If you want to know why the fuss about New Faces, it’s all about showing show business some new show for their business.
All of the stories you’ve heard about six- or seven-figure development deals with broadcast and/or cable networks all come back to the simple fact that there are managers and agents wheeling and dealing for the comedians who sign those deals, and there’s more of a gold rush to be had if the comedians aren’t even represented yet. In recent years, the definition of “New” has varied, as the renewed comedy boom for stand-ups on TV meant that North American audiences already were discovering some of these comedians by the time they landed in Montreal as so-called New Faces. Whether it was through Last Comic Standing, America’s Got Talent, or one of the multiplying options in late-night TV. So we have New Faces Unrepped, now in its third edition as an additional showcase to ensure that the industry can fall all over themselves finding fresh talent to add to their client rosters.
Somehow, Joe Zimmerman didn’t have representation yet. One of the former “Beards of Comedy,” Zimmerman makes his Comedy Central debut tonight on John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. Zimmerman started the entire showcase off on a strong note with lines such as: “I actually live in fear, so it’s just good to be out.” He backed that up by describing his fear of snakes, his wonderment at the lack of bear bones in our world, and the thought of bears as counter-terrorist fighters. He also managed to get the audience involved early on with facts about former President Andrew Jackson. Which, it turns out, are enough to make me want to see a movie about Jackson more than I did about Lincoln!
Shane Torres is not a Native American Meatloaf impersonator, but he is Portland’s funniest person according to the contest the Oregon city hosted this year.
Alli Breen went from Boston to NYC to Los Angeles. She jokes about getting a $200 speeding ticket, but it’s the 12 steps that are harder for her grasp. Also, who has two thumbs and gets robbed at 7 a.m.? This gal! Breen’s TV credits already include a showcase set on Stand Up In Stilettos.
Doug Smith is VERY CLEVER. Wrote it in all-caps in my notes, because that’s how much of an impression this guy makes onstage. He has a mustache for a reason, lady heckler. He’s got a meta bit about emailing a booker about doing a show, and conveys colorful images in your head with the premises of a porn that’s based on Chinese food delivery instead of pizza (has that not happened yet, really?) and having diarrhea while on anti-depressants. “I’m the future,” Smith said. The future is now.
Brian Jian pointed out that comedians cannot do covers, and yet, both proving and disproving his point, his closer was his own version of Chris Rock’s “blacks vs. niggers” bit, altered to as “Chinese vs. chinks.” Jian opened, by the way, by noting that his immigrant parents expected more out of him than a career in comedy. Will they feel the same way once he books a gig providing voiceover for his own martial arts movie, though? Jian noted on his Tumblr that his second showcase “felt much, much better than the first,” which is the one I attended. Duly noted!
Mike Polk Jr. is from Cleveland. Cleveland rocks! Oh, wait. That’s Drew Carey’s line. Whose line is Mike Polk Jr.’s, anyway? “Damn Right, I’m From Cleveland.” That’s the title of Polk’s book. He’s also a renter, which means he doesn’t shovel his walk, and he doesn’t hand out Halloween candy to the neighborhood kids. He also has worked at Arby’s, and earned an applause break after explaining to imaginary customers everywhere why the fast-food chain no longer sells homestyle fries. Who’s not ordering curly fries?!
Dave Smith‘s stand-up comedy shows hints that he has hung around with and/or been influenced by Dave Attell and Kurt Metzger while living and working in NYC. And those are good influences to have. Smith, 30, considers himself part of the “Internet Generation.” And when the United States fails, he joked he’d become a Canadian. In the meantime, he’s got a funny observation about observing a guy doing crack in a phone booth. Which still can happen in 2013, apparently!
I could have just as easily imagined seeing Amber Nelson in the New Faces Characters showcase as here in Unrepped. Actually, I find it easier to imagine Nelson portraying her characters than imagining her without representation. Now imagine the difference between Victoria’s Secret panties and Wal-Mart panties. Are you picturing it in your head? Good. Nelson will paint an even prettier, funnier picture for you. “I like being fun and kooky onstage,” she acknowledged in the middle of her act Thursday night. We like it when she does that, too.
Mac Blake won the Funniest Person in Austin contest this year. Befitting someone who lives in a driving culture, Blake’s observations include big-box large-scale franchises, from Whole Foods shoppers who wear their workout clothes, to the interior design of any Applebee’s, and belt-buying at a Walgreens. Who does that? Likewise, it takes a hero to go cell-phone shopping with your grandmother, and just remember that when you have grandchildren of your own.
Andrew Orvedahl is part of Denver’s Grawlix comedy collective. On his own, Orvedahl cannot believe anyone bought the crap novel that is/was 50 Shades, let alone the woman sitting next to him. Orvedahl got divorced himself this past year, which means his whole worldview is changing, and along with it, learning to be a single parent to his four-year-old daughter.
Mike Lebovitz, on the other hand, is a Chicago guy who’s still married. And yet. Take a good look at that photo of him onstage. Then read his Twitter bio: “Opinions are like assholes; I like to fuck ’em. #withmydick” Lebovitz jokes about trying to become a better man in his life, but things such as gym rules, and the unwritten rules such as what to do when a woman’s jacket pops a button, sometimes fail him.