This Saturday, November 11, Carolines on Broadway once again played host to one of the best young comedian showcases in the country. The show is held every year during the afternoon but that doesn’t stop comedy fans from packing out the club. The showroom is always full, with a great audience, and with the exception of a few audience members who got a little too enthusiastic about shouting out during the show, this year followed suit.
Before I mention how great this year was, I should mention that last year’s winner was Tim Dillon, who this year had two shows of his own in the festival. Matt Pavich, who won the competition in 2015 also had a big show in the fest this year, and Ricky Velez, who won in 2014 has seen his career take off. Every year we discover new favorite comedians. It was during New York’s funniest that we first saw Nimesh Patel, Sonia Denis, Evan Williams, Mike Recine, Liza Treyger, Matteo Lane, Emma Willman and Joe List.
Jeffrey Ross hosted the finals of New York’s Funniest and got the Louis C.K. joke out of the way early, and followed up with very funny lines about Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly. He got in some funny lines about Trump and Hillary before reminding the assembled crowd that we need comedy now more than ever. Judging the competition was Caroline’s booker Louis Feranda, Brian Baldinger from Comedy Central, Michael Cox who books stand up talent for the Tonight Show and VP of Casting at Fox, Brittainy Roberts.
This year the judges chose a comedian who we were unfamiliar with- David Angelo– as New York’s Funniest. Angelo got big laughs asking why everyone we know is systematically choosing to send their DNA samples to corporate America for cataloging and questioned whether Truth or Dare can ever be played as an adult.
There wasn’t a single bad performance in the group which included Katie Hannigan, Usama Siddiqqi, Kevin Iso, Tom Takar, Jacob Williams, Francis Ellis, Frank Liotti, J.P. McDade, Jocelyn Chia, Martin Urbano, and Jared Freid in addition to Angelo, but there were a few stand outs. Kevin Iso, who has been to the finals once before, had one of the best sets of the night, explaining that sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you do get what you need, and probably the funniest story of the entire show that concerned teachers who had trouble saying his last name. And anyone who loves comedy should pay attention to the Chinese comedian Jocelyn Chia. She’s still very early on in her career, but already has a strong comedic voice, a completely original point of view, and great material with a very disarming delivery. She talked about the relative merits of being hardworking vs being a great beauty, growing up in Singapore, and being dominated in bed.
Martin Urbano was the only comedian to have a dramatic twist in his set, Katie Hannigan‘s persona was one of the most interesting of the night, and Jared Freid, who already has a huge following with his popular JTrain podcast is undoubtedly ready to break out.
Keep an eye on all 12 comedians. Anyone who made it to the finals of New York’s Funniest is worth paying attention to.