The 50 Comedians You Should Know in 2015
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50 Comedians to Watch

1

Nate Bargatze

1

Nate Bargatze

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @NateBargatze

Nate Bargatze’s immense southern charm could win anyone over. The Tennessee native is a master storyteller, artfully regaling his audiences with self-deprecating stories that build slowly and satisfyingly. He’s one of Jimmy Fallon’s favorites, performing thrice on Fallon’s show and opening for the host on his Clean Cut Comedy Tour back in 2013. The two even worked together on an NBC sitcom pilot based loosely on Bargatze’s life, which ultimately didn’t get picked up. But there’s plenty of material about his personal life to be found on his 2014 album, Yelled at by a Clown, a reference to his father’s career as a clown and a musician, and there’s more to be seen in his new Comedy Central special, Full Time Magic, which debuts on May 1.

Watch: This set from The Tonight Show, where he learns that acquiring a tiger is worryingly easy. “Everybody wants to get rid of guns, and what makes me nervous is that if you took away guns from people, those are the exact same people that will buy tigers."

2

Kevin Barnett

2

Kevin Barnett

Known For: Stand-up, sketch

Twitter: @Fatboybarnett

Kevin Barnett is perfectly poised to be the next big thing, and he knows it. In his act, he muses that if he dies now, his obituary would be filled with platitudes about his promise as a comic. "But if I die 10, 20 years from now, who knows? There’s potential to be like, ‘Walmart employee Kevin Barnett was murdered last night. Fellow employees described him as an incredibly lonely man that complained when he wasn’t allowed to bring cats on the bus.’” The New York stand-up is one of the creators-writers-cast members of TruTV’s new sketch series Friends of the People (alongside Jermaine Fowler), and a regular on the MTV’s sleeper hit Guy Code. He’s clearly got some fans in the stand-up Establishment, with cameos in both Chris Rock’s Top Five and Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me.

Watch: His set from Montreal’s Just for Laughs in 2013, where he lamented his limited Halloween options. “Just for once, I want to be able to go to a costume party dressed as Wolverine. And not Black Wolverine.” 

3

Kate Berlant

3

Kate Berlant

Known For: Stand-up, sketch

Twitter: @KateBerlant

Kate Berlant’s stand-up could be described as hypnotically absurd; her sketch work is often untethered and surreal. Selling rubber bracelets with the motto “embrace terror," she’s found many venues for her theatrical weirdness, producing videos for L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art and touring with Nick Thune and Ben Kronberg on their “Very Tour! Much Comedy!” spin around the country. Her comedic persona seems to live in a slightly different alternative universe; her Twitter feed is filled with gentle gems like “Can't wait to give birth in a parking lot at dawn” and "Capitalist remorse as expressed through the phantom of the tamagotchi." A frequent collaborator of John Early, she was recently cast in the Grawlix's pilot for TruTV.

Watch: This short promo for her old show at Ars Nova, which will make you question your life choices. “You’re not opening up that franchise you keep talking about. What’s that about?” 

4

Guy Branum

4

Guy Branum

Known For: Stand-up, writing

Twitter: @GuyBranum

Subtlety isn’t part of the equation for Guy Branum. Formerly a writer and panelist on Chelsea Lately, Branum is a forceful stand-up with a sharp, unapologetically defiant attitude. As a writer on Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, his segment “No More Mr. Nice Gay” confronted homophobia in pop culture with his trademark no-nonsense style, taking on everything from the NFL to the roast of James Franco. More recently, he’s popped up on Last Comic Standing, written for Billy on the Street, and recorded an album, Effable, which will be released on April 14.      

Watch: His take on the boycott of the film Ender’s Game owing to anti-gay remarks for the author or the source text. “I love all sorts of things that are made by homophobes. For instance, both of my parents are homophobic.” 

5

Nicole Byer

5

Nicole Byer

Known For: Improv, sketch

Twitter: @NicoleByer

Why You Should/Will Know Her: A UCB-honed veteran, Byer has one of the most finely tuned gear shifts in the business today. "Pursuit of Sexiness," her web series with SNL's Sasheer Zamata, cycles between slice-of-life realism and insane plotlines, like the one where Byers's boyfriend leaves presents inside her vagina. In her appearances onstage and in MTV's Girl Code, she's an expert code-switcher, particularly in her wonderful bit, where she explains the different "levels" of blackness casting directors look for.

Watch: Her sketch "Be Blacker," which went viral in 2013, in which she hilariously sends up the expectations placed on black actors.

6

Neil Casey

6

Neil Casey

Known For: Improv

Twitter: @notneilcasey

Why You Should/Will Know Him: When he was in New York, Casey was generally considered the funniest improviser in the city, able to instantly inhabit highly original, specific, and hilarious characters. Also, while in New York, Casey was a bit of a sketch guru, teaching classes and directing shows. This has paid off, with him since writing for SNLInside Amy Schumer, and Kroll Show. With notable podcast appearances on shows like “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” he's no longer New York's best-kept secret.

Watch: Videos of improv aren't as popular online as clips of sketches, but occasionally something great will pop up, including this rare clip of Casey doing 20 minutes with Silicon Valley's Zach Woods. 

7

Adam Conover

7

Adam Conover

Known For: Stand-up, sketch

Twitter: @AdamConover

Adam Conover has found a very entertaining way to take the fun out of just about anything. In his College Humor series “Adam Ruins Everything,” he’s explored the histories of engagement rings, circumcision, and purebred dogs to prove why none of them are as good — or as necessary — as we always thought. The videos caught the eye of TruTV; he’s currently working on a pilot of Adam Ruins Everything for the network. Of course, he’s not always a know-it-all killjoy; a former member of the sketch troupe Olde English, he’s also an excellent stand-up.

Watch: Adam’s insightful look at America’s secular circumcision tradition; or, why "the 19th century prude who invented Corn Flakes is trying to ruin your sex life.” 

8

Colton Dunn

8

Colton Dunn

Known For: Improv, writing

Twitter: @captdope

Colton Dunn is in the sweet spot of the comedy scene. He played one of the bumbling animal-control workers on Parks and Recreation, and he’s appeared in a litany of trendy comedy shows — Comedy Bang! Bang!, Kroll Show, Drunk History, The League, and too many more to count. A UCB-trained improviser, he’s endlessly watchable as a lovable ne’er-do-well or a relatable straight man. His writing career is just as impressive; currently a staffer on Key & Peele, he’s also written for The Arsenio Hall Show, Pretend Time, and MadTV. He’s also starring in the upcoming film Lazer Team, and he’s just been cast in the NBC pilot Superstore.

Watch: This hilarious roundup of scenes from Parks and Recreation, where he plays the perpetually stoned, bird-mauling Parks worker Brett.

9

John Early

9

John Early

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @bejohnce

John Early has the skills of a classic song-and-dance man and the pop-culture-drenched perspective of an alt comedian. A frequent collaborator with Kate Berlant, he shares her love of the intensely absurd and the profoundly meaningless while bringing a Broadway-inspired gloss of glitz and desperation to the endeavor. As Above Average’s celebrity correspondent, he's made out with Scott Adsit and asked Kate McKinnon if she’d rather “experience love or be a series regular on a multi-cam half hour.” Having cameo’d on 30 Rock and Broad City, he’s set to appear in the Netflix revival of the cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer.

Watch: He explores his deep, dark secrets and shares a love of Shania Twain with Cole Escola in this promo for the raucous variety show Showgasm.

10

Alex Edelman

10

Alex Edelman

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter:@Alex_Edelman

This past August, New York comic Alex Edelman won the Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for his show "Millennial," making him the first American to win the award since Arj Barker back in 1997. Edelman has split his time between the U.S. and the U.K. for the past few years, and his stand-up reflects both the joke-heavy power required to succeed in New York clubs as well as the more thematic, narrative-driven shows that thrive at the Fringe. A condensed version of his award-winning show recently aired on BBC Radio 4, and he’s currently performing "Millenial" at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Stateside, he was named one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch at the 2014 New York Comedy Festival.

Watch: This extract from “Millennial,” from a preview show last summer, where he delves into his employment history. “I worked at a KFC for three weeks, which is the longest anyone has ever worked at a KFC. I have a pension.” 

11

Cameron Esposito

11

Cameron Esposito

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @cameronesposito

Why You Should/Will Know Her: If the title of her 2014 album Same Sex Symbol didn't tip you off, Espositio's sexuality is central to her comedy, which includes stand-up, a column for the A.V. Club, and videos for Rookie and BuzzFeed. Esposito mines a lot of gems from the aggressively clueless straight guys she encounters, but the rest of her material skews sweet, including a great story about dating the captain of her high-school football team while being the team's mascot. As she jokes, "He would score a touchdown, I would flap my little bird-arms the appropriate number off points, and he'd kiss me on my little plastic cheek. And our high-school class voted us 'Couple Most Likely to Live Happily Ever After.' Which is what happens when you go to a Catholic school." She is currently getting more and more on-camera work, and writing a book.

Watch: The album's closing bit, about a woman who thought that when Esposito was talking about "Whack-A-Mole," she really meant "guacamole," perfectly encapsulates her humanist sensibilities: "That didn't make my life worse, it drastically improved it! ... At that moment, in her story, she was a hero! And I loved her for it."

12

Bridget Everett

12

Bridget Everett

Known For: Musical comedy

Twitter: @BridgetEverett

No one who sees Bridget Everett live will ever forget the experience. The cabaret comedian is known for her forceful performance style, which often involves getting up close and personal with semi-willing audience members. Her outfits are revealing, her material is explicit, and her shows exude a joyful chaos. But amid all the theatrics, it would be a shame to overlook her sharply provocative quips. (“I’ve been pregnant many times. And even though I never carried one of those babies to term, I still consider myself a wonderful mother.”) She’s popped up a few times on her friend Amy Schumer’s Comedy Central show, and her own hour-long special, “Gynecological Wonder,” is due to debut on the network this year.

Watch: Her win over a tentative Canadian audience with a heartwarming coming-of age tale involving grain alcohol and her body-empowerment anthem "Titties," performed with ex–Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. 

13

Fortune Feimster

13

Fortune Feimster

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @fortunefunny

Why You Should/Will Know Her: If things had turned out differently, you would have known Feimster from her starring role in Tina Fey's Cabot College. Though that show died before we ever got to see it, things are still going alright for the North Carolina–born comic: After writing for Chelsea Lately and hosting the GLAAD Awards, Feimster is now working with Fey and Robert Carlock on a semiautobiographical pilot called Family Fortune for ABC, in which she'll play a small-town lesbian gym teacher.

Watch: Her ten-minute set at This Is Not Happening, in which she tells the story of her disastrous year spent living in Spain.

14

Shelby Fero

14

Shelby Fero

Known For: Twitter

Twitter: @ShelbyFero

Why You Should/Will Know Her: Good news for Shelby Fero: In only a few short years, it will no longer be mandatory for every story about her to mention that she's super young. Fero got her start as a comedy prodigy on Twitter, producing gold like, "High fives are like tiny celebrations of having hands," while she was only a teenager. Fero dropped out of USC to pursue comedy full-time, and the gamble paid off: At only 21, she's already written for @midnight, blogged for Rookie, and played "Dee-nice" in Key & Peele's famous "Substitute Teacher" sketch.

Watch: After starting with a Twitter follow, Google her stand-up. You'll find this set, in which she talks about the benefits of being raised atheist, even if Jesus is, in fact, real.

15

Jo Firestone

15

Jo Firestone

Known For: Sketch, improv, stand-up

Twitter: @kingfirestorm

Jo Firestone once built a comedy club for dolls, and invited stand-ups (and members of the public) to perform for the inanimate audience; no one familiar with her comedy would be surprised. With a background in sketch and improv, Firestone is both an increasingly interesting stand-up and a host extraordinaire, emceeing truly original spectacles like Punderdome 3000 and her new soap opera–variety show, “Public Services.” She popped in for a brief role on last season’s Broad City, and now she’s part of the team bringing Chris Gethard’s anarchic public access show, The Chris Gethard Show, to Fusion. As a stand-up, her style is incredibly interactive, constantly surveying the audience and pulling them into her material at almost every turn.

Watch: This video behind her dollhouse comedy club. “I’ve heard some pretty stupid shit in here, and the dolls appreciate it. Because nobody talks to them.”

16

Jermaine Fowler

16

Jermaine Fowler

Known For: Stand-up, sketch

Twitter: @JermaineFowler

Why You Should/Will Know Him: Fowler's stand-up showcases a natural storytelling energy, mining his Maryland childhood for classic bits like the time his whole family mistakenly thought his little brother was retarded, or how he once converted from Christianity to Greek mythology to troll his religious dad: "My dad's like, 'Jesus can walk on water.' Poseidon owns water!" He is currently developing a pilot for ABC based upon his life, co-starring Whoopi Goldberg. His first special, Give 'Em Hell, Kid, is coming later this year, and if you can't wait until then, Fowler also stars in the TruTV sketch show Friends of the People.

Watch: This early stand-up set, which lays out a lot of groundwork for his later material. As he explains, "I just found out that I grew up poor." 

17

Jon Gabrus

17

Jon Gabrus

Known For: Sketch

Twitter: @jongabrus

Why You Should/Will Know Him: MTV2's Guy Code is the heir to the talking-head throne of Best Week Ever, and Jon Gabrus is its breakout star. Gabrus's good-natured charm, bearish physique, and comfort with nudity have given him plenty of fans — including a sizable continent from the gay community, a fact that he is refreshingly cool with. Gabrus currently hosts the TruTV hairdressing game show, Hair Jacked, where his sheer affability somehow makes a competition show in which losers receive ugly haircuts not seem super-mean. On UCB stages or the “Comedy Bang! Bang!” podcast, Gabrus is particularly adept at playing big, dumb goons, a role that is evergreen in Hollywood.

Watch: "Strong Island," a Comedy Central web series in which Gabrus and fellow UCB alum Justin Tyler play a pair of skeezy Long Island brothers. He gets naked in this one, too!

18

Dan Gill          

18

Dan Gill          

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @TheGilled

As one-third of the stand-up trio Fringe Riders, Dan Gill co-hosts a Wild West–themed variety show called Stampede! in character as his alter-ego, Mustang. It’s an unusual angle for an alternative comedy show, but it fits in perfectly with Gill’s off-kilter brand of comedy. A New Face at the 2013 Just For Laughs festival, his comedy is silly, as in his debaucherous tale of getting drunk at a Chipotle, with a hint of darkness: “You guys ever wonder if your mortician has been born yet?” He’s also gaining traction as an actor, appearing in the recent Kevin Hart film The Wedding Ringer and co-starring in Benjamin Dickinson’s upcoming indie flick Creative Control alongside Reggie Watts.

Watch: This set from the NerdMelt theater, where he described his fairy-tale funeral. “We’re all going to Atlanta, let’s go bury Dan! Why Atlanta, you might ask? Well, it goes hand-in-hand with the Southern Belle theme at my funeral!” 

19

Grawlix

19

Grawlix

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @GrawlixComedy

Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl, and Ben Roy, collectively known as the Grawlix, have played a huge role in putting Denver’s comedy scene on the map. The electric trio has been hosting a live stand-up show in the Mile-High City since 2011, while also producing videos for Funny or Die. Their pilot Those Who Can’t about a group of incompetent high-school teachers, has been picked up by TruTV, and the first season is expected to debut early next year. Individually, each is an accomplished stand-up: Cayton-Holland has appeared on Conan and is about to release a new album, Backyards; Orvedahl performed on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and released the album Hit the Dick Lights; and Roy did stand-up on Adam Devine’s House Party and released the album No Enlightenment in Sobriety.

Watch: The first episode of their Grawlix web series, a mockumentary about the producing of their live show that gives you a good sense of these three aspiring superstars. “What does unfettered mean?” “It’s a Toni Braxton album. Toni Braxton: Unfettered.” 

20

Grace Helbig

20

Grace Helbig

Known For: YouTube

Twitter: @gracehelbig

Why You Should/Will Know Her: The PIT-trained Helbig built a YouTube empire out of her living room, thanks to her enthusiastically awkward videos about drinking, pranking, and pooping. She's parlayed her role as the teen internet's cool older sister into a film, a best-selling book, a popular podcast, and starting next month, her very own talk show on E! As the ads put it, "She's from the Internet. And we gave her a TV show."

Watch: "How to Dye Your Hair" sums up the Helbig aesthetic: It's a neurotically pessimistic take on a typical YouTube makeup tutorial that is also actually a useful makeup tutorial! 

21

Emily Heller

21

Emily Heller

Known For: Stand-up, acting

Twitter: @MrEmilyHeller

Why You Should/Will Know Her: Comics being comics, it takes a special kind of self-deprecation for a stand-up to stand out. Emily Heller has that kind of self-deprecation, shooting spare, economical putdowns right at her own heart. Two examples, because we couldn't pick just one: "I was never bullied, which is strange, because I deserved it," and "I'm not going to be dying alone, there are going to be sooo many cats there." But it's okay, because she's got a sly way of implying that everyone else's choices are no better: "I like to say that I want to be single forever in front of my married friends. There's always one of them who will condescend, like, 'You can't know that you're going to want something forever.' You're right, that would be stupid of me to say that I know I'm going to want something forever, in my 20s. The only thing that might be stupider would be spending $50,000 to say it in front of everyone I know.'" Most recently, Heller joined the cast of TBS's Ground Floor for its second season, where she played a charmingly off nerd.

Watch: Heller's appearance on Conan, where she discusses the intricacies of filming a feline sex tape.

22

Will Hines

22

Will Hines

Known For: Improv

Twitter: @WillHines

Fans of improv comedy will already know Will Hines as something of a superstar. A teacher and regular performer at UCB, his sharp mind and dry wit made him one the most beloved figures in New York improv. In recent years, he’s popped up on Inside Amy Schumer, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Community, as well as too many web videos and commercials to count. He also writes and directs, and he’s become something on a guru on his Improv Nonsense blog. The perfect straight man in any scene, Hines imbues his comedy with a quiet absurdity that can be seen in his excellent Twitter feed: “It's hard to explain fully but it's my clumsiness with intimacy that led me to sit with these lemon ricotta pancakes for an hour.” Moving to L.A. fairly recently, Hines would be perfect on a sitcom as that one weird guy at the office.

Watch: Him shine as “Fat Professor” in the “Gold Rush” episode of College Humor’s Inside Mary-Kate

23

Mary Holland

23

Mary Holland

Known For: Improv, sketch

Twitter: @mholland85

Why You Should/WIll Know Her: As one quarter of the improv troupe Wild Horses, Holland and her teammates (who include Orange Is the New Black's Lauren Lapkus) are adept at skewering the polite social rituals of female interaction. In sketch work, though, she goes full gonzo, bulging her eyes and pitching up her voice to play characters like a demented aerobics instructora young girl being possessed by a very chill demon, or a waitress who speaks in Wisconsin-accented gibberish. She's been consistently getting guest roles on TV, but will look to step it up a notch as a reoccurring cast member of Jonathan Ames's new STARZ show, Blunt Talk.

Watch: Her UCB character Bernadette, whose highly specific brand of weirdness recalls the golden age of Kristen Wiig. 

24

Tommy Johnagin

24

Tommy Johnagin

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @TommyJohnagin

There’s a bite to Tommy Johnagin’s stand-up that sets the autobiographical storyteller apart. On his third album, Stand-Up Comedy 3, he discusses the pressure he feels to marry his girlfriend now that they’ve had a child. “I don’t know. I want to get married, but I don’t love the idea of marrying a chick that has a baby. Talk. About. Baggage. I can’t have that in my life right now, I have a baby to think about.” Walking that fine line between sweet and acerbic, his family stories resonate so well that he’s currently producing a pilot for CBS based loosely on his life. For more of his stand-up, he recorded a Comedy Central Half Hour last year, and he’s performed the The Late Show With David Letterman annually since 2008.

Watch: His seventh (!) appearance on The Late Show, where he recounted his unpleasant meeting with a personal trainer. “He pinched me [...] and he told me exactly how fat I was. That’s bullying. You’re a bully.” 

25

Ian Karmel

25

Ian Karmel

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @IanKarmel

There’s a warmth to Ian Karmel’s stand-up that makes watching him a pure joy. Without sacrificing cleverness or honesty, this comedian is bright and optimistic even when discussing less pleasant topics like his own shortcomings in a relationship, or the inherent sadness of Jack in the Box. A former writer and panelist for Chelsea Lately, he was on the first writers hired to craft the new Late Late Show With James Corden. And with appearances on Conan, Adam Devine’s House Party, and Portlandia under his belt, he’s quickly becoming one of L.A.’s go-to young comics.

Watch: His Conan set from last year, where he discusses the unlikeliness of his relationship. “I have a girlfriend, which is weird, because I look like I’m in the middle of a really bad breakup.” 

26

Katydids

26

Katydids

Known For: Sketch, improv

Twitter:@TheKatyDids

The immediate hook for the Katydids, the Chicago-based sketch and improv troupe, is in the name — all six members have some variation of the name Katherine. But Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien, and Katie Thomas aren’t resting on a cute nomenclature. The sextet’s popular web series “Teachers” has been ordered to series by TV Land. Executive produced by Alison Brie, the show features the Katydids as elementary-school teachers struggling to navigate their own messy lives as they attempt to inspire the next generation.

Watch: The “Fairy Tales” episode of their web series, where Kate Lambert keeps it real with her students. “The truth is, kids, sometimes Prince Charming wants to date other people.” 

27

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider

27

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider

Known For: Sketch writing

Twitter: @imchriskelly / @sarahschneider

Why You Should/Will Know Them: Both Kelly and Schneider got their start in web video — she at College Humor, he at Onion News Network and Funny or Die  — and so it makes sense that, after they each were hired as writers for Saturday Night Live, they quickly inherited the Lonely Island's spot as the go-to team for pretaped sketches. If you've laughed at "(Do It on My) Twin Bed," "Dyke and Fats," or "The Beygency" on a friend's Facebook wall, you've been laughing at Kelly and Schneider's work. People in the know predict they'll be head writers sooner or later. Away from Studio 8H, Kelly is currently working on an autobiographical movie about a "gay Saturday Night Live writer" who returns home to help his mother who is battling cancer, starring Sissy Spacek and Jesse Plemons.

Watch: "Wishin' Boot," from this season's Blake Shelton episode, which shows off the duo's knack for pitch-perfect genre satire.

28

Hari Kondabolu

28

Hari Kondabolu

Known For: Stand-up, writing

Twitter: @harikondabolu

If there seems to be a dearth of insightful young political comedians, fear not: Hari Kondabolu may be single-handedly picking up the slack for his whole generation. The former Totally Biased writer has an eclectic résumé, earning a masters from the London School of Economics and serving as the artist-in-residence at NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute. Unapologetically positioned at the far left of the political spectrum, he channels his rage at racism, sexism, homophobia, and other bigotries with blisteringly funny jokes that shatter the illusion that political correctness is antithetical to humor. He’s also done stand-up up on The Late Show and Conan, and released an album last year called Waiting for 2042.

Watch: His 2014 Letterman appearance where, despite a tentative audience, he delivers an excellent set about his experiences with race, including a woman who mistook his father for a cab driver because “She’s so racist, she looks at the color of the driver before looking at the color of the car.” 

29

Lucas Brothers

29

Lucas Brothers

Known For: Writing, stand-up, sketch

Twitter: @LucasBros

Why You Should/Will Know Them: There's even-keeled, and then there's the Lucas Brothers, two identical twins who wring laughs out of their chilled-out monotones. They stole scenes in 22 Jump Street and appear on the TruTV sketch show Friends of the People, but their most singular achievement is Lucas Bros. Moving Company, an FXX cartoon that pits them as laid-back stoner movers in a version of Brooklyn that's even more charmingly surreal than the one in Broad City.

Watch: Their joint appearance on The Tonight Show, which helpfully explains the one time you hope your dad is a murderer. 

30

Aparna Nancherla

30

Aparna Nancherla

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @aparnapkin

There’s a delicate quality to Aparna Nancherla that even she knows can be off-putting. “It’s okay, I’m surprised I’m a comedian, too,” she began her 2013 Conan set. "We’ll get through this together.” But in the style of the great Maria Bamford, this gentle-seeming stand-up can pack a punch. While her earlier material favored precise jokes and absurd premises, she now blends that silliness with more personal material, and is never afraid to address her own depression or insecurities. (Sample tweet: Whenever it says on wikipedia "this page has issues," it's like "welcome to the club.”) Currently the host of UCB’s long-running stand-up show Whiplash, she’s set to record her first album this summer in Brooklyn.

Watch: Her discuss her most “Only in New York” moment (recorded, of course, on a Brooklyn rooftop). “I work in midtown Manhattan. Such a Miranda! Or a Spider-Man, whoever you relate to more.” 

31

Megan Neuringer

31

Megan Neuringer

Known For: Improv, sketch, writing

Twitter: @MeganNeuringer

Megan Neuringer seems poised to be the next renaissance woman of comedy. With a UCB background in improv and sketch, she’s written for a slew of television shows, popped up on Kroll Show and Flight of the Conchords, and shown off her stand-up chops on Best Week Ever and @midnight. She also co-created and co-wrote the web series “Escape From Brooklyn” with Sue Costello, and she’ll be seen in the indie comedy Slow Learners, which debuts next month at Tribeca. On Vine, she’s a master of the punchy joke; onstage, she’s a wellspring of quirky characters.

Watch: The first episode of “Escape From Brooklyn,” where she hitches a ride because she has “a booty call in the Lower East Side in, like, an hour.” 

32

Mark Normand

32

Mark Normand

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @marknorm

Why You Should/Will Know Him: Normand is a bit of a throwback in the comedy scene, which is not just a way of saying he's a white guy; he's also more of a traditional set-up-punch-line comic than most comedians working. Looking at the names of tracks on his latest album — "Sluts," "The Gays," and "Racial Stuff (gulp)" — might make you think he's the second coming of Archie Bunker, but Normand tackles this material with surprising grace. "Sluts" turns out to be a hilarious takedown of slut-shaming, while "The Gays" is all about how Normand welcomes being hit on at gay bars: "Last time I went to a gay bar, some guy told me I had pretty eyes. That's amazing! No woman's ever told me that. If I want to get with a girl, I have to use my personality, and I'm getting pretty tired of having to 'bring it' in every conversation. It's nice just being able to kick back and coast on these beauties for once."

Watch: Normand's Last Comic Standing set, which offers a great way of dealing with people who say, "I don't see color."

33

Claudia O’Doherty

33

Claudia O’Doherty

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @ClaudiaODoherty

Many comedy fans in the U.S. will have gotten their first taste of Claudia O’Doherty on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, where she played the kooky Australian contest-winner "Claudia O’Doherty.” The heightened self-character is a trademark of O’Doherty’s career; her hour-long festival shows have featured many oddball versions of herself in surreal situations. Her shows have collected awards around the world, and she’s become something of a regular on the U.K. comedy scene. Now she seems poised to make her mark in the States — this year alone, she’s appeared in Kroll Show and Amy Schumer’s upcoming film Trainwreck.

Watch: This “Comedy Blap” from the U.K.’s Channel 4, where she attempts to answer the eternal question — “What is England?” — while selling herself as well. “She is prettier in the face than me, sure, but my body is smaller than hers, and the smallness of a woman’s body is valued highly in our culture.” 

34

Paulilu

34

Paulilu

Known For: Sketch

Twitter: @LuciaAniello / @PaulWDowns

Why You Should/Will Know Them: Broad City fans know Paul Downs as aggressively douchey Soulstice trainer Trey, but along with parter Lucia Aniello, he's also one half of the long-running sketch team Paulilu. (Both Downs and Aniello write and direct episodes of Broad City as well.) Together they make videos full of bizarre pop-culture mash-ups, like an Unknown-style thriller about disappearing cleavage, and Dark Knight parody that throws Burt Ward's Robin into the grim and gritty Nolan universe.

Watch: "Dildo Sport," which has the comic premise and visual panache of a classic SNL commercial parody.  

35

David Dineen-Porter           

35

David Dineen-Porter           

Known For: Stand-up, writing

Twitter: @dineenporter

Canadian comedian and musician David Dineen-Porter is slowly exporting his peculiar tendencies to the U.S. The Toronto-based comic has become a favorite of the online comedy empire JASH, featuring in the Sarah Silverman–curated Rubberhead series of comedy shorts and playing video games with fellow musical oddball Reggie Watts. With a litany of Canadian television credits under his belt, he’s now influencing the future of American late-night as a writer on The Late Late Show With James Corden. Expect him to bring the same hint of surreal nonsense to the show as he does to his Twitter feed: "Christian Scientist Lifeguard School. Watch, pray, and walk away."

Watch: His take on a music talk show for College Humor. “I got this guitar from my wife Carol shortly before she left. [Sings] It’s my birthday. Please don’t take my son away from me.” 

36

Roast Battle (Brian Moses, Rell Battle)

36

Roast Battle (Brian Moses, Rell Battle)

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @RoastBattle

Why You Should/Will Know It: L.A.'s hottest new comedy show is Roast Battle, which pits two unknown comics against each other in the stand-up version of a rap duel. It's such a genius idea that it's made stars out of its creators, Brian Moses and Rell Battle, and finally given Roastmaster General Jeffrey Ross something to do between Comedy Central telecasts, as he serves as the show's "mentor." The show's format and buzz suggest that a TV version can't be far away.

Watch: There's no video yet from a Roast Battle, so here's a clip of Rell Battle displaying his excellent "rapper hands."

37

Phoebe Robinson

37

Phoebe Robinson

Known For: Stand-up, writing

Twitter: @PRobinsonComedy

For three years, Phoebe Robinson has embraced the alter-ego of Blaria, a.k.a. “Black Daria.” What started as a blog to share her snarky thoughts on politics and pop culture has blossomed into a long-running podcast and a monthly live show in New York City, which she now co-hosts with The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams. When she’s not Blaria, she’s popping up on Broad City, writing for MTV’s Über-popular Girl Code and Fuse’s new White Guy Talk Show, and doing stand-up on Late Night With Seth Meyers. She has a skill for mixing politically charged subjects into relatable personal material, like her excitement that her child could one day be a civil-rights hero. “If I have a daughter and she grows up to be an astronaut, she’s gonna end up on a Black History Month stamp.”

Watch: Her bit about one underrated aspect of privilege — the hobbies. "The great thing about being a standard-issue straight white person is you have so much time. Gay people, people of color, we have less time! We have to be a living Learning Annex to everybody. We don't have time to master hobbies like skipping rocks along lakes."

38

Andrew Santino

38

Andrew Santino

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @ChettoSantino

Andrew Santino could coast on charm alone. The stand-up and actor, who appeared in the short-lived sitcom Mixology, is currently starring in Yahoo’s first original series Sin City Saints as an "unpredictable and charismatic” NBA owner, playing opposite Malin Akerman. In his stand-up, that magnetic personality is put to good use — he’s a master at crowd work and an effortlessly engaging performer.

Watch: His first appearance on Conan, where he decides that one drink per week is the creepiest amount to have. “Because zero says, Hey, man, I used to have a problem. And 100 says, Hey, man, I currently have a problem. But one says, I’m keeping a secret, and it’s a problem. A big problem."

39

Josh Sharp

39

Josh Sharp

Known For: Sketch

Twitter: He doesn't have one!

Comedian Josh Sharp has a lot of irons in the fire of New York comedy. He and Matt Dennie make up the sketch duo Dennie & Sharp, describing their comedy as “wildly ambitious yet extremely low-fi.” Sharp also stars in the purposefully offensive, unabashedly gay “Fucking Identical Twins,” which is described as “The Parent Trap if it happened to horrible, disgusting people. Also, as the co-host of UCB’s “Cool Shit/Weird Shit,” he is at the center of New York’s most experimental comedy. It’s all proof that musically gifted comic with an oddball sensibility is one to watch.

Watch: This Dennie & Sharp clip about “that guy” who’s raising money for charity on the street for “Progressives for Progress for Change.” 

40

Max Silvestri

40

Max Silvestri

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @maxsilvestri

Why You Should/Will Know Him: Max Silvestri, host of Big Terrific, the stand-up show he started with Jenny Slate and Gabe Liedman many moons ago, which has established itself as NYC's best, is the master of parenthetical comedy. Every story he tells quickly and repeatedly diverts in a series of frantic asides. Silvestri is also arguably the funniest foodie in America. From his history writing super-funny recaps of food TV shows to naming his album King Piglet to last year when he was the host of two food-related shows on the FYI network, The Feed and Pressure Cooker. The shows didn't pan out, but we are optimistic: People need to eat.

Watch: Sadly, there isn't video of his stand-up online, so we highly suggest you stream it on Spotify. Instead, here is the very charming video in which Vulture asked him take mushrooms and go see The Hobbit.

41

Seaton Smith

41

Seaton Smith

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @SeatonSmith

Something about the way Seaton Smith snaps his fingers onstage makes him irresistible. Whether he’s talking about his relationship or watching a woman deservedly getting slapped by an addict with a rodent (“If you see a man … swinging a rat ... over his head, that man needs some space”), he’s bursting with energy in a way that sets him apart in a overcrowded stand-up scene. It also made him one of the most watchable elements of the otherwise dreary Mulaney, where he proved that he’s also an electric comedic actor who we’ll surely be seeing more of soon.

Watch: Smith absolutely kill on Late Night With Seth Meyers as he talks about his brief flirtation with Republicanism when he received his first TV paycheck, minus taxes. "Not eeeeeeverybody needs health care." 

42

Beth Stelling

42

Beth Stelling

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @BethStelling

Why You Should/Will Know Her: Is it hokey to say you want a comedian to be your friend? We want Beth Stelling to be our friend, just so we can have more of her arch deadpan in our lives. Stelling moved to L.A. from Chicago a few years ago, and her comedy still feels very Midwestern, from the low-key way she shuts down a catcaller ("He was like, 'Sexxxxxxxx,' I was like, 'Noooooooooooo'") to her stories about her adorable mom's inability to remember the name of her childhood best friend for a Sprint security question.

Watch: Stelling's laconic delivery has never been better than in her appearance last year on The Pete Holmes Show: "A lot of people in Ohio don't realize you can just put all your things in a bag … and then leave."

43

Drew Tarver

43

Drew Tarver

Known For: Sketch

Twitter: @DrewTarver

UCB sketch darling Drew Tarver has already flirted with the big leagues — he was cast last year in the much-discussed CBS spinoff How I Met Your Dad. It didn’t make it to air, but it’s sure to be only the first of many big castings for Tarver, who is in both the sketch duo Medium Friends and the troupe Big Grande. He’s also popped up on television in The McCarthys, NTSF:SD:SUV, and Newsreaders, and he’ll soon be seen in Demetri Martin’s indie film Dean. A versatile character actor, Tarver has impeccable comedic timing and such an undeniable charm that he seems destined for future success.

Watch: This sketch from Medium Friends, where he and sketch partner Steve Szlaga create an entire universe of characters in one elaborate Call Waiting chain. 

44

Nick Vatterott

44

Nick Vatterott

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @nickvatterott

Nick Vatterott is a weirdo, in the best way possible. The rubber-faced stand-up is joyously unpredictable, and his sets are filled with bizarre characters and seemingly straightforward premises that end up miles from where they started. He won the Andy Kaufman Award back in 2011, which rewards “unconventional” comics who “take risks with an audience.” Vatterott certainly does that; his energetic 2014 album For Amusement Only is layered with meta-jokes, and constantly plays with the format of a special (it’s an hour before he even introduces himself). He’s done stand-up on Conan and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Watch: His appearance on Conan, which includes this brilliantly off-the-wall answering-machine message: "Ukelele beach toad points scale next bitter scotch!"

45

Brandon Wardell

45

Brandon Wardell

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @BRANDONWARDELL

Even in the youth-oriented world of comedy, 22-year-old Brandon Wardell is something of a prodigy. The stand-up, who began performing at 17, was featured last year as the opening comic on Bob Odenkirk’s album Amateur Hour, and later went on tour with the legendary comedian. A D.C.-bred comedian who cites hip-hop as one of his major stylistic influences, he often performs onstage wearing a backpack. His Twitter feed shows off his pop-culture intensity and surreal tendencies: "If a drake song has a voice mail on it, it's automatically one of the greatest songs of all time.” This year, he’s opening for fellow wunderkind Bo Burnham on his nationwide tour.

Watch: His performance at L.A.’s Hot Tub, pulling off a brazen mic drop and talking about his new life in L.A. “I was driving my car recently and a leaf fell on my windshield, and I thought, ‘It’s like a tree gave me a ticket.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, wow, I’m too fucking high to drive.’”

46

Alice Wetterlund

46

Alice Wetterlund

Known For: Stand-up, sketch

Twitter: @AliceWetterlund

It’s possible that you’re already a fan of Alice Wetterlund without even realizing it — she’s pretty much everywhere. A regular on the MTV’s megapopular Girl Code, she’s acted on Silicon Valley, New Girl, and Betas. She had a role in last year’s iconic The Interview, and she’s been in a truly impressive amount of commercials. As a stand-up, she’s appeared on Chelsea Lately and @midnight and was chosen as a New Face at Just for Laughs in 2013. There’s really nothing not to like about the talented multihyphenate, and she’s obviously poised for success.

Watch: This sketch with Rob O’Reilly, “What If Dating Had Corporate Sponsorship?” where she shows us all she’s learned from her litany of TV ads.

47

Michelle Wolf

47

Michelle Wolf

Known For: Stand-up, writing

Twitter: @michelleisawolf

Michelle Wolf is a relative newcomer to stand-up, but there’s no indication of that onstage; when she dives deep into her fantastically absurd premises, she completely sells her twisted logic. Now a writer and performer on Late Night With Seth Meyers, her material has become increasingly personal and occasionally political, whether she’s detailing a particularly horrific date with a personal trainer or tweeting on international relations ("terrorist groups are sort of like wines. I know there are differences to them, but they're all the same to me”).

Watch: Her stand-up debut on her home turf at Late Night, which meant she started from a position of power. “You guys sound like you’re doing well. Not to one up you, but I’m doing amazing.” 

48

WOMEN

48

WOMEN

Known For: Sketch

Twitter: @WOMENCOMEDY

Short, punchy, and dark — those are the characteristics of a WOMEN sketch. Even without the pink title card and booming sound effect that begin each of their video sketches, there’d be no mistaking the sharp, distinct gags of WOMEN for anyone else’s. The (all-male) quartet recently completed a series of “Comedy Crib” episodes for IFC, and just announced a run at Comedy Central’s digital CC:Studios. Each member also does stand-up and has his own budding career; Allen Strickland Williams recently appeared on Conan, Jake Weisman was selected for New Faces at Montreal last year, Dave Ross was an inebriated storyteller on Drunk History, and Pat Bishop is a writer-producer-director at Funny or Die.

Watch: This brutally dark Amazon-related sketch, which, at 2:19, is one of their longest, most elaborate sketches to date. 

49

Hampton Yount 

49

Hampton Yount 

Known For: Stand-up

Twitter: @Hamptonyount

In 2009, stand-up Hampton Yount released an album called Unbearable. This month, he put out his second album, Bearable. More than just a sign of his progress as a comedian, the album’s titles indicate the quietly clever silliness for which Yount is known. He’s written for MTV’s Ridiculousness and Adult Swim’s Loiter Squad, performed stand-up on Conan and Adam Devine’s House Party, and was a New Face at Just for Laughs last year. Onstage, his stories are elaborately built structures; on Twitter, he’s full of gems. “Why does everyone in the mafia buy that car that blows up when you turn the key? Seems like a real impulse buy.”

Watch: His excellent Conan set from last year, where he came to the realization that “all of our grandparents’ sweet romantic stories? It’s just Asperger’s that nobody was diagnosing back then.” 

50

Henry Zebrowski

50

Henry Zebrowski

Known For: Sketch

Twitter: @HenryLovesYou

Onstage, Henry Zebrowski is fearlessly grotesque; on a network sitcom, he’s the goofy best friend. The sketch comedian and actor has enjoyed mainstream success in the past few years; he co-starred on the short-lived sitcom A to Z, appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street, and was recently added to the cast of the Heroes reboot. But his own comedy definitely tends toward darkness. He’s a member of the long-running punk sketch group Murderfist, who kick off every show with the announcement, “We are Murderfist and we are here to fuck you!” He also starred in the Adult Swim series Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell, about an “associate demon” working to recruit souls for Satan in order to get promoted, and he’s a regular on the horror podcast “Last Podcast on the Left.”

Watch: This video version of one of Murderfist’s brutal live sketches, which stars Zebrowski as the worst father-in-law you can imagine. “I laughed and I cheered about it because I made $150. Which is not a lot, for a human life.” 

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