Comedy Central launches “Up Next” talent search with 26 comedy clubs to find 2013 “Comics To Watch”

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

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

10 thoughts on “Comedy Central launches “Up Next” talent search with 26 comedy clubs to find 2013 “Comics To Watch”

  1. Any info on how to enter? is it a wait in line outside the venue/luck of the draw type thing or will the venue select comics?

  2. I repeat the question of the first comment. How does one submit themselves as a comic? If it’s a cattle call or club politics, deal me out. If you’ll look at my E Press Kit, or will book me for a slot, please let me know how, where, or both.

  3. Hey comedians and comedy fans! I understand the confusion, but that’s the information I had, and now I’ve updated it with what little more the network gave out in the official press release. Looks as though it’s not being done by open call (unless one of the participating clubs decides to open it up), but rather, by each comedy club working with Comedy Central to put the showcase showdowns together. If I find out more, I’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, good luck!

  4. After calling 3 comedy clubs and trying to enter with no luck and seeing comedians that only have “open mics” on their resume get in it pisses me off that Comedy Central doesn’t have more control over this. These comedy club owners are so arrogant these days. I would have rather it been a registration fee to enter than the club bias picks.

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