You can quibble (I certainly can) with JFL’s definition of “New,” but I dare not stand in the way of congratulating all of these comedians on the come-up who will get their moments in the spotlight this week in Montreal.
Here are your New Faces for 2022!
CLASS OF 2022: NEW FACES OF COMEDY
Ali Kolbert was once an NBC Page at 30 Rock, where she worked on shows such as Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Kolbert made her television debut in that very building, performing stand-up on The Tonight Show. She has performed on A Little Late with Lilly Singh, The TODAY Show, and even once impersonated Reese Witherspoon on The Howard Stern Show. Kolbert was also included in Variety Magazine’s July comedy issue and profiled in Forbes Under 30. She can be seen co-hosting AOL’s Build Brunch, a daily morning talk show featuring a roundtable of diverse, young and influential personalities speaking to breaking news, hot topics and the latest in entertainment. She can also be seen as a series regular on the truTV show, Top Secret Videos, and performed a comedy special for HBO MAX’s Queer Comedy Showcase for Pride 2021.
Ali Macofsky is a stand-up comedian, actress, and writer who began her stand-up comedy career shortly after high school. She quickly established herself in the Los Angeles comedy scene where she became the first regular to perform on over 100 episodes of the Comedy Store’s weekly Kill Tony podcast. She most recently went on tour opening for rock musician, St. Vincent, across the US. Her stand up has been featured on Just For Laughs digital receiving over 3 million views. She has a popular series on Instagram, where she talks to strangers online and hosts a podcast called Resting Bitch.
Andrew Orolfo is a Filipino American comedian who is an established staple in the San Francisco comedy scene, and has been featured in SF Sketchfest, Limestone Comedy Festival and Comedy Central’s Clusterfest. He can be heard on SiriusXM Radio and seen on Comedy Central, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jo Koy: In His Elements on Netflix, Comedy Central Stand Up & Comedy Dynamics’ Coming to the Stage.
Brandi Denise is a standup, actor, and writer, who just wrapped filming a series regular role on the BET show Games People Play, and can be seen recurring on Starz’ Power and Power Book II: Ghost. Boyd is an alumnus of Chicago Second City Improv Program and a Conservatory Student, Annoyance theatre alumni and the I.O. Writing for T.V. Program.
Brian Bahe is an Indigenous (Tohono O’odham, Hopi, Navajo), gay comedian and writer originally from Phoenix, Arizona, now based in New York City. He taped a standup set for Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Featuring, headlined Caroline’s on Broadway, and his writing has been published in McSweeney’s. His animated comedy pilot Decolonize was selected for the 2022 Indigenous List, a collaboration between The Blacklist, the Sundance Institute, and IllumiNative.
Emil Wakim is a stand-up comedian and writer currently based in Brooklyn, by way of Bloomington, Indiana. He recently served as a consulting producer on The Wendy Williams Show. He also made an appearance as a main focus on ViceTV’s docuseries Hunters.
Ethan Simmons-Patterson is a NY-based comedian from the suburbs of Chicago who just graduated from NYU’s nursing school. When he’s not working at a children’s hospital, Simmons-Patterson performs at the Comedy Cellar, Caroline’s, New York Comedy Club, The Bell House, Littlefield, and popular shows across Brooklyn and Manhattan. He’s been featured in the New York Comedy Festival, the Janelle James Festival, and Floodwater Festival. He was selected to perform for Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar.
Ever Mainard (they/them) is an incredibly talented Texas born comedian, actor, writer, and improviser. They are a three-time Award Winner for their role in The Feels, and appeared in the Duplass brothers’ Paddleton for Netflix. As an improviser and comedian, Mainard trained at The Second City Chicago, I.O., and Groundlings where they were quickly flagged as a stand-out. Their one-person show Let Me Be Your Main Man was picked as one of the best U.S. Imports at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Mainard has written content for The Huffington Post, E! Online, and AfterEllen. They recently appeared on Lance Bass’s series VERSUS for Roku. Mainard has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, OddBall Comedy Festival, and more.
Fabrizio Copano is one of the most well-known comedians in Latin America and is the first South American comedian to shoot an original comedy special for Netflix. Actor and writer of the hit Chilean comedy show El Club de la Comedia, Copano also lead his own late-night show El Late de Copano and was one of the hosts of the Comedy Central Latin America produced La Culpa es de Colon, a comedy super group with the top five comedians from 5 countries in Latin America. His 2016 film Prueba de Actitud (Attitude Test) which he co-wrote, directed, and starred in is still one of Chile’s highest grossing comedies of all time. When he is not touring and selling out theatres all over the US and Latin America, he co-hosts the hit iHeart Radio comedy podcast 4th From The South with Steve Hely, which explores political topics out of Latin America. Also, an author, in 2019, he released a memoir, “Mi Vida Como Dibujante”, (My Life As a Doodler) which delved into his life from a “distracted child” to a central figure of comedy in Latin America. Fabrizio is currently developing an original comedy series for Netflix Mexico.
Gianmarco Soresi is a stand-up comic, actor and writer based in New York City. He won critical acclaim for his stand-up special and documentary Shelf Life directed by Emmy Award winner Andy Buck, currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and is the host of the popular podcast The Downside. He appeared in the Billy Crystal/Tiffany Haddish film Here Today, and has appeared in roles on Bonding for Netflix, Deception, Blue Bloods, and in the feature film Hustlers opposite Jennifer Lopez. He has also been featured on Comedy Central, hosted programs for IBM and MTV and was the spokesperson for General Electric.
Hannah Berner was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up playing competitive tennis professionally, and for the University of Wisconsin. She emerged on the comedy scene by directing, editing, and acting in videos on Instagram and writing viral tweets. She has two hit podcasts, Giggly Squad and Berning In Hell,with over 20 million downloads. She was a co-host on Bravo’s Chat Room, as well as a member of Bravo’s Summer House for three seasons.
Jared Goldstein can most recently be seen on season 2 of Hulu’s Dollface for Hulu, Roku/Quibi’s NIKKI FRE$H starring as Nicole Richie’s trusty right hand and assistant, as well as CBS’ The Unicorn. Most recently, Goldstein hosted and co-wrote the 10-year anniversary live special for5 Seconds of Summer. He recently taped a Comedy Central Featuring set that premiered this past November. In 2019, he was chosen as one of New York Comedy Festival Comics to Watch as well as Time Out’s Comedians to Watch. He participated in last year’s CBS Diversity Showcase. Previously, he has appeared on Comedy Dynamic’s Out on Stage, as well as ABC’s Modern Family, Starz’s Counterpart, and the feature film It’s Kind of A Funny Story. He’s additionally appeared in an SNL sketch written by Tina Fey featuring Jimmy Fallon as well as the Off-Broadway production of Spring Awakening and the Broadway production of A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden.
Lara Beitz is a fast-rising star in the Los Angeles comedy scene. She was selected as the first comedian to perform stand-up on Comedy Central’s Lights Out with David Spade, where she became a red-carpet correspondent and a regular panelist. She is a paid regular at every comedy club in Hollywood and her stand-up was featured in the Comedy Store documentary on Showtime in the fall of 2020. She just made her late-night debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden and is currently developing a semi-autobiographical series with Judd Apatow.
Laura Peek is one of the most promising young Los Angeles based standup comics to come out of Nashville’s bustling comedy scene. She was named one of the 50 Best Undiscovered Comics in the country by Thrillist, and has been featured in Comedy Central’s Roast Battle as well as many prominent festivals such as Laughing Skull, Limestone, and the Nashville Comedy Festival. You can catch Laura next in “Iliza’s Locals”, a comedy special produced by Iliza Shlesinger which will premiere next year.
Marcello Hernandez is a stand-up comic, writer, and actor based out of New York City and Miami. He has toured with acts such as Jim Breuer, Ashley Hesseltine, Mark Viera, Gilbert Gottfried, and more. He currently acts as creative director and host for @onlyindade, a Miami-based media company that delivers daily news, sports, and pop culture commentary to its massive online audience. He has appeared numerous times on Telemundo’s Acceso Total and NBC’s 6 in the Mix. Currently he is performing on select tour dates with Tim Dillon and in clubs across New York City.
Michael Rowland is a New York-based stand-up comedian and actor who’s been featured multiple times on This Week at the Comedy Cellar on Comedy Central, as well as Stupid Questions with Chris DiStefano and Pause with Sam Jay on HBOMax. He also has a feature set for Comedy Central Digital, and in 2019 he was a finalist in the “New York’s Funniest Stand Up” competition for New York Comedy Festival. He tours all over the country and currently co-hosts the monthly show Laughodills in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Pat Regan is a stand-up comedian in New York City, of all places. After three years as a house improviser at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, he has spent the past few years focusing exclusively on stand-up. Pat has performed at venues across the city with his stand-up shows “Unsuccessful by Choice” (FKA “Pat Regan: Unrepped and Loving It!”) and “Essgays”. Pat has performed at Outside Lands, NY Comedy Festival, the Michigan LGBT ComedyFest, NYTVF, Podfest NYC, Vulture Festival, and Comedy Central’s Clusterfest. Pat has several projects in development and is currently in his second season writing for the Emmy Nominated and Critically Acclaimed HBO Max Original series, Hacks.
Pink Foxx has toured around the country with Deray Davis, opened for Dave Chappelle, Patton Oswalt, and Russell Peters. She’s performed at The World-Famous Comedy Store, Melrose Improv and The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, CA. She’s also made an appearance on Revolt Tv’s Blocked, and has written for shows like Here TV’s Slay Model search. No matter where or when you’ve seen her, one thing is certain, Foxx is funny and her perspective is one of a kind!
Sabrina Wu (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based comedian, writer, and actor who can soon be seen starring as a lead in the upcoming untitled Adele Lim feature for Point Grey/Lionsgate. On the writing side, Sabrina is staffed on FX’s Dying for Sex, based on the hit Wondery podcast. They recently sold their pilot, It Gets Better to 20th and were previously staffed on Disney+’s Doogie Kamealoha M.D. On the stand-up front, they regularly perform all over New York City, at venues such as Union Hall and the Bell House. Their stand-up has been selected for the New York Comedy Festival, Women in Comedy Festival, and Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.
Skyler Higley is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor who comes out of Chicago’s legendary comedy scene. His incisive and razor-sharp writing earned him a WGA Award while on staff at CONAN, and he is currently a staff writer for ‘The Onion.’ He has also contributed to ClickHole and the New Yorker. Skyler was named one of New York Comedy Festival’s ‘Comics To Watch’ and has been described by his former boss Conan O’Brien as ‘delightfully bizarre and undeniably hilarious.’
The New Faces of Comedy showcases will be taking place on Monument National: Ludger-Duvernay on Wednesday, July 27 2022 at 7:00 PM & 9:30 PM.
NEW FACES: CHARACTERS
Allison Reese is an accomplished sketch comedian known for her online characters and Kamala Harris Impression (3.5M likes; Millions of Views on TikTok.) She is fresh off the heels of the 2022 CBS Sketch Comedy Showcase, and an alumnus of The Second City Touring company. Allison was also a staff writer for the famed comedy institution. Her most recent writing credit is for The Revolution Will be Improvised, which has a 2022 summer residency at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The CBS sketch written by and starring Allison, Belinda’s Mom, won Best Parody at both the Independent Shorts Awards and the Oniros Film Awards and is an Official Selection in the Houston Comedy Film Festival.
Andrew Farmer is a gay, disabled writer/comedian who has performed at The Museum of Modern Art, Joe’s Pub and all the finest basements in New York and LA. TV writing credits include TBS’ Miracle Workers, Freeform’s Praise Petey and Apple+’s Best Foot Forward. He’s developed projects with Universal, CBS and National Lampoon and is a recipient of The Jonathan Larson Grant for Musical Theater. With comedian Anna Drezen, he hosts the podcast” Scary Stories to Tell on the Pod”, described by Vulture as “hilarious, impressive & weird.”
Ceara Jane O’Sullivan is a character comedian, actor, and writer based in LA. She is an alum of the Improv Asylum mainstage and current director of the Improv Asylum mainstage revue, “Air Conditional Love.” These days, you can find Ceara studying at the Groundlings, posting little sketches on the internet, or on stage in her 2-person show, “The Regrets Club.” Ceara is currently developing a project with Powderkeg Media.
Inessa Frantowski got her start in sketch comedy with the Sketchersons in Toronto. She is a Canadian Screen Award winner and a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner. An alumnus of The Second City Mainstage in Toronto, she wrote and starred in four record breaking revues and also performed on UCB’s Maude Night for four years. She was a writer/performer on This Hour has 22 Minutes and stars in the International Emmy nominated series, The Amazing Gayl Pile on Amazon Prime, for which she won an Indie Series Award.Additional credits include: Cosmopolis, The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town, True Dating Stories, Match Game, Scare Tactics, American Princess, Greener Grass and the Avicii video I Could Be The One which has over 330 million views on YouTube.
Jordan Stafford attended Saginaw Valley State University, where he studied theatre and was introduced to improv. After graduating in 2015, he moved to Chicago and loves it. He is on the iO Harold team Lil’ Tooties and also does solo work all around Chicago. Stafford was recently selected and performed in the 2022 ViacomCBS Diversity Showcase.
Lisa Gilroy is upcoming in a recurring role for the Netflix series Glamorous with Kim Cattrall, as well as Hulu’s History Of The World, Part II and Amazon Freevee’s Jury Duty. Lisa has appeared on NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the NBC pilot Someone Out There. She is in the voice cast of Comedy Central’s Fairview and is featured as the voice of Ellen DeGeneres in the FOX sketch series from Robert Smigel, Let’s Be Real.Lisa is a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner and former Tour Company ensemble member from The Second City Toronto. She was a mainstage Harold (improv) and Maude (sketch) performer at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in Los Angeles.
Luke Millington-Drake is an actor, writer and improviser with dual citizenship of the UK and US. Luke is a performer in the Groundlings Sunday Co and is LGBTQ+. He has trained with RADA, LAMDA, and performed with theatre companies in and outside of London, ranging in material from Shakespeare to musical theatre. Luke is upcoming in a recurring role in Steve Levitan’s Reboot on Hulu, Netflix’s That 90’s Show, and NBC’s Night Court. He can be seen in Apple+’s new Maya Rudolph series Loot, and is one of the lead voice roles on the Netflix animated series The Cuphead show. Luke took TikTok by storm with his remarkable Keira Knightley impressions, and has since garnered millions of views and followers for his brilliant portrayals of talent such as Hugh Grant, Gillian Anderson and Jude Law.
Nick Mestad is a New York City based writer and performer. An alumnus of iO and The Annoyance Theatres in Chicago, he can be seen all around NYC performing his highly physical style of comedy. He has recently appeared on The Tonight Show as well as NBC’s Chicago Fire and Seeso’s Shrink. He can next be seen on Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal and the upcoming independent feature Molli & Max In The Future opposite Zosia Mamet. His work has been featured in Vulture and Clickhole, and he has amassed millions of views online with his characters.
Shaan Baig is a comedian, actor, and writer based in Los Angeles. He is an alum of UCB’s Maude Night, Characters Welcome, and the theatre’s first all-South Asian team THE GET BROWN. His videos have been featured on Vulture, Funny or Die, and BuzzFeed. Baig co-hosted the Bollywood Boys Podcast with Saagar Shaikh, which was profiled on NPR. He recently appeared on A Little Late with Lilly Singh on NBC.
The New Faces of Comedy: Characters showcases will be taking place at Monument National: Ludger-Duvernay on Thursday, July 28 2022 at 7:00 PM.
NEW FACES: UNREPPED
Adam Gilbert cut his teeth in the Midwest alternative comedy circuit, opening for touring comics such as Doug Stanhope, Robert Kelly, Todd Barry, and Brian Posehn. A Chicago transplant, he has performed at the Laugh Factory, Zanies, and Comedians You Should Know. Adam was a featured performer at the Limestone Comedy Festival and was featured in Pique Magazine.
Benny Feldman is a stand-up comedian based out of New York City, known for his one-liners and for performing with Tourette’s Syndrome. Most of his jokes are about dirt and birds and stuff.
Brendan Sagalow has deftly and defiantly owned the stage for over 10 years. Sagalow has written for MTV’s Joking Off, been a featured guest on many SiriusXM shows. He was the winner of the 2015 New York Comedy Club Comedy Competition, and a finalist in “New York’s Funniest” at Carolines comedy club. Sagalow’s album “Not Now More Than Ever” was #1 on the iTunes Charts. You can see him perform nightly at the world-famous Comedy Cellar, and listen to him every week on his podcast “Here’s The Scenario”.
Caitlin Peluffo is a stand-up comedian who recently made her network television debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has been seen on NBC Seeso’s “New York’s Funniest” as well as the Comcast Network as a finalist in the ‘Trial By Laughter Comedy Competition.’ She has performed in festivals across the country, and was runner up in the Big Sky, Finger Lakes, San Diego, and the Stand-Up NY Comedy Competitions. She recently performed in San Francisco’s Sketchiest in the Audible’s Fresh Voices Showcase, is featured on both Sirius XM’s “Raw Dog” and Audible’s “Punchlines,” and hosts her own weekly podcast, “Good Time Gal with Caitlin Peluffo.”
Dauood Mohammad Naimyar is an Afghan-American comedian, who learned the value of assimilating at a very young age. Once he embraced his eccentric point of view, he saw the humour all around him. Naimyar’s comedic perspective is shaped by the duality of his constant need to fit in and his relentless desire to be different. Naimyar has built a following of 150,000+ TikTok followers by showing the humour of his circumstances as an Afghan living in America, with multiple viral hits poking fun at politicians and world leaders. His debut comedy album, Pier 69: Junior Varsity, topped all the charts upon its release.
Kalea McNeill is an actor and stand-up comedian who has hosted many live shows and events, honing in on her quick wit and signature style. McNeill hit the standup scene hard performing in legendary clubs such as The Comedy Store. In 2017, McNeill booked her first television role as a co-star on TNT’s Animal Kingdom. Since then, she has booked a recurring role on CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and various guest/co-star spots on FX, CBS, TruTV and TNT. You can watch her standup on Amazon Prime Video’s Laugh After Dark and her upcoming for her comedy special Sma’am.
KC Shornima is a comedian who has performed at clubs and theatres across the country with national headliners like Nate Bargatze, Dave Attell, Ari Shaffir, Shane Gillis, Paul Virzi, Dusty Slay, John Crist, among others. KC has performed at comedy festivals around the country including Moontower Just for Laughs. She was named the Best Up-and-Coming Comedian in Nashville by the Nashville Scene Magazine, and was a semi-finalist for Stand-up NBC. She has also written and performed on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network.
Orion Levine is a stand-up comedian who was a finalist in the 2021 San Francisco International Comedy Competition. A regular performer at the San Francisco Punch Line and Cobb’s Comedy Club, he was recently featured in this year’s Big Pine Comedy Festival in San Diego.
Victoria Vincent is a rising star in the Chicago Comedy Scene. She is a healthcare worker who brings a wild card ‘Why is She Here?’ vibe to both medicine and comedy, attempting to be the blacker hairier Patch Adams someday. Vincent is a regular feature at Zanies and Laugh Factory Chicago. She is the host & producer of Don’t Tell Comedy Chicago, has opened for the likes of Cameron Esposito, Bobcat Goldthwait, and was featured in the Chicago Reader.
The New Faces of Comedy: Unrepped showcases will be taking place at Monument National: Ludger-Duvernay on Thursday, July 28 2022 at 9:30 PM.
NEW FACES: CREATORS
Adrian Bliss is a comedian, writer, and performer from London best known for his sketches on TikTok which explore everything from history to natural science to religion. Bliss’s sketches have found him 11 million followers across social media and have been featured in The Guardian, CNN and Vogue.
Alexia Dox is a French-American actress and writer, based in LA. After a few years as a sketch writer and performer at Upright Citizen’s Brigade, the pandemic quickly had her pivot into the digital-sphere of TikTok, where her off-beat and relatable sketches have garnered almost 150 million views and over 1 million followers. Her TV/streaming credits include starring as June in the YouTube Originals Series Overthinking with Kat and June, two seasons of Hulu’s improvised western comedy, Quick Draw, and writing for Nickelodeon and Lionsgate.
Grace Kuhlenschmidt is an NYC based stand-up comedian, actress and writer who was recognized by the New York Times as one of the top 7 Comedians to Watch. She recurred in the final season of Search Party which was recently released on HBO Max and also can be seen in the first season of Killing It which just finished airing on Peacock. She also appeared in the first season of Ziwe on Showtime. Kuhlenschmidt is a writer for the Audible Original series Hot White Heist to be directed by Alan Cumming and produced by Broadway Video.
Jordan Mendoza is an Asian-American TV writer, comedian, and filmmaker who will star in the upcoming Netflix series Jigsaw, a crime heist drama from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and Eric Garcia, starring Giancarlo Esposito. He’s currently a writer for FX’s Dave, and has written for Netflix’s Big Mouth, Human Resources, Showtime’s Ziwe, and Comedy Central’s Beavis and Butt-head. He created and hosted Comedy Central’s Cry Battle—a game show where whoever cries the most wins.
Joshua Neal is an actor, writer and social media content creator. In 2 years, he has accumulated 1Million followers on TikTok, 179k followers on Instagram, and 76k on Twitter. His content has been featured on popular platforms including BuzzFeed, Shaderoom and Variety. Joshua recently booked a role on a SAG film directed by & starring Tristan ‘Mack’ Wilds & P-Valley’s Shannon Thorton. He wrote a short film of his own that has amassed over 110k views on Twitter. Neal is no novice to the industry, he has been Meisner trained, booked a national commercial and can also be seen in a feature film on Amazon.
Mary Elizabeth Kelly has taken the TikTok world by storm. Kelly is an alum of the prestigious UCBNY, UCBLA and Second City improv and sketch writing programs. With her unique ‘Mouth Acting’ impressions going viral during the pandemic, she has gathered over 26 million likes on TikTok and nearly 1.5 million followers across all her social media platforms. She’s also garnered the attention of several of the celebrities she has impersonated, including Drew Barrymore, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds. This past year, Kelly headlined a one-woman show, recently wrapped the indie film How to Make Her Cheat. Kelly will be taking her one-woman show Pretty Impressive on the road this fall.
The New Faces of Comedy: Creators showcases will be taking place at Grand Salon Opera on Thursday, July 28 2022 at 1:30 PM.
NEW FACES: CANADA
Ajahnis Charley (they/them) is a Black, Non-Binary comedian who has performed on CBC Gem’s New Wave of Standup. They are a cast member of the Second City Touring Company and star in the HBO miniseries Station Eleven and Bell Media sitcom Shelved. They’ve written punch-ups for upcoming comedy series Bria Mack Gets A Life, comedy-doc Stay Tooned, and they write for Canadian news satire platforms The Beaverton and Because News. They directed the short film I AM GAY, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, which screened in the 2021 Inside Out Film Festival, and won the Inspire Award at the 2021 Caribbean Tales Film Festival where it won the Inspire Award. Their solo show THOTS & PRAYERS won awards at Toronto and Montreal Sketch Comedy Festivals. Charley is a co-founder and co-producer of the Untitled Black Sketch Project, Canada’s first all-Black sketch ensemble.
Ben Sosa Wright is a pretty, queer, and Latinx stand-up comedian, writer, and improviser from Toronto. Wright was named one of CBC’s 15 Canadian Comics To Watch in 2019. He performs in clubs all over the country and at festivals such as JFL42, Toronto’s Big City Improv Festival, Bruce McCulloch’s Young Stars Showcase, and The Museum of Comedy in London. Most recently, his podcast, Nostalgique was recently mentioned by Vulture as their comedy podcast of the week.
Clare Belford is a comedian who cut her teeth on the road all over her home province of Alberta, telling deeply personal jokes to crowds of drunk tradesmen from Fort McMurray to Red Deer. She quickly moved to the home of the nation’s largest and most competitive comedy scene, Toronto, where she spent five years honing her craft and establishing herself as a fixture in Canadian comedy. These days she continues to make waves, bringing her authentic delivery and unique brand of preposterous pragmatism to festivals including the Halifax Comedy Festival, JFL42, Field Trip Festival and North By Northeast. Her debut album, The Entire Cabbage was selected as one of the best of 2021 by NPR and can regularly be heard on SiriusXM.
Conner Christmas (he/they) was born in Calgary, and raised in High River, Alberta. They began their stand-up career while taking theatre at the University of Lethbridge, going to any open mic they could despite there not being many in the small city. After 3 years of producing shows and helping to build the comedy community in Lethbridge, Christmas moved to Calgary to get more stage time and focus on performing. You can find their face pop up in a variety of different TV series on multiple streaming services, as well as their directorial debut for Telus Storyhive premiering February 2023.
Laura Leibow has used her wit and laid-back comedic style to become an in-demand comic in the Toronto stand-up comedy scene. She has performed at festivals such as JFL42, She Devil, Icebreakers Comedy Festival, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Comedy Festival. Leibow is a dynamic performer who can expertly perform on the club circuit, in alternative rooms, and in theatres. She has impressed crowds from Toronto, to New York, to LA and has performed in legendary clubs like the Improv and Micky’s in LA and Gotham and Broadway Comedy Club in NYC. She is the editor of the comedy website “UNoriginal” and hosts two podcasts for the Canadian Jewish News. She can be heard frequently on SiriusXM and on 604 Records’ comedy compilation album “The Great Canadian Comedy Rumble.”
Malik Elassal is Lebanese Canadian stand up, writer, and actor from the streets of North East Calgary. In the past year, Elassal has won the Yuk Yuk’s top comic competition in his hometown of Calgary, recorded sets for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and CBC’s The New Wave of Standup and performed the titular track of the JFL Originals album Yeehaw Hell Yeah.
Mike Green has told jokes for years on stages all across the country. He started in Winnipeg which he will always argue has one of the strongest comedy scenes in the country, and he began learning the rules of the road a decade ago with the Raise the Woof fundraiser shows which benefit animal shelters all across Canada. He’s gone on to boost his scene in Winnipeg by producing shows like the Secret Standup Series and Comedy At the Handsome Daughter which is one of the longest running weekly shows in the country, and also tour himself as a headliner and with the show format he created, the Comedy Battle Royale, which you can watch on FibeTv1.
Wassim El-Mounzer began his comedy career like most stand ups—while teaching ESL in South Korea. He enjoyed it so much that he quit his job at “U Can English Academy” and moved back to Canada to pursue comedy more seriously. In 2018, El-Mounzer was named by the Montreal Gazette as one of the artists to watch and was featured on the BBC Arts Hour and CBC’s Laughter at the Lion D’Or. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival three times and in 2019 was the opening act for Sugar Sammy on a Canada-wide theatre tour. In 2021, he was featured on a JFL Originals comedy album recording, which can be streamed on Sirius XM Canada.
Allie Pearse is a standup comedian and writer on the award-winning TV show Letterkenny. She is the winner of JFL’s 2021 Standup & Pitch competition and has performed for tapings at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, CBC’s New Wave Of Standup, and CBC’s The Debaters. She has performed at the Limestone Comedy Festival and Sled Island Comedy Festival. Pearse has been featured on SiriusXM radio, has recorded for JFL Originals and has appeared at OFF-JFL. In September of 2022 she will be co-headlining shows at Just For Laughs Toronto.
The New Faces of Comedy: Canada showcases will be taking place at Monument National: Ludger-Duvernay on Friday, July 29 2022 at 9:30 PM.
NEW FACES: INTERNATIONAL
Anirban Dasgupta is a Kolkata-born, Mumbai-based stand-up comedian and writer with a distinct comedic style. Since leaving behind his career as a corporate salesman, Dasgupta has headlined at major comedy clubs and festivals around India and abroad. After several popular YouTube videos, he released his first stand-up special Take It Easy, in black and white on Amazon Prime Video to overwhelming acclaim. Following that, he co-wrote and co-created Afsos, a first-of-its- kind black comedy thriller series on Amazon Prime Video that was released in 2020 to rave reviews.
Blake Freeman is one of Australia’s brightest new comedians, making a name for himself with his own brand of energetic and disarmingly honest comedy. Through his youthful energy and charismatic delivery, Freeman weaves charming stories, making the intensely personal relatable. Blake won the Best Newcomer Award at the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Catherine Bohart is an award-winning comedian, writer and actor. She has fast become one of the most sought-after comedians in the UK and Ireland after her debut solo show, Immaculate, premiered at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. She returned to the festival in 2019 with her second hour-long show, Lemon, which sold out after a month-long run and received critical acclaim. Her new show, This Isn’t For You, is currently touring the UK & Ireland this year. She co-hosted BBC Sounds Podcast and Radio 4 show You’ll Do; and has appeared on multiple radio shows including The Now Show, The News Quiz, Museum of Curiosity and A Good Read. All the while, she found the time to record her stand-up special, Immaculate for Amazon Prime.
Geraldine Hickey’s deceptively effortless knack for turning low-key yarns about agapanthuses and bouncy-castles into high-stakes, endlessly funny narrative roller coasters, culminated in her receiving the Most Outstanding Show award at the 2021 Melbourne Comedy Festival. A firm favourite of and in the Australian comedy scene, Her 2019 show Things Are Going Well received a nomination for the Melbourne Comedy Festival Award for Most Outstanding Show, while she also took home the coveted comedians’ choice Piece of Wood Award. From 2016 to 2021, Hickey was a co-host on the much-revered breakfast radio show Breakfasters on RRR, and has made multiple appearances on ABC Radio, Triple M and the Hit Network. Her award-winning stand-up show What A Surprise is available to stream on Paramount Plus.
Jason Leong is one of Malaysia’s best and brightest stand-up comedians. His 2020 Netflix special Hashtag Blessed, diving into his transition from medical doctor to professional joke-teller, was a global success leading to extensive international touring. His latest live show Heaty completed a sold out run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Leong’s online stand-up clips have received tens of millions of views making him a dominant force in the Asian comedy scene. He has appeared on Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Asia and won the Hong Kong International Comedy Competition.
Michelle Brasier is a multiple award-winning actor, singer, writer and comedian. On the small screen, Brasier has featured on Network Ten’s Drunk History Australia and How To Stay Married, ABC’s Stories from Oz, Utopia, Whovians, Get Krackin’ and At Home Alone Together. She has voiced characters in Adult Swim’s YOLO: Crystal Fantasy. Brasier is widely known for her collaborations with absurdist comedy sketch group, Aunty Donna, including most recently on their smash-hit Netflix special, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun. Comedy fans will also recognise Brasier for her work in the comedy duo, Double Denim, alongside Laura Frew. In 2021, she toured her award-winning show, Average Bear, across the Australian comedy festival circuit. In the same year, Average Bear was awarded the Sydney Comedy Festival’s Director’s Choice Award and was nominated for Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Most Outstanding Show. Following this, Brasier toured her hilarious show, Reform, across Australia in 2022.
Rhys James’ sardonic wit combined with his playful style have made him a firm favourite on the British comedy scene. He’s showcased in his six critically acclaimed sell-out solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, along with his three award-nominated series for BBC Radio 4. His comedy special Rhys James: Forgives can be seen on Amazon Prime. He is best known as one of the regulars on BBC’s topical panel show Mock The Week. James will debut to US audiences as a regular panellist on The Great American Joke Off, soon to air on The CW Network.
Sophie Duker is a hysterical, intellectual new comedy voice. In 2021, she took home the Funny Women Best Comedy Writer Award, as voted by producers, head writers and industry executives. Her first stand-up hour, Venus, saw her nominated for the Best Newcomer award at the Edinburgh Fringe. Duker is a regular guest on BBC2’s Frankie Boyle’s New World Order. She hosts the official companion podcasts to both Michaela Coel’s, I May Destroy You and Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love.
Suzi Ruffell is a comedian who has had five sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, racking up critical acclaim from reviewers and audiences alike. Ruffell is now on tour with her show Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, which has gained her a nomination for Best Stand-Up Show in the National Comedy Awards 2021. She continues to grace our screens with appearances on numerous TV shows such as Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, The Jonathan Ross Show, Dating No Filter, Channel Hopping with Jon Richardson, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, The Last Leg, and There’s Something About Movies to name but a few. The 2018 release of Ruffell’s stand-up show Keeping It Classy for Live From The BBC saw a clip gaining over 44 million views on Facebook, and she was nominated for Outstanding Female Comedy Entertainment Performance in the National Comedy Awards for her hosting duties on Comedy Central’s Yesterday, Today & The Day Before in 2021.
Wary Nichen is a comedian, writer and a filmmaker. His show Nomad has taken him to different cities on four continents. Performing in English, French, Arabic, and Spanish, Nichen uses his keen sense of observation and improv skills to highlight the differences between East and West – bringing people of different backgrounds together to laugh about themselves. Switching gears after a career in telecommunications, he now appears regularly on French TV, and his political satire is often featured on francophone radio. He also writes comedy series for French and Algerian TV. His news-based jokes have made the pages of Le Monde and the New York Times.
The New Faces of Comedy: International showcases will be taking place at Monument National: Ludger-Duvernay on Friday, July 29 2022 at 7:00 PM.