This year has seen an incredible changing of the guard in the TV comedy world. Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and David Letterman have all stepped down from their desks (Colbert is taking Letterman’s old gig). Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are hanging up their anger translating suits and Kroll Show watched Bobby Bottleservice ride off into the sunset. There is room for some new voices in television comedy.
Now more than ever, it seems that comedy television is willing to take a chance on new-to-TV talent. Comedy Central alone has given a shot to a diverse array of comedians including Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Amy Schumer, Hannibal Burress, Larry Wilmore, Andy Daly, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani, Natasha Leggero, and Riki Lindhome. Both premium and network outlets have followed suit, giving platforms to comedians like John Oliver and Jerrod Carmichael, whose new NBC show, The Carmichael Show, premieres tonight at 9:30/8:30c.
Despite the presence of all of these performers on our DVRs, there is still room for more shows on this ever larger TV landscape. We now live in a world where every season brings new voices to TV that haven’t been heard before. Who will be the next to get their shot? It’s impossible to say for sure, but we can tell you about plenty of young people who deserve the chance to share their unique comedic perspective.
For years, Nancherla has been one of the hottest emerging comics in America. Her accolades read like a checklist of gigs up-and-coming comics are supposed to have under their belts: Just For Laughs Montreal and Last Comic Standing are just two of the many forums where she has excelled. Nancherla has also made inroads into television, writing for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, appearing regularly on Conan, and recently landing a job on the staff of Late Night with Seth Meyers.
As a South Asian woman, Nancherla relishes the role of an outsider in the comedy world. “I’ve always had the mindset of sticking out a little in every community I’ve been in,” she says. “I’ve never really worried about if there’s someone else that’s done this first.” She’s also quick to point out that her humor isn’t defined by her ethnicity, which is evident in her act, which covers everything from online dating to the ridiculous size of drug store receipts. She told NBC, “[We’ve] been lucky to have people break out, like Aziz Ansari and Mindy Kaling, who don’t really make [race] the focus of their act. It’s given other people the freedom to be like, that doesn’t have to define what I do.”
Fire Tweet: “Hinder: an app that locates available singles nearby who will stall your life in some significant way” (@aparnapkin)
In her short time as a correspondent on The Daily Show, Jessica Williams captured the hearts and minds of her generation. Despite Williams’ short tenure, the announcement of Jon Stewart’s departure brought with it think pieces demanding Williams be in contention to replace Stewart. Though neither Comedy Central nor Williams thought the gig would be a good fit, the popularity of Williams’ pieces on street harassment and campus sexual assault showed that she has the chops to drive her own series.
Fire Tweet: “Guys: The way you feel about dudes on the street trying to sell you their mixtape is the way we feel about men catcalling us on the street.” (@msjwilly)
In his short television career, comedian Ron Funches has quickly made a name for himself as the comic relief you never knew you needed in your life. Thanks to his work a member of the ensemble on Undateable and a regular guest on @midnight, you’ve likely seen Funches on television before. In addition to his regular gigs, Funches has made appearances around the television comedy world, showing up on Portlandia, Bob’s Burgers, and Drunk History, among other popular comedy series. Funches isn’t just an actor: He wrote for Kroll Show and is an accomplished stand-up. Given how he effortlessly commands attention whenever he’s on screen, you get the sense that it’s only a matter of time until Funches is the center of a show rather than a key piece of the ensemble.
Fire Tweet: “Haven’t had pot in a week and I can’t sleep at all. I thought I was lying putting insomnia on those medical forms but here we are.” (@RonFunches)
With years of stand-up, acting, podcasting (The Champs, with Neal Brennan), and writing credits under his belt, Kasher has recently made the move to writing for television, and has already found success. Grantland’s Dave Schilling sat down with Another Period’s Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero as they launched the series, and the two called out Kasher’s indispensable contribution to the show’s writer’s room as a major reason for its success. Though Kasher is new to TV writing, he has amassed an impressive amount of work to date, including his memoir, Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16, and two stand-up albums.
Kasher has often mined his challenging early life for material (as is evident from the title of his memoir), and if you read any of this work it is clear that he has the gifts and the stories to create a stellar TV project should he so choose. Of course, in the meantime, we wouldn’t mind if he helps cement Another Period as one of the best new comedies on TV.
Fire Tweet: “grossest pics to post in order: 4: you in first class. 3: you in private jet 2: you in private ‘screening room’ 1: your children” (@moshekasher)
For the entirety of Kroll Show’s run, Jon Daly was Nick Kroll’s right-hand man, playing some of the most memorable characters and serving as a writer on the show. Though he was deeply involved in the conception and production of Kroll Show, Daly also amassed a few dozen acting credits over the last several years. Now that Kroll Show has come to an end, it should be exciting to see where Daly pops up next. Though his guest spots on shows like Man Seeking Woman and Newsreaders have been memorable, here’s hoping he gets another chance to be a part of a show’s creative engine some day soon. While you wait for Jon Daly’s next move, you can catch him on podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang and improv4humans.
Fire Tweet: “I disagree with Trump’s ideas but I would fight to the death to defend my right to stay, dine, and golf at any of his gorgeous properties.” (@jondaly)
Though much of America has been introduced to Peretti thanks to her work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, comedy fans have been tracking her career for some time. Peretti has parlayed her success as a stand-up into a number of writing, performing, and podcasting opportunities. Like Jon Daly, Peretti worked extensively as a writer and performer on Kroll Show. She is also a veteran of the Sarah Silverman Program and Parks and Recreation writers’ rooms. Like many comedians, she is a common podcast guest, and hosts her own pod, Call Chelsea Peretti. She has also contributed writing to The Village Voice, Details, and Playgirl, among other outlets. Peretti released her most recent stand-up special, Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats, in 2014.
Fire Tweet: “I just saw a couple w a selfie stick & thought the guy was teaching the girl how to golf! wat an incredible time we live in.” (@chelseavperetti)
This year, Lauren Lapkus has been everywhere. If you’ve seen Jurassic World, Orange Is the New Black, or TBS’s new sitcom Clipped, you’ve seen Lapkus. In addition to her success as an actress, Lapkus has also done well for herself in the podcast game. After emerging as one of the most beloved guests on Comedy Bang Bang, Lapkus launched her own pod on the Earwolf network, With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus. Both podcasts involve character work where she relies on her improv background. Lapkus continues to hone her comedy chops at UCB’s L.A. locations, where she performs regularly as part of the theatre’s famous Asscat show and monthly with her all-woman group Wild Horses.
Fire Tweet: “I’m writing the next minions movie. It’s a drama and ‘Kevin’ dies in the first five minutes.” (@laurenlapkus)
It’s hard to believe that Cameron Esposito only made her television debut two years ago. In the intervening years, she has become a household name in the comedy world, and it looks like she is poised to get bigger and bigger. During her 2013 appearance on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, guest Jay Leno called Esposito, “the future of comedy,” and it looks like Leno was right. In December of 2014, Esposito released her stand-up album, Same Sex Symbol, to near-universal acclaim. In addition to continuing her impressive work as a stand-up, Esposito is known for her BuzzFeed series, “Ask A Lesbian,” her regular column with The AV Club, and her podcasts Put Your Hands Together and Wham Bam Pow.
Fire Tweet: “If it comes out quinoa is terrible for you, pls don’t tell me. The shame of eating nut sand that is also garbage would be too much.” (@cameronesposito)
As one of the most sardonic comics on Twitter, it is strange to square Mande’s online presence with the bubbly optimism of Parks and Recreation, where he served for years as part of the all-star writers’ room. Consider his work on Kroll Show as well, and you see that Mande is game to write in a variety of comedic tones. Following Mande on Twitter is a damn fulfilling experience, as his bits evolve into massive, hilarious projects. His feuds with Gilbert Arenas and Michelle Malkin, his claims to being a spokesman for La Croix sparking water, and his utter distaste for corporate Twitter accounts have added up to one of the most entertaining and thoughtful accounts we’ve seen. His career started in stand-up, where he continues to work steadily. His most recent album, entitled Bitchface, was released in March 2014.
Fired Tweet: “It feels like Meryl Streep decided to do this Ricki and the Flash movie just so she didn’t have to go to the Oscars this year.” (@joemande)
Few people on the Internet are as consistently funny as Megan Amram. Not only are her tweets included in every aggregation list, but she also pops off amazing videos like “Birth Control on the Bottom,” whenever the mood strikes. The former Parks and Recreation writer may have turned a corner with her recent book, Science for Her, which has been turned into a web series entitled “Experimenting with Megan Amram” by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls network. Now that she has experience as a TV writer and has had the opportunity to hone her personal voice, it feels like it’s only a matter of time until she makes the jump to helming her own full-length series.
Fire Tweet: “When you die every single person goes to Disneyland. For some people it’s heaven and for others it’s hell.” (@meganamram)