The “Comics to Watch” showcase at this year’s New York Comedy Festival proves that the talent pool has gotten younger and more diverse thanks to the digital comedy boom.
Stand-up comedy not only has given rise to voices from all parts of our whole community, but also inspired kids to take up the microphone at younger ages, which means that even when they’ve put in their dues, they’re still quite young when they’re proclaiming themselves ready for their close-ups. Especially since they’ve oftentimes been playing to their own cameras (and online audiences) every day for years already. Not that that always translates to the stage.
In past years, this showcase had a TV partner which heightened the prestige and the performances, as the comedians knew they’d at least be filmed by Comedy Central, or more recently, Turner, with chances for promotions to the big-time (a Comedy Central half-hour, or a spot on Conan) on the line.
It’s somewhat fitting, or telling, then, that the two most promising performances, at least Thursday night, came from two comedians with plenty of experience in the spotlight.
Maddy Smith immediately lifted the energy in the room when she took the stage at The Stand midway through the showcase. Smith recently started showing up on the MTV via Wild ‘N Out.
Here’s a video of Smith from earlier this year.
Jared Goldstein, meanwhile, was on SNL way back in 2003, playing one of the kids in a sketch starring Rachel Dratch alongside Jimmy Fallon and guest host Ray Liotta. In his teens, Goldstein got off- and on Braodway. And more recently, in L.A., he’s earned some TV credits. He’s got stage presence and the chops to make himself well-known into adulthood, too.
Of course, you may have your own favorites from the Comics to Watch. The showcase features Smith, Goldstein, plus Kendall Farrell, Lev Far, Sally Ann Hall, Skyler Higley, Ali Kolbert, Natalie Perlin, Tori Piskin, Erik Terrell, and Jamie Wolf.