Mike E. Winfield emerged as this year’s winner of the 15th annual StandUp NBC competition, the network’s annual nationwide search for comedians of diverse backgrounds. Winfield has been awarded a talent holding deal with NBCUniversal and a headlining spot at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) annual convention where he will perform for talent bookers from across the country. He will also headline the regional semi-finalist showcases for the 2019 StandUp NBC competition.

Winfield was chosen from eight finalists including Vincent Bryant, Ali Clayton, Calvin Evans, Sohrab Forouzesh, Jay Jurden, Luz Pazos and Venessa Peruda. They were among 1,600 stand-ups who auditioned last year through online submissions and open calls in Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas and New York. Orlando Leyba hosted the finals last month at The Improv in Hollywood. Past winners and participants in the competition, including Tone Bell, JR De Guzman, Langston Kerman and Amanda Seales, also were in attendance.

“Since its inception, StandUp NBC has forged a path for some of today’s most sought-after comedians. Following the program, many of our finalists have appeared in substantial roles on notable TV series and feature films as well as hosted their own stand-up specials on major networks. Their continued success speaks to their undeniable talent as well as the effectiveness of our program to help launch emerging comedic talent,” said Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television.

“StandUp NBC continues to showcase unique talent who have a signature comedic style. This year Mike Winfield stood out to all of us because of his appealing personality and irreverent point of view.” said Grace Wu, Executive Vice President of Casting, NBC Entertainment. “He is a breakout performer whose career we have been tracking for some time and we are very excited to be working with him.”

A Baltimore native, Winfield recent performed in the Netflix comedy special, “Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo,” and has upcoming credits in “Pimp,” opposite Keke Palmer and “Liza On Demand” for YouTube Red. Other past TV credits include “Acting Out,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “BET’s Comicview.” Now splitting his time between New York and Los Angeles, he has also headlined at top comedy clubs across the country and has a one-hour comedy special releasing this year. Winfield is represented by the Gersh Agency.