The team at Just for Laughs has announced its highly anticipated lists (there are four this year!) of New Faces for 2017. The New Faces of Comedy for Stand Up Comics fall into two lists, which you can see below: repped and unrepped. You can also see this year’s picks for New Faces: Characters and the newest addition to the New Faces family: Creators.
Each year, a new class of young up and coming comedic talents are invited up to Montreal where they get the opportunity to see and be seen by important industry executives including agents, networks, developers and more. To get to New Faces they participate in an extensive nationwide search that includes multiple auditions and call backs, and a lot of very high hopes, with most comics auditioning for several years before getting the call North. They are chosen from a gigantic list of outstanding new talent- hundreds are worthy, only 21 were chosen.
Congratulations to this year’s New Faces– a great group once again that includes: Blair Socci, Calvin Evans, Charles Gould, Christi Chiello, Danny Jolles, Dave Thomason, Jake Nordwind, James Austin Johnson, Jared Freid, Jonathan Morvay, JR De Guzman, Martin Urbano, Michael Lenoci, Norm Nixon Jr., Preacher Lawson, Rae Sanni, Ramy Youssef, Sam Jay, Solomon Georgio, Taylor Tomlinson and Yedoye Travis.
The honor can open many doors for the young comics and means a lot of exposure. Some major names got their first real recognition at Just for Laugh’s New Faces shows. Just last year, Jesus Trejo was a JFL New Face and this year, he has already jumped the ladder to be named on of Variety’s Top Ten Comics to Watch- a list that focuses on talent already achieving great success. Many of last year’s New Faces had late night sets this year- Josh Johnson, Dino Archie, and Joel Kim Booster to name a few. In 2015, Vladimir Caamaño went from New Faces to an NBC development deal, John Early moved on to star on a hit TV series, Search Party, and Chris Redd had a scene stealing role in Popstar. Before that, New Faces featured Hasan Minhaj (2014), Pete Davidson (2013), Ali Wong (2011), Jerrod Carmichael (2011), Amy Schumer (2007), Hannibal Buress (2006) Kevin Hart (2001) all the way up to Jimmy Fallon who was a New Face in 1996.
You may remember Christi Chiello who stood out last year among Comedy Central’s Roast Battlers as the young unique voice who stood up to insult pro Jimmy Carr. We also featured Christi in our #UpNext series and we know she has a giant future ahead of her. Jared Freid has been taking New York by storm with his JTrain Podcast. He’s a young comic who has the demeanor of a veteran beyond his years, which is why we featured him in our #UpNext series recently. He’s ready to move forward and New Faces will undoubtedly help. He’ll next be seen in MTV’s Vidiots where he and other comedians brutally dissect music videos. It feels like every time we turn around, we’re hearing great things about Boston comic (now Los Angeles comic) Sam Jay. We saw her on Jimmy Kimmel Live this year, and she’s absolutely one to watch. You’ll see her in MTV’s brand new series SafeWord.
We got to see Calvin Evans in action in 2015 when Chicago’s Second City recognized him in their first annual Break Out Festival recognizing emerging talent. He had a flawless set, and a confidence and swagger like he was born on stage, and we can’t wait to see how much he’s developed in the two years since. Blair Socci came to New York City from Southern California and you might know her from her MTV series Ladylike, but it’s her stage performances that make her a real stand out. Once you see her, you’ll know what we mean. We’ve been following NY Comic Charles Gould since he got our attention as one of New York’s Funniest at Carolines on Broadway, and he’s a definite stand out. Comedy Central recently named him one of their Comics to Watch, and this summer he will be making his network television stand-up debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Taylor Tomlinson is also a series regular on MTV’s SafeWord and was a Top 10 finalist on the most recent season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
We’ve had the pleasure of seeing Rae Sanni and Preacher Lawson perform during callback auditions for New Faces. Rae is a stand-up comedian and writer from Brooklyn, NY recently honored as one of Comedy Central’s “Up Next” comedians in the Colossal Clusterfest. Preacher Lawson is from Orlando, Florida where he won the 2015 title of “Funniest Comedian In Florida”, and then in 2016 he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Both killed on stage. Solomon Georgio has been a featured comedian on Conan and has since appeared on Viceland’s Flophouse, and Comedy Central’s The Meltdown, but really impressed on Ari Shaffir’s This Is Not Happening.
The best part of New Faces is that so many of the performers are new even to us, and we can’t wait to see them take the stage at Monument-National in Montreal. Like Danny Jolles who has a recurring role on the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and recently sold out the Hollywood Improv as a headliner. And Los Angeles comedian and writer Dave Thomason who was recently named one of the “Top Up-and Coming Comics in Los Angeles” and writes for @midnight. Jake Nordwind is a comedian, writer and actor, who created and stars in his own Above Average webseries. James Austin Johnson appeared in the Coen Brother’s feature Hail, Caesar!, Amazon’s Last Tycoon, and is a guest star on Future Man for Hulu. James has performed on the Vice series, Flophouse. Jonathan Morvay is an Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, actor and host, originally from NYC who hosts and produces The Everything Show, a monthly show at the Hollywood Improv. Born in the Philippines and raised in California, JR De Guzman is winner of the 13th Annual StandUp NBC 2017. NYC’s Martin Urbano will make his stand-up comedy debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! this summer. Michael Lenoci tours nationally and co-hosts the podcast Guys Night Out. Norm Nixon Jr. is a comedian, DJ, and music producer based in Los Angeles with a ton of TV credits including series regular on Comedy Central’s Hood Adjacent with James Davis. Ramy Youssef has a reoccurring role in the third season of Mr. Robot and was selected for Comedy Central’s “Up Next 2017” and recently made his late night debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. And Yedoye Travis is a comedian from Atlanta, GA who can be seen on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Coming to the Stage, and in New York hosting Rent Party, a comedy show with a live jazz band at Union Hall.
There are actually more than 21 young eager stand up comedians invited to Montreal to show off their skills. Montreal also invites 11 comedians who are unrepped – no management or agent- to get up on stage and see if they can change that to a repped status. In past years, the Unrepped Showcase has had some problems, most notably, last year’s show which was plagued with a terrible time slot and a half full house even though many were told the show was sold out. But this year, it looks like JFL is ready to correct those issues, with a great time slot, a more fitting venue, and a killer host. You can check out New Faces Unrepped on Thursday July 27 at 9:30pm, hosted by New York’s finest- Keith Robinson at Monument National.
Congratulations to the chosen few: Andrew Dismukes, George Civeris, Jackson McQueen, Jeremy McLellan, Jiayong Li, Jordan Doll, Marie Faustin, Mia Jackson, Steven Castillo, Turner Barrowman and Vanessa Gonzalez.
Andrew Dismukes hails from Austin, Texas, although he’s now living in Los Angeles. He placed second in the 2016 “Funniest Person In Austin” contest. Also hailing from Austin is Vanessa Gonzalez, who placed in the top 3 in Austin’s Funniest Person contest in 2016 and 2017. George Civeris started his comedy career in Boston and last year, won MoveOn.org‘s nationwide “Laughter Trumps Hate” contest. He co-produces a long-running weekly alternative comedy showcase in Boston called The Mendoza Line. Also from Beantown, Jiayong Li left Beijing to study math at MIT, but found he had a career in stand up ahead of him instead. Jackson McQueen began his career telling jokes to the chickens in his family’s barn. You’ve seen him in a ton of commercials, and now he frequents Los Angeles staples including The Comedy Store, Hollywood Improv and Laugh Factory. Jeremy McLellan won the 2015 and 2016 Charleston Stand-up Comedy Competition and was named “Best Local Comic” in the Charleston city paper in South Carolina. If Jordan Doll looks familiar it might be because you saw him on Viceland’s Flophouse, or his Comedy Central Snapchat show: Nostalgia-Rama. Marie Faustin can be seen on MTV’s Vidiots and Oxygen’s Very Real Talk and is the radio host of “Tall Tales in the Big City” in NYC. Mia Jackson is an Atlanta based bonafide Georgia peach. She has appeared on Nick’s Mom Night Out, Season 9 of Last Comic Standing and the movie Mother’s Day. And from the Midwest, Steven Castillo is being called one of the most original performers in Chicago, combining the absurd with fresh material, music and sound clues, and even sometimes speaking in a foreign language. And also from the Midwest, Turner Barrowman is a Minneapolis, MN comedian whose DIY approach to performing and producing, has quickly made him one of the most versatile comedic performers in the city.
Congratulations to everyone and we’ll see you up in Montreal!