10 Comics to Watch

Growing up splitting time between a hippie mom’s world travel and his dad’s New Jersey junkyard inspired comedy … and confusion. “I always felt outside the box as a person,” says the 33-year-old Los Angeles standup-circuit denizen. “My mother was wrapped up with this commune/cult. I was in India as a kid. You’re around these people with these ethereal ideas … then I’d go back to the junkyard. It was a strange dichotomy. It left me with the desire to figure stuff out.”

In fact, Mom’s a shrink — something Davidoff seems to work into every session. In one of his more well-worn bits, Davidoff shrugs off his mother’s dire warning that one day the marijuana could be all gone … after a beat, his dismissiveness gives way to panic: “Really? You think the pot could run out?”

Besides the alchemy of turning pathology into standup, Davidoff trained at the William Esper Studio in New York, and he recently had a big dramatic role supporting Mark Wahlberg in the Disney’s “Invincible.”

“If you can be one of these Robin Williamses or Jamie Foxxes, you can live in both worlds,” he says.

Buzz: Davidoff’s half-hour Comedy Central special aired in January, and he’s set to play a quirky cop in “Raines,” an NBC detective drama starring Jeff Goldblum bowing in March.

He also just hooked up with Tony Spiridakis and Chazz Palminteri to pen a comedy pilot for CBS.

Talkshow rounds have included “Last Call With Carson Daly” and “Chappelle’s Show,” and he returns to “The Tonight Show” next month.

Meanwhile, he’s done well with commercial work — among his 10 national spots is a Budweiser Super Bowl ad last year.

References: “It blew me away his comedy was at the same level (as his acting),” Spiridakis says. “He does things that (Richard) Pryor used to do. There’s something in that guy that’s kind of brilliant, kind of mad, but he can put you at ease enough to laugh.”

Adds Laugh Factory impresario Jamie Masada: “His likability is unbelievable, and it comes from his vulnerability on the stage.”

Fallback plan: “What would I have been besides a comic? A criminal. I don’t know. Comedy is a priority almost on a therapeutic level.”

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