The annual “Comics to Watch” list, published by Variety and assembled by folks inside the industry, usually comes out in late July so the trade magazine can fete the talent in person at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival. That has necessarily changed since the pandemic.

What hasn’t changed? The nature of the list, which always feels a little bit like the Grammy Awards category for Best New Artist, in that the list somehow manages not only to capture who’s on the come-up, but also who’s obviously on our radars this year thanks to their announced projects, as well as people comedy fans already knew and were watching closely.

And yes, this was the list that once featured Southern Momma.

That said, anyone loves actually making it onto a list. So CONGRATS to these folks for making it onto Comics To Watch 2021!

  • Mo Amer WHY? Seen soon in the upcoming superhero movie, Black Adam
  • Quinta Brunson WHY? A Black Lady Sketch Show. A new book, “She Memes Well,” and an ABC sitcom she created and stars in, Abbott Elementary.
  • Ayo Edebiri WHY? Replaced Jenny Slate as a voice on Big Mouth. Seen soon in the FX series The Bear
  • Hannah Einbinder WHY? Stars in HBO Max’s Hacks
  • Josh Johnson WHY? Just released a mixtape album, Elusive, and a Comedy Central hour, #Hashtag
  • Chelcie Lynn WHY? AKA “Trailer Trash Tammy” with comedy sketches, prank series and a live tour
  • Natalie Palamides WHY? 2020 Netflix special NATE, heard on Duncanville and Wild Life, seen in Progressive commercials
  • Matt Rogers WHY? Showtime’s I Love This For You, HBO Max’s Haute Dog and co-hosts the podcast “Las Culturistas” with Bowen Yang.
  • Benito Skinner WHY? “The Overcompensating Tour” sold out internationally and he hosts the Spotify podcast “Obsessed.”
  • Kountry Wayne WHY? AKA Wayne Colley. From social media. Developing projects.

Read the full descriptions at Variety.