Variety Picked a Killer 10 Comics to Watch List This Year

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One of the biggest nights of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal which is coming up next month, is the “10 Comics To Watch” panel and showcase. As the JFL Festival quickly approaches, Variety has announced the comedians that have claimed a spot on the coveted top ten list this year. The group, which shows a huge amount of diversity, will not only be honored with their own show at JFL on July 28th, but also with a cocktail reception the night before and special recognition in the July 19th issue of Variety.

The “Ones to Watch” list which is now its 17th year from Variety, combines the people in comedy that are being looked at by industry types as well as comedy fans for careers that are ready to explode and make a lasting mark in comedy. The 10 comics were “chosen by a group of Variety editors, reporters, and critics after extensive discussions with the comedy community, including those that scout, book, represent, produce, and cast comics on a daily basis.”

Variety’s Vice-President and Executive Editor Steven Gaydos said, “Since Variety started entertainment industry’s original ’10 to Watch’ ‎series almost 20 years ago, we’ve become the most important showcase for new names in writing, directing, acting, comedy, and more. This year’s ‘Comics to Watch’ is a great example of why: cutting-edge talents, exciting diversity, and original and creative voices we feel certain to shake up, invigorate, and power new films, TV shows, and more.”

According to JFL Director of Industry and Special Events Programming Paul Ronca, “Many of the comics that have made it to this list have gone on to star on stage and in film, TV, and online. Just For Laughs is proud to partner with Variety on this initiative and excited to be providing a platform for new and emerging talent.” He’s certainly correct considering that previous “Comics to Watch” have included, Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, Amy Schumer, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rebel Wilson.

Here are the 2017 “10 Comics To Watch” who are ready to take the world by storm from Variety and Just For Laughs Montreal.


Jesus Trejo – He’s known for Comedy Central’s new hit series, “Roast Battle.” And Jesus Trejo is no stranger to JFL. Last year he blew us away as one of the funniest “New Faces” performers at Just for Laughs in Montreal, and now less than a year later, Variety has named him one of the the top ten comics to keep an eye on.  The two honors are rarely recieved back to back.  We love him and we think he’s going to be a comedy giant.

Liza Treyger – If you’ve seen Liza perform in the last year, you’d know she was the perfect choice for this list.  Liza is a goddamn firestorm on stage.  She’s a favorite on Variety’s “Comics to Watch” and she’s a favorite here at the IBang too. Liza Treyger had a break out performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers and was a cast regular on Louis C.K.’s series “Horace and Pete.” She was part of JFL’s New Faces in 2014, and while we’ve loved her for years, in the past year she’s upped her game considerably.  She is going to be one of the greats- not only a huge star but a comedy icon. Listen to her on our podcast, Gail Meets Girls, and you’ll see what we mean. Hailing from Chicago, Liza is now one of New York’s best.

John Early – This amazing comedy character actor and unique stand up is already having a break out year. Early is a scene-stealer in TBS’ “Search Party”  (we loved this!)as well as in his episode of “Characters” on Netflix (must see!) as well as the streaming service’s “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” His solo show “Literally Me” is also an award winner. You saw him on the Tonight Show with frequent collaborator Kate Berlant (who by the way belongs on this list; next year, Variety). We’re giant fans.  See him anywhere you can.

Tiffany Haddish – She’s a regular on NBC’s “The Carmichael Show” and has been cast in Tracy Morgan’s new TBS sitcom. In the movies, Haddish co-starred in Key & Peele’s “Keanu” and has a role in the upcoming “Girls Trip” with Queen Latifah. If this year wasn’t big enough for her, she has a Showtime special “Tiffany Haddish: She Ready!” premiering later this year. Tiffany also ker-ushed it on this year’s Comedy Central Comedy Jam series.  She belongs on this list. She’s a superstar and you’ll see her everywhere in film and on television for years to come.

Rhea Butcher – Besides being seen performing on Conan, Butcher and her real life wife and fellow comedian Cameron Esposito, star in Seeso’s “Take My Wife“. Rhea Butcher also put out her first special earlier in 2017, titled “Butcher“. Butcher is following fast in the footsteps of her wife  who won Variety honors in 2016.

Desus Nice and Kid Mero – The next entry is a duo, which really isn’t cheating since it’s one act. The comedy team known for their Complex Magazine videos and their podcast, “The Bodega Boys” are also the current darlings of Viceland, as stars of “Desus & Mero.”  We loved them when we saw them on MTV2’s Joking Off, and the industry is just obsessed with them. Look to see them have more and more of their own projects coming out.

Brian Jordan Alvarez – He’s not only the star of “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo,” he writes, directs and produces the award winning web series. Alvarez has also appeared on network television on the CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”

Vir Das – The next on Variety’s Comics to Watch list comes from Bollywood. He is the star of India’s “Badmaash Company,” and he put out one of the most unique comedy specials on Netflix, “Abroad Understanding,” shot in two locations, a full stadium in his native India and an intimate club in NYC.

Hasan Minhaj – He’s quickly becoming the number one favorite correspondent on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central. And Hasan Minhaj was a smash-hit hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year. He also put out his Netflix special “Homecoming King” earlier this year.

Esther Povitsky – She is everywhere. Povitsky co-starred in the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” She is on two Netflix series, “Love” and “Lady Dynamite” with Maria Bamford. Plus, she’s known in the podcast world with “Weird Adults With Little Esther” and she hosts the TruTV series “Cocktales With Esther.”

The Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal runs from July 12th through July 31st.

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