina roots. In 2018, Napoleon secured a spot amongst the professional comedy scene as winner of Caroline’s on Broadway’s March Madnesscompetition, a series regarded as NYC’s most influential new talent comedy competition. Napoleon has appeared in the award-winning short comedy series Flatbush Misdemeanors and is a regular guest on underground comedy podcasts. As of 2019, Napoleon co-hosts his regular stand-up series No Phone Thursdays along with SNL’s Nimesh Patel.
Sean Grant is originally from Miami, FL and has performed all over the US and in the UK. He was named “Funniest College Kid in America” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and has had guest acting roles on Maron on IFC, Meet the Browns, and WTF Baron Davis on Fuse TV. He has had a joke featured on TruTV’s Laff Tracks Season One and also on Season Two set to premier later this year. Sean was the Head Writer on Dead House, a featured show on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network.
Sam Tallent is known for whip-quick wit and rollicking improvisations, and is one of the sharpest, most original rising talents in comedy today. Sam has worked alongside many of the biggest names in comedy, including Russel Peters, Ron White, Dave Chappelle, and more. He recently won his battle on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, and was seen on VICELAND’s Flophouse as well as The Chris Gethard Show. His debut novel, “Running the Light”, will be available this fall.
Tina Friml has appeared in the 2018 NBC Comedy Spotlight Series at Boston’s Women in Comedy Festival. In her home state, she was crowned the 2018 winner of ‘Vermont’s Funniest Comedian’ at the Vermont Comedy Club and has since begun infiltrating stages in Boston, New York, and London. Using animated optimism on her own physical disability, yet fearless honesty about the social assumptions that come with it, Tina befriends audiences of all sorts with her eccentric style, off-beat mind, and unexpected philosophy acquired through her unique circumstances.
New Faces: Unrepped will take place at Salle Ludger-Duvernay at the Monument National on July 25, 2019 at 9:30 pm.
NEW FACES: CANADA
Bee Bertrand is one half of Gender Outlaws, a brand new QAPD show at Comedy Bar under the P R I D E umbrella, co-hosted/co-produced with Alice Rose featuring trans*/ non- binary/ and gender non- conforming comedians. Bee got their start on QAPD, and has previously performed at Shade, Crimson Wave, Church Street Comedy, and with Cara Connors @ I’ll Be Seeing You.
Brett Forte’s frustration leads to comedy. If something rubs him the wrong way, you’re sure to get a laugh out of it. After winning ‘Yuk Yuks Top New Comic’ of 2016 and ‘Edmonton’s Funniest Person’ in 2017, Brett was asked to work for Bobby Lee, Josh Wolf and Chris D’Elia. Forte is also fresh off representing Canada at The World-Famous Comedy Store in LA.
Cassie Cao is a stand-up comedian and actor based in Toronto. She is the winner of a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Taped Live Performance, and the recipient of the Second City NBC Diversity Fellowship. She regularly tours comedy clubs and theatre venues across the country. Cassie was formerly an economist and has years of experience telling jokes about the interest rate to prominent Canadian policy makers.
Charles Haycock is a unique comedian in many ways. Charles has appeared on TV tapings for the 2018 Winnipeg Comedy Festival and the 2017 Halifax Comedy Festival. He was featured at the 2017 Sudbury Comedy Festival, the 2016 Kamloops Komedy Festival, Nextfest 2015 and the 2015 Global Visions Film Festival. He’s opened for international touring stars like Alonzo Bodden and Bryan Callen.
Hisham Kelati is a comedy writer and stand-up comic from Toronto, known for his vivid and engaging storytelling. Hisham has written and starred in sketches for Herb and CBC Comedy, was featured on CBC LOL, and has opened for K. Trevor Wilson, Azhar Usman, and Chris Redd.
Leonard Chan was born and raised in Toronto and performs stand-up all across Canada. He has been heard on CBC’s The Debaters, Laugh Out Loud, and SiriusXM radio, and has been published on CBC Comedy and the Beaverton. He won the Absolute Comedy Prove You’re a Comic competition, as well as the Toronto Comedy Brawl, and was a finalist at the CBC Originals Stand Up and Pitch contest at the 2018 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. He was recently named by CBC as one of the fifteen Canadian comedians to watch in 2019
Rebecca Reeds is a stand-up comedian and writer from small town Ontario. She has opened for several distinguished comedians and has appeared on SiriusXM, Fox, and CBC Comedy where her clip was viewed more than 2 million times. In October 2018, her The Villain Was Right podcast premiered on the From Superheroes Podcast Network, along with co-host comedian Craig Fay. The VWR podcast won Outstanding Debut for a Series at the Canadian Podcast Awards.
Rob Bebenek is a stand-up comic who was a finalist in SiriusXM Canada’s Next Top Comic competition in 2013. He’s appeared on MTV, SiriusXM radio and CBC’s Laugh Out Loud. He’s performed at the Halifax Comedy Festival, Hubcap Comedy Festival, Cottage Country Comedy Festival, the NXNE Festival and the Waterloo Comedy Festival.
Tranna Wintour is a spiritual, pop-culture-obsessed, fashion-hungry, transgender comedian, singer, producer, and writer. On stage, Tranna brings a unique and rare mix of wit, glamour, and depth that always leaves audiences wanting more. She’s been named by Fashion magazine as one of the queens of Canadian comedy, and CBC Comedy placed her at the top of their list of top comedians to watch in 2019. In addition to her work as a performer, Tranna co-hosts and co-produces CBC Podcasts’ Chosen Family with her creative partner/comedy soulmate, Thomas Leblanc. Chosen Family reached the top 10 of iTunes Canada’s top comedy podcasts and was named one of Apple’s Best Podcasts of 2018.
Yumi Nagashima is a Vancouver-based Japanese-Canadian comedian. In less than three years, she has made a large splash on the North American comedy scene, with her sassy stage presence and unique world view. Yumi is a mainstay on the Vancouver comedy scene, but is also a frequenter on CBC’s The Debaters.
New Faces: Canada presented by Netflix will take place in the Salle Ludger-Duvernay at the Monument National on July 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm.
NEW FACES CREATORS
Benito Skinner is a Brooklyn-based comedian who initially gained notoriety for his impressions and characters. In the past year alone, Skinner’s original sketches have garnered over 50 million views. His one man show, “Overcompensating”, depicts his transformation from closeted high school football star to viral comedian with a blend of stand-up, video, music, and live impressions. He debuted his live comedy show as part of the New York Comedy Festival in 2018 to a sold-out crowd, and this year, he took his show on the road with The Overcompensating Tour selling out multiple shows within hours all across the US.
Brad Gage is a Los Angeles-based actor, writer, and host. He has written and created digital shows for ABC, Fullscreen, LiveMe, PROHBTD Media, and YouTube. His acting credits include CW’s Jane The Virgin, NBC’s Timeless, TBS’ The Guest Book, and Crackle’s animated show Supermansion.
Carmen Angelica is a writer, director, and comedian based in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of Film and Television with a BFA, currently creating sketches, series, branded content and several short films. She had a successful long running solo show that she wrote and starred in directed by Rebecca Drysdale called Who Am I And What The Hell Am I Doing? Carmen’s work has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and more.
Felipe Di Poi is an Argentine-born comedian, writer, and animator based in Brooklyn. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design where he received a degree in animation, his works has been selected for the Ottawa Animation Festival, the Animation Block Party, and the Glas Animation Festival, among others, and 4 of his films have received Vimeo Staff Picks.
Jennah Brittany, best known as @MISSJAYDMV, is a writer, actor, producer, and most importantly a creator. Creating content across all media platforms, she has notably high social engagement rates. Her ability to write, star and produce her own material has led to several branded partnerships, including Target, Burger King, and Crown Royal, and campaigns for TBS, Paramount, and Universal.
Tiny Chef is composed of Rachel Larsen, Adam Reid and Ozlem Akturk. Larsen’s experience as an animator includes films like Isle of Dogs, Coraline, or the TV show Robot Chicken. Reid’s experience as a writer and director includes his creation company Bodega Studios and his feature film Hello Lonesome was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award. Akturk’s experience on feature films include Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. The Tiny Chef show stars Tiny Chef, who creates the world’s tiniest dishes for the world’s tiniest cooking show in the world’s tiniest kitchen.
Tutweezy aka Darius Tutwiler is a Memphis, Tennessee native. Tutweezy committed to his calling in 2014 after his vine video “The Blind Date” went viral, amassing over 100 million views worldwide. Today, Tutweezy has attracted over 2.2 million followers across his social media platforms. His Spongebob In the Hood parodies have gained over 15M views and counting. Tutweezy is dedicated to keeping his fans entertained by consistently delivering new and engaging content.
New Faces: Creators will take place in the Grand Salon Opera at the DoubleTree by Hilton Montreal on July 25, 2019 at 12:30 pm.
Allison Dunbar is a writer and performer for the Groundlings Main Company. She recently wrapped a lead role in the comedy feature Film Fest opposite Matt Cook, Will Sasso and Diona Reasonover. She also plays Helga in the Vince Vaughan produced feature The Opening Act opposite Ken Jeong, Jimmy O. Yang and Bill Burr. Her recent TV acting credits include a major recurring arc on the Sony/Crackle drama StartUp, FOX’s Single Parents, CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and was a lead in the HULU series Quickdraw.
George Aivaliotis is a character comedian and one-man production circus based out of Los Angeles. Inspired by Jim Carrey, he studied improvisation and sketch comedy for over 10 years. Most recently, he created his own “30 Days of Characters” which involved writing, playing, shooting and editing a new character every day for a month. He also produces and directs an ongoing web-series: Characters of Los Angeles, which showcases other LA Based character comedians, and has directed two short comedies that are currently being submitted to festivals.
Haley Hepworth is an LA based writer and performer, originally from Boise, Idaho. She currently performs every Saturday night with UCB’s premier Main Stage sketch review Squadron. Her solo character show Haley Hepworth is Missing was featured as an LA Weekly pick of the week and enjoyed a year-long extended run at UCB. She is the non-feline star of Buzzfeed’s Life with a Cat, which has been viewed over 17 million times online, and is an alum of Characters Welcome, Maude Night, and Harold Night teams at UCB.
Michael Churven is an actor, writer and improviser based in Los Angeles. Originally from Australia, he is currently a main company member of The Groundlings Theater where he performs improv and sketch comedy weekly. He also trained at Second City Los Angeles and iO West, with television credits including ABC’s Modern Family, Adult Swim’s Mike Tyson Mysteries and TruTV’s You Can Do Better. He appeared in the feature film Wild Nights with Emily alongside Molly Shannon. His short film Troughman took the Best Humor Award at Dan Savage’s 2019 Hump Film Festival.
Michael Van Schoick was born in New Jersey, raised in Florida, and is now based in Los Angeles. He completed a season as a Sunday Company member at The Groundlings Theatre, and is currently working on a sketch series created by Sarah Cornell and Sarah Hamblin. He’s most well-known for the Money Supermarket ad campaign #epicstrut, which aired in the UK. Along with having completed his education with The Groundlings School, Michael also earned his BFA in Acting from Florida State University.
Rachel Pegram is a Brooklyn based comedian, actor, and writer. Rachel attended NYU Tisch, where she was also a member of the premiere sketch group Hammerkatz. Rachel can be seen in the Adam Sandler Netflix movie The Week Of alongside Chris Rock and Rachel Dratch. She has been on The Chris Gethard Show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Late Show, Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, Amazon, BET and more.
Shukri R. Abdi is an LA-based performer, writer, and TV producer originally from Potomac, Maryland. Shukri was recently a cast member and writer in the 2019 CBS Diversity Showcase. She was also Supervising Producer and Head Writer of BET’s comedic game show, Black Card Revoked. Shukri performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade with Donatella on Maude Night, and has performed with musical improv teams Baby Wants Candy and The Pick Up
Taylor Ortega is a writer, comedian and actress based in New York City. She starred in the Disney Channel Original movie Kim Possible, can next be seen in the A24/Ilana Glazer thriller False Positive and After Yang, and HBO’s Succession. She wrote and starred in an episode of Blank Meets Blank on TruTV’s late night block Late Night Snack and wrote for the TRL reboot on MTV. Taylor has also been a host and correspondent for MTV News, E!, Billboard, Cosmopolitan and the gaming app Candy Crush.
Thomas Whittington is comedian, actor and writer based in NYC. He has been featured in sketches on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Showtime’s Desus & Mero, where he appeared opposite Lin Manuel Miranda. Thomas also voices many characters on the Showtime series Our Cartoon President and in the Audible series Heads Will Roll alongside Kate McKinnon and Meryl Streep.
Tristan Griffin is a NYC-based comedic actor, writer and impressionist who is originally from Rome, Georgia. Tristan can be seen regularly at UCBTNY on the Maude team, The Foundation. In 2019, he was chosen as a guest star for The Spotlight show, which highlights one performer. Tristan can also be seen on The Intern, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Gypsy, The Good Cop and the upcoming Netflix series, Living With Yourself and Comedy Central’s Night Pigeon.
New Faces: Characters will take place at Salle Ludger-Duvernay at the Monument National on July 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm.