One of the year’s most anticipated lists is finally here: Just For Laughs has released its 2017 class of New Faces. This year, there are four categories of comics receiving the honor – along with the traditional New Faces showcase, the New Faces: Unrepped edition, and New Faces: Characters, this year there’s a New Faces: Creators category, “a salute to up-and-coming digital content creators and influencers.”
This year’s New Faces will be featured at next week’s Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, one of the world’s biggest gatherings of comedy industry insiders, huge stars, and up-and-comers.
Over the years, performers like Hannibal Buress, Kevin Hart, Ali Wong, and even Jimmy Fallon have been featured on the fest’s prestigious New Faces list. “For more than 20 years, the New Faces showcase at Just For Laughs has served as the launch pad for many of the biggest and most recognizable names in comedy,” says Bruce Hills, COO of the Just For Laughs Group. “We couldn’t be more proud to offer comedians this phenomenal showcase opportunity in front of some of the most important and influential people in the comedy business.”
Without further ado, here they are:
2017 New Faces of Comedy
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
Blair Socci is a New York City-based comedian from Southern California. She can be seen starring in the MTV series, Ladylike, which premiered in June. Blair can also be seen as a featured stand-up in the new FUSE TV comedy series, Uproarious.
Calvin Evans is a stand-up/actor/writer from Chicago. His recent television credits include APB (FOX), Chicago PD (NBC), and Shameless (SHOWTIME). He has also performed his stand-up on the Kevin Hart Comedy Central series Hart of the City and MTV’s Acting Out.
Charles Gould was recently named a “Comic To Watch” by Comedy Central and one of “New York’s Funniest” by Caroline’s Comedy Club during the New York Comedy Festival. He has appeared on the TBS show Search Party, Comedy Central’s Cinema Social Club and NBC’s Law And Order. This summer he will be making his network television stand-up debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Christi Chiello is an actress, writer and comedian. She made her Comedy Central debut last year on Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle, going up against legendary comic Jimmy Carr. Christi has appeared on IFC’s “Comedy Crib” and Rachel Dratch’s Late Night Snack on TruTV. Her podcast, “Talking Funny with Christi,” can be heard on the RiotCast Network and iTunes.
In addition to reprising his recurring role of George in the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Danny Jolles performs sketch and stand-up comedy nationwide, and recently sold out the Hollywood Improv as a headliner. Danny is a founding member of Sasquatch, a sketch and improv comedy group.
Dave Thomason is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. He has appeared on Adam Devine’s House Party on Comedy Central and was recently named one of the “Top Up-and Coming Comics in Los Angeles” by the comedy website Splitsider. Dave is currently a staff writer for @midnight with Chris Hardwick on Comedy Central.
Los Angeles-based Jake Nordwind is a comedian, writer and actor. He is the star of the Above Average web series, “Backhouse,” which he also created and produced.
James Austin Johnson is a Los Angles-based comedian. He has 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, and at the Riot LA Festival, and Red Clay Comedy Festival in Atlanta.
Jared Freid is a comedian based out of New York City. His weekly podcast, “The JTrain Podcast,” is booming with over 425,000 subscribers, and a cult following of loyal fans. It’s been called “A Dear Abbey for Dudes”, which is why tons of women tune in religiously. He’ll next be seen in MTV’s Vidiots, where he and other comedians brutally dissect music videos.
Jonathan Morvay is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, actor and host, originally from NYC. He was most recently the head monologue writer and on-camera correspondent for Fair Game with Brock Everrett, a weekly sports comedy show on The Audience Network. He currently 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. Catch him on Coming to the Stage Season 2 on Hulu, Comedy Central’s Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City, and MTV’s Acting Out.
Martin Urbano is a New York City-based stand-up comedian who originally hails from Brownsville, TX. Martin was featured in Comedy Central’s “Road to the Roast” Snapchat series and MTV’s Dear Mom and Dad, which appeared on Snapchat as well. This summer Martin will make his stand-up comedy debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Michael Lenoci is a stand-up comedian and future owner of the Miami Dolphins. Michael retired from baseball in 8th grade and eventually went on to graduate from Florida State University in only five years. He frequently tours nationally with more successful comedians. Michael co-hosts the podcast “Guys Night Out” and eats out for every meal.
Norm Nixon Jr. is a comedian, DJ, and music producer based in Los Angeles. On the road, Norm opened for Mike Epps. On screen he’s appeared on ABC’s Uncle Buck and Grey’s Anatomy, collaborations with All Def Digital, and is a series regular on Hood Adjacent with James Davis.
Preacher Lawson won the 2015 title of “Funniest Comedian In Florida,” and in 2016 he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition. He’s road a wave of momentum on into 2017, having made his television debut on NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly followed by an appearance on Comedy Dynamics’ Coming To The Stage. He is from Orlando, FL.
Rae Sanni is a stand-up comedian and writer from Brooklyn, NY. Rae featured for Anthony Atamanuik on his critically acclaimed Trump Dump show at NYU’s Skirball Center. She was most recently honored as one of Comedy Central’s “Up Next” comedians in the Colossal Clusterfest and she is currently a staff writer on Comedy Central’s The President Show.
Ramy Youssef is a comedian from New Jersey. He has a reoccurring role in the third season of Mr. Robot and just finished filming Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry. He was selected for Comedy Central’s “Up Next 2017” and recently made his late night debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Sam Jay hails from Boston, MA and currently lives in Los Angeles. In 2017, she made her late night debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Her television credits include Comedy Central’s Meltdown with Kumail and Jonah, Viceland’s Flophouse, and MTV’s upcoming series SafeWord.
Solomon Georgio began as a stand-up on the Seattle comedy scene. He made his television debut as a featured comedian on Conan and has since appeared on Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, Viceland’s Flophouse, and Comedy Central’s The Meltdown. As a writer, he has contributed to Spongebob Squarepants and just wrapped up his first season as a staff writer on truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything.
Taylor Tomlinson can currently be seen as a series regular on MTV’s SafeWord and was recently featured on the Comedy Central series Adam Devine’s House Party. Taylor was a Top 10 finalist on Season 9 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
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.
Catch the New Faces showcase on Wednesday, July 26th at 7pm and 9:30pm.
2017 New Faces of Comedy: Unrepped
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 is a 22-year-old standup comedian originally from Austin, Texas, now living in Los Angeles. Andrew has featured for Ronnie Chieng, Chris Cubas, and Myq Kaplan. He’s also performed at The Moontower Comedy Festival, Out Of Bounds Comedy Fest, and placed second in the 2016 “Funniest Person In Austin” contest.
George Civeris grew up between two equally iconic cultural meccas: Athens, Greece and Chatham, New Jersey. After graduating high school in Athens, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and later to Boston for graduate school, where he found comedy instead. Last year, he won MoveOn.org’s nationwide “Laughter Trumps Hate” contest. Since then, he has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Limestone Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy Festival, the Women in Comedy Festival, and (coming up this fall) the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. He co-produces a long-running weekly alternative comedy showcase in Boston called the Mendoza Line and performs regularly all over New England and New York.
Originally from rural South Carolina, comedian and actor, Jackson McQueen began his career telling jokes to the chickens in his family’s barn. Performing at clubs and colleges nationally and abroad, McQueen frequents Los Angeles staples including The Comedy Store, Hollywood Improv and Laugh Factory. Known for his work as a commercial actor, McQueen was ranked in the “20 of the Most Recognizable Commercial Actors” by IMDB. He has also been seen in various sketches on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and BET’s Comic View.
Jeremy McLellan is an internationally touring stand-up comedian based in Charleston, SC where he won the 2015 and 2016 Charleston Stand-up Comedy Competition and was named “Best Local Comic” in the Charleston city paper. A staple at interfaith and political events around the world, his material covers a wide range of hot-button topics like politics, gender, race, religion, and disability.
Jiayong Li bid farewell to his family in Beijing and embarked on a journey of mathematical study at MIT. Along the way, he came upon stand-up comedy, and started delivering his cerebral material in a calm and comfortable voice. Watching him perform is a side-splitting yet soothing experience.
Jordan Doll is a stand-up comedian, actor and Gemini from Denver, CO. If he looks familiar it might be because you saw him on Viceland’s Flophouse, or his Comedy Central Snapchat show “Nostalgia-Rama.” Or maybe you caught him at The Oddball Comedy Fest, or opening for comics like Brian Posehn, Kyle Kinane or TJ Miller.
Marie Faustin can be seen on MTV’s Vidiots and Oxygen’s Very Real Talk. She’s been featured in GQ Magazine and is the radio host of “Tall Tales in the Big City” on 99.5FM in NYC. Marie also co-hosts the weekly podcast, The Unofficial Expert and her weekly Youtube videos, currently have over 1 million views.
Mia Jackson is a bonafide Georgia peach (that’s Georgian for “native”), currently based in Atlanta. After graduating from the University of Georgia she hit the local comedy scene and never looked back. After leaving her corporate job, she’s been sharing her unique perspective and outspoken voice all over the country. To her credit she has appeared on Nick’s Mom Night Out, Season 9 of Last Comic Standing and the movie Mother’s Day.
Steven Castillo is one of the most original performers in Chicago. His comedy dives into the absurd with a combination of fresh material, music and sound clues, and even sometimes speaking in a foreign language. 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. He is a founder, writer, and performer with the sketch and standup collective Boy Kisses. Their sketches have been featured on Comedy Central and on the front page of reddit and have over 500,000 views on YouTube.
Vanessa Gonzalez is a comedian based out of Austin, TX. She has toured the U.S. with her critically acclaimed solo shows and has opened for Anthony Jeselnik and Fortune Feimster. She been featured in many comedy festivals such as Hell Yes Fest, Odd Ball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, San Francisco Sketch Fest, The Women in Comedy Festival and Vancouver Sketch Fest. In 2016 and 2017, Gonzalez placed in the Top 3 in the “Funniest Person in Austin” contest.
Catch the New Faces: Unrepped showcase on Thursday, July 27th at 9:30pm.
2017 New Faces of Comedy: Characters
Ana Fabrega, Avery Monsen, Bill Posley, Geoff Dow, Heidi Gardner, John Trowbridge, Kat Palardy, Matt Gehring, Matt Rogers and Yoni Lotan
Ana Fabrega is a comedian in New York City. She performs at comedy venues and art spaces around the city, and hosts a monthly show at Starr Bar in Brooklyn called Sundays with Ana. Ana has appeared on Portlandia, The Chris Gethard Show, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and in various web videos for Comedy Central, IFC, and Mas Mejor. She’s also toured with Fred Armisen, and authored the comedy zines The Truth About Pangaea and The Truth About Pangaea II, published by Social Malpractice Publishing.
Avery Monsen is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. He’s been on TV shows like 30 Rock, Maron, Adam Ruins Everything, High Maintenance, The Tonight Show, and RoosterTeeth’s streaming series, Crunch Time. Avery is the co-author and illustrator of several humor books, including the national bestseller, All My Friends Are Dead. He also wrote for Billy On The Street and Comedy Central’s Trip Tank. Currently, you can see him perform sketch comedy with the UCB-LA house team, Bombardier.
Bill Posley hails from a blue collar Massachusetts family but now calls Los Angeles, CA his home. He is an alumni from UCB, I.O. and Second City and has shared the stand-up stage with comedians such as Lewis Black, Godfrey and Joe Rogan. Fun Fact: he was also on Survivor. Most recently Bill was a standout in the 2017 CBS Diversity Showcase, shining as both a writer and performer.
Geoffrey Dow is from Philadelphia but there’s nothing we can do about that now. He performs weekly with his beloved Lil’ Tooties at The iO Theater in Chicago and performs strongly in the kitchen when it’s time to make the bisque. From chowders to broths, his cooking is no joke but once his jokes get cooking it’s nothing but laugh stew.”
Heidi Gardner is a standout writer/performer in the Groundlings Main Company in Los Angeles. She voices a role in the animated series Supermansion with Bryan Cranston, and was in TVLand’s Nobodies this year. She is upcoming in the feature film, Life Of The Party, opposite Melissa McCarthy.
John Trowbridge is an New York City comedian currently writing original comedy for Hearst Media (Elle, Esquire, Harpers Bazaar). Before Hearst, John was an on camera writer/performer for The Huffington Post. You can catch John performing at Night Late at UCBTNY or performing stand-up all around NYC. John has also written and performed for College Humor, The Fine Brothers, CH2, Above Average, IFC and Adult Swim.
Kat Palardy is an Los Angeles-based comedian who draws heavily upon her roots in musical theatre and improv when creating her original characters and impressions. She will be recurring in the upcoming animated series Little Big Awesome for Amazon Prime, and recently worked on Superstore, New Girl, Brooklyn 99, Rob Heubel and Paul Scheer’s Drive Share, The Pete Holmes Show, and more. She performs regularly at UCB Theatre with the Maude sketch team, Bombardier, and throughout LA with characters, songs, and stand-up.
Matt Gehring is a performer and writer in New York City. He recently booked a recurring role on Amazon’s The Tick and the comedic feature film Set It Up. Matt performs his writing at the UCBTNY and other comedy stages in New York. He is a member of Political Subversities, which was recently awarded a video-residency at the YouTube Next Lab. Matt can be seen in recent episodes of Netflix’s The Characters and Adult Swim’s Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter.
Matt Rogers is a comedian, actor, writer and host based in New York City. He performs regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater as part of “Characters Welcome” and was previously an actor on the UCB Maude team ‘Choir’. He was selected as one of Comedy Central’s “Comics To Watch” in 2016 and has been featured in a recurring role on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” alongside Jerry Seinfeld. Matt co-hosts the popular weekly podcast “Las Culturistas” and the monthly live show Gayme Show.
Yoni Lotan is a UCB NY house performer on the Maude team Nipsey and the Harold team Higgins. With several shorts under his belt and a few viral YouTube hits, his videos have been seen on Buzzfeed, Gawker, CNN, The Today Show, Huffington Post, Mashable, and his mother’s Pinterest. Yoni appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and was most recently seen in the Sony feature Rough Night, directed by Lucia Aniello.
Catch the New Faces: Characters showcase on Thursday, July 27th at 7pm.
2017 New Faces of Comedy: Creators
Brandon Rogers, Glenn Boozan, Good Cop Great Cop (Matt Porter & Charlie Hankin), Handsome Dancer (Matt Pavich and James Manzello), Juhahn Jones, Quinta Brunson and The Cooties (Ethan Edenburg, Jacob Jeffries, Eric Jackowitz and Raul Fernandez)
Brandon Rogers has become best known for his sketches, where he impersonates various outlandish characters, often lampooning the stereotypes associated with those characters. For his sketches he often goes out in public, dressed up, and acts out his characters, which has reportedly gotten him kicked out of various establishments. His characters all live in the same universe and reference each other in various videos. Currently Brandon can be seen starring in his own creation, Magic Funhouse (Fullscreen) which launches this summer and has already been ordered for a second season.
Glenn Boozan is currently a writer on the Hulu series starring Sarah Silverman, I Love You, America. She most recently wrote for the truTV series Adam Ruins Everything. She was a writer on Go90’s Mr. Student Body President and the writer’s assistant on FX’s Man Seeking Woman. She was also a senior writer at Above Average. She’s done things at places like The New Yorker, The Onion, Comedy Central, and MTV. A comedy sketch show she co-wrote,This is Going to Hurt, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick.
Matt Porter and Charlie Hankin are the comedy and filmmaking duo known as Good Cop Great Cop. Their self-titled series has attracted a large following on the web, and has been featured in The Onion, AV Club, Cracked, Nerdist, Splitsider, and at SXSW and The New York Television Festival. Matt and Charlie are currently developing a series with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s digital venture New Form. The duo also recently co-wrote, co-directed and starred in two seasons of the successful Comedy Central Digital series “New Timers,” and developed pilots for both Comedy Central and TBS. As live performers, their UCB show has enjoyed a successful seven month run, and they continue to perform as a live duo at venues throughout New York and at colleges and festivals across the country.
Matt Pavich and James Manzello are the comedy group, Handsome Dancer. Their video, “Coincidance”, has over 3 million views online and their pilot, “The Neighborhood”, won the Audience Award at the 2014 New York Television Festival. Matt is a cast member on MTV2/ MTV’s Joking Off and Elite Daily’s Genwhy series.
James Manzello has appeared on MTV’s Totally Clueless, ABC’s What Would You Do? and in the Noah Baumbach film While We’re Young. Just last month, James was a featured director in the New Director’s Showcase at Cannes Lions.
Juhahn Jones is a dynamic content creator, with previous work as a sketch writer for Kevin Hart and production of his own short comedies for both YouTube and Facebook. In addition, the original comedy clips he has created for Instagram have gained him huge momentum in the social media world. Juhahn won the NAACP Theater Award for “Best Supporting Male” for his work in Sunday Mourning. Recent acting success include a recurring role on BET’s Dramedy and Rebel as well as guest roles on Mitch and Max, Mi Casa Mi Casa, and a recurring role in Season 4 and 5 of HBO’s The Wire.
Quinta Brunson is a writer, actor, producer and stand-up, currently with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. She was hand selected by Issa Rae and Jill Soloway for the Forbes 2017’s “30 Under 30” list. She is currently attached to a single-camera, half-hour pilot from ShondaLand/ABC Studios. She created, sold, executive produced, and starred in two premium streaming series in 2016 – Broke for YouTube Red and Up For Adoption for Verizon Go90. Prior to joining BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, Quinta created the series “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date.” The series went viral on YouTube and Instagram and was one of the first series to gain a huge, viral fan base on both social platforms.
The Cooties is a musical comedy trio based in Los Angeles. Ethan Edenburg, Eric Jackowitz, and Jacob Jeffries have been friends since before their voices dropped. With backgrounds as professionally trained musicians and songwriters, they blend sketch, music, and mixed media into an unforgettable experience, whether it’s on camera or live on stage.Currently the boys play out of UCB Sunset with their own monthly show, After Dark. When not constantly performing around town, The Cooties can be found writing their next song, sketch or TV show idea.
Catch the New Faces: Creators showcase on Thursday, July 27th at 1:45pm.
Passes to the 2017 Just For Laughs festival are still on sale at hahaha.com.