Variety has chosen its 10 Comics to Watch for 2017.
The honorees will be recognized in the July 19 issue of Variety and at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal at a cocktail party on July 27, followed by a panel and showcase on July 28.
The comics are chosen by a group of Variety editors, reporters, and critics after extensive discussions with the comedy community, including those that scout, book, represent, produce, and cast comics on a daily basis.
The list began in 2000 with such now-recognizable names as Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis, and Patton Oswalt. Along the years, other honorees have included Amy Schumer, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rebel Wilson.
“Since Variety started entertainment industry’s original ’10 to Watch’ series almost 20 years ago, we’ve become the most important showcase for new names in writing, directing, acting, comedy, and more,” said Steven Gaydos, Variety’s vice president and executive editor. “This year’s ‘Comics to Watch’ is a great example of why: cutting-edge talents, exciting diversity, and original and creative voices we feel certain to shake up, invigorate, and power new films, TV shows, and more.”
The Just for Laughs Festival runs from July 12 to July 31 in Montreal and is regarded as the premier destination for comics worldwide.
“Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch is the definitive list of comedy talent that industry executives need to have in their sights,” said Paul Ronca, director of industry and special events programming and strategic partner development. “Many of the comics that have made it to this list have gone on to star on stage and in film, TV, and online. Just For Laughs is proud to partner with Variety on this initiative and excited to be providing a platform for new and emerging talent.”
Then 10 comics selected this year are:
Brian Jordan Alvarez — Alvarez writes, directs, produces, and stars in “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo,” named IndieWire’s best web series of 2016 and nominated for a 2016 IFP Gotham Independent Film Award for breakthrough series — short form. He’s been seen on The CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”
Rhea Butcher — Seen on such shows as “@midnight” and “Conan,” Butcher co-created and stars in the acclaimed Seeso series “Take My Wife” with her real-life spouse, Cameron Esposito. Her debut stand-up album, “Butcher,” was released earlier this year.
Vir Das — The star of Bollywood hits “Badmaash Company,” Das recently released the Netflix special “Abroad Understanding,” shot at a stadium in India and a club in New York.
Desus Nice and Kid Mero — Hosts of the hit podcast “The Bodega Boys” and a series of web videos for Complex Magazine, the pair currently hosts the talk show “Desus & Mero” for Viceland.
John Early — Currently onscreen in the indie hit “Beatriz at Dinner,” Early has appeared in the TBS comedy “Search Party” and Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” His solo show “Literally Me” was a New York Times critics’ pick
Tiffany Haddish — Seen on screen in last year’s Key & Peele comedy “Keanu,” Haddish is next set to star in “Girls Trip” with Queen Latifah for director Malcolm D. Lee and has a Showtime special “Tiffany Haddish: She Ready!” due this year. She is a series regular on NBC’s “The Carmichael Show.”
Hasan Minhaj — Minhaj has been a correspondent on “The Daily Show” since 2014 and earned raves for performing at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. His Netflix special “Homecoming King” premiered in May.
Esther Povitsky — A scene-stealer on The CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Povitsky also appears on Netflix’s “Love” and “Lady Dynamite.” She hosts the popular podcast “Weird Adults With Little Esther” and the TruTV series “Cocktales With Esther.”
Jesus Trejo — A “New Face” at last year’s festival, Trejo is a regular at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. He appears on Comedy Central’s “Roast Battle” and was a recurring cast member on the TBS series “Sullivan and Son.”
Liza Treyger — A “New Face” at Montreal in 2014, Treyger has appeared on “@midnight” and “Chelsea Lately” as well as C.K.’s series “Horace and Pete” and her web series “How Many Questions” with Sabrina Jalees.