Each year, the editors at Variety poll comedy industry insiders, such as bookers, club owners, and managers, to find out who they feel are some of the best up-and-coming comics on the scene. The pool of comics is huge, and doesn’t just include stand-ups; improv/sketch artists, actors, writers and online content creators are also in the running for the honor. The lucky comics that are chosen will be celebrated at JFL with a cocktail party, panel and showcase, and will also be profiled in the July 19th issue of Variety.
The 10 Comics to Watch list has featured some of comedy’s biggest names since its inaugural year in 2000; Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, TJ Miller, Nikki Glaser, Maria Bamford, Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rebel Wilson have all graced the list, just to name a few. While this may be a list of people to watch for those outside the industry, anyone inside the comedy biz has been clocking these comics for quite some time.
But enough of the history lesson! Without further ado, here are this year’s 10 Comics to Watch (descriptions are Variety’s):
Roy Wood Jr., a regular on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” who has appeared on “Conan,” “Def Comedy Jam” and was a finalist on “Last Comic Standing” and regularly DE-STROYS at New York Clubs. His albums include “Things I Think, I Think” and “My Momma Made Me Wear This.” Roy Wood Jr. is a done deal. He’s brilliant. Go see him if you can.
Aparna Nancherla, who has opened for John Oliver and Tig Notaro. A former staff writer for “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” she has been seen on “Inside Amy Schumer” and Apatow’s “Love.” She hosts the podcast “Blue Woman Group” with Jacqueline Novak. Aparna is beloved by every comic we can think of. Just in the last two weeks, we saw her at Sarah Silverman’s “and friends” show at Bam, taping an episode of Michael Ian Black’s new Seeso series, and on an episode of Inside Amy Schumer.
Cameron Esposito, is an it girl, if ever there has been one. Seen on such shows as “Maron” and “@midnight,” she will be seen in the upcoming films “Operator,” “First Girl I Loved,” and “Sleight.” She is currently working on a scripted show for FX and her first book, to be published by Grand Central Publishing. She’s also got a scripted series for Seeso, a great album, and the love and admiration of all her peers.
James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik, co-creators and stars of “Trump Vs. Bernie,” currently in the midst of a 40-city tour and an upcoming album. Adomian has been seen on “Comedy Bang Bang” and “Children’s Hospital,” while Atamanuik has appeared on “30 Rock” and “Broad City.” James and Anthony are taking the country by storm with their better-than-prime time impersonations of Trump and Bernie Sanders. They’re also hilarious outside of these characters.
Jermaine Fowler, soon to be seen in HBO’s “Crashing” from Judd Apatow and Pete Holmes, and the star and producer of CBS’ “Superior Donuts,” which is currently being re-piloted for mid-season consideration. He’s appeared on “Guy Code” and “Friends of the People,” which he also produced. Fowler is a comedy powerhouse.
Vlad Caamano, who recently wrote and stars in a pilot for Bill Lawrence. He has been seen recently on “Adam DeVine’s House Party” on Comedy Central and on “Gotham Comedy Live.” Vlad is a name you will hear constantly in 2017.
Ronny Chieng, currently appearing on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” his most current stand-up specials are “Chieng Reaction” and “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About.” He has opened for Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr and sold out comedy tours at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Sydney Opera House.
Lauren Lapkus, who appeared in standout roles in “Jurassic World” and “Orange Is the New Black” and will be seen in HBO’s “Crashing.” She hosts the popular Earwolf podcast “With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus” and frequently appears on the “Comedy Bang! Bang!” podcast with Scott Aukerman.
Lilly Singh, the subject of the documentary “A Trip to Unicorn Island” and soon to be seen in “Bad Moms.” With over 1 billion views on her YouTube channel, she was named one of Time Magazine’s “30 Most Influential People on the Internet.”
Granger Smith, a country music chart-topper whose comedic alter-ego, Earl Dibbles Jr., has generated over 32 million views on YouTube. Earl Dibbles is one of many characters in Smith’s growing comedy repertoire.
In addition to the honors bestowed upon these ten comics, Variety will also profile legendary comedian and current Baskets star Louie Anderson in their July 19th issue, so be sure to keep an eye on Variety for this profile series.