Laugh masters flirt with fame

Determining who or what is funny is a highly subjective matter. One person’s laugh riot might engender a mute response in another. There’s no accounting for taste. So we left it to the tastemakers — agents, managers, talent bookers and creative execs in network and cable TV — to guide us in the right direction.

These pros, who make it their business to discover, nurture and develop comic talent, suggested who they felt are either the hottest up-and-comers, or deserving of wider recognition. At some point we at Variety had to narrow down the pool to 10 distinctive voices.

Their talent not only reflects the current zeitgeist of edgy humor that pushes the envelope, it’s also rooted in the tradition of their predecessors who laid the groundwork and expanded the boundaries of comedy. While Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch all toil in various disciplines, what they all have in common is courage, determination and a relentless pursuit of the elusive laugh.

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