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10 Comics to Watch: ‘People Are Talking’ About Rising Star Tone Bell

Tone Bell tried stand-up comedy for the first time in 2008. He had just moved to a new city, Dallas, and was trying to make friends. At the time he was working in marketing and sales for Anheuser-Busch, but gradually his career ambition shifted. A few years later he decided to pursue comedy full time in Los Angeles. He remembers thinking, “If I’m going to do something stupid, I’ve got to do it right now.” But Bell’s risk is paying off, as he has gracefully metamorphosed from half-hearted corporate drone to full-fledged comedian.

The “major change” in his life came when he won NBC’s “Stand Up for Diversity” showcase in 2011, which earned him a development deal with the network. Since then, he has racked up a number of television credits, including a co-star turn on NBC’s short-lived legal comedy “Bad Judge,” a role in NBC’s upcoming comedy series “People Are Talking” and an untitled project he is developing at FX that he will write, produce and star in. He has also appeared on shows including “Chelsea Lately” and Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele.”

Considering his late start in the industry, Bell believes his business savvy is part of what has accelerated his climb to the top. After all, those years working in marketing had to have been good for something. And no matter what comes next, for now Bell is enjoying the ride. “You set goals, and think about stuff you want to cross off the list,” he says. “And no sh–, they’ve all happened way quicker than I ever imagined.”

Reps: Agency: Innovative Artists; Management: Black Box; Lawyer: Jackoway, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Austen, Mandelbaum, Morris & Klein
Influences: George Carlin, Sinbad and Patrice O’Neal

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