A decade ago, I recall sending in a VHS tape to Comedy Central HQ for what they called “Laugh Riots.” Oh, VHS. Oh, my own stand-up aspirations.

Anyhow. Moving on, we all did.

Comedy Central then presided over a similar contest called Open Mic Fights, which had comedians from different regions competing then converging in NYC to declare a winner before a live audience.

In 2013, we have the new new thing for stand-up comedians looking to make a name for themselves in the show business — Comedy Central’s Up Next.

The details:

  • More than 200 comedians will be selected for preliminary rounds at 26 participating “CC: Certified Clubs” across America.
  • More than 30 comedians will advance to four regional semifinal rounds in October.
  • Two winners from each regional — eight comedians total — will make it to the finals, which is how you’ll know if you’re among those in this year’s New York Comedy Festival’s “Comics To Watch” on Nov. 6, 2013
  • Jonah Ray will host the semis and the finals
  • Highlights from the finals at “Comics To Watch” will air on Comedy Central Radio on SiriusXM channel 95 and on cc.com/upnext from Nov. 11-15, during which voters online decide a “Fan’s Choice.”
  • The grand prize winner will receive gigs on a Comedy Central college tour, a guest DJ slot on Comedy Central’s SiriusXM channel, inclusion on the Comedy Central stand-up page and mobile app, a Comedy Central Records digital release, appearance on a future TV showcase, and $2,500 cash.

So how and where do you enter? Good question.

UPDATED! Here is how the official press release from Comedy Central describes the selection process: “The selection process for the comedians in the 26 preliminary local showcases and the four regional semi-final showcases is a collaborative effort between COMEDY CENTRAL and the club  management who will work closely together to identify the best new stand-up comedians.” (EMPHASIS MINE)

Here are the dates and locations for the inaugural contest in 2013.

PRELIMINARY ROUNDS

VENUE

CITY

DATE

Addison Improv

Addison, TX

9/22

Brea Improv

Brea, CA

9/4

Cap City

Austin, TX

9/15

Carolines on Broadway

New York, NY

9/11; 9/18

Chicago Improv

Chicago, IL

9/11; 9/18

Cleveland Improv

Cleveland, OH

9/18

Cobb’s Comedy Club

San Francisco, CA

9/15

Denver Improv

Denver, CO

9/18

Ft. Lauderdale Improv

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

9/11

Hartford Funny Bone

Hartford, CT

9/4

Hollywood Improv

Hollywood, CA

9/3; 9/12

Houston Improv

Houston, TX

9/4

Irvine Improv

Irvine, CA

9/11

Johnny D’s (in conjunction with The Wilbur Theatre)

Boston, MA

9/6

Kansas City Improv

Kansas City, MO

9/18

Levity Live

West Nyack, NY

9/10

Ontario Improv

Ontario, CA

9/9

Orlando Improv

Orlando, FL

9/12

Palm Beach Improv

West Palm Beach, FL

9/18

Pittsburgh Improv

Pittsburgh, PA

9/11

Punch Line Sacramento

Sacramento, CA

9/11

San Jose Improv

San Jose, CA

9/3

Tampa Improv

Tampa, FL

9/19

Tempe Improv

Tempe, AZ

9/18

Virginia Beach Funny Bone

Virginia Beach, VA

9/12

Zanie’s Comedy Showplace

Nashville, TN

9/18

REGIONALS

VENUE

CITY

DATE

Chicago Improv

Chicago, IL

10/9

Cobb’s Comedy Club

San Francisco, CA

10/16

Ft. Lauderdale Improv

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

10/23

The Wilbur Theatre

Boston, MA

10/21

FINALS

VENUE

CITY

DATE

Carolines on Broadway

New York, NY

11/6