Variety has chosen its 10 Comics to Watch for 2018.
The honorees will be profiled in the July 18 issue of Variety and at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal at a cocktail party on Thursday, July 26, followed by a panel and showcase on Friday, July 27.
The standups and comedy creatives 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.
Variety launched the list in 2000 with such now-recognizable names as Zach Galifianakis and Patton Oswalt. Over the years, other honorees have included Tiffany Haddish, Hasan Minhaj, Amy Schumer, Kumail Nanjiani.
“It’s hard to remember a more unsettled time for the business of comedy. From the Trump Effect to the digital disruption of normal business models, while the causes are widely discussed and debated, the solution is always the same: laughter,” said Steven Gaydos, Variety’s vice president and executive editor. “Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch enters its second decade with the same mission it began with: finding the newest, funniest, freshest and most provocative and bracing comics across the comedy scene and showcase them with our partners at epicenter of funny, the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.”
The Just for Laughs Festival runs from July 11 to July 29 in Montreal.
Said Paul Ronca, director of industry and special events programming and strategic partner development for the festival, “We look forward to welcoming the 2018 Variety 10 Comics to Watch to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal this July. So many great performers who we feel will be stars in the near future like many past ‘10 to Watch’ alumni.”
Then 10 comics selected this year are:
Joel Kim Booster – Booster recently released the comedy album “Model Minority” and recorded a special for “Comedy Central Presents. He’s appeared on “Conan” and “Comedy Knockout” and written for “Billy on the Street.”
Darren Knight – Knight’s character “Southern Momma” has more than half a 750M views across multiple social media platforms and has played 175 shows and sold over 200K tickets in under two years. A Documentary about his rapid rise to stardom “Southern Momma: The Darren Knight Story” is currently available on Amazon and iTunes.
Sam Jay – Currently a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” Jay has been seen in the series “Nobodies” and on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Last year she released her Comedy Central special and has an upcoming special on Netflix. Her debut standup album “Donna’s Daughter” will be distributed by Comedy Central Records this summer.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle – Hulu just ordered 10 episodes of “PEN15” starring the duo (who also co-created with Sam Zvibleman.) Erskine will next be seen in the films “Wine Country” with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and “Plus One.” As an actress, Konkle has been seen in “Shameless” and “Man Seeking Woman.”
Hari Kondabolu – Already winning accolades for his documentary “The Problem with Apu,” his stand-up special “Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives” is now on Netflix. He also co-hosts the podcasts “The Bugle” and “The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast.”
Amanda Seales – Seales is the creator and host of the live game show “Smart, Funny & Black,” which will be going on tour this year. She appears on “Insecure” and recently appeared on “Black-ish” and lent her voice to “Animals.”
Dulcé Sloan – Sloan joined “The Daily Show” as a correspondent last year and has quickly become a fan favorite. She’s previously appeared on “Conan” and “Comedy Knockout.”
Taylor Tomlinson – Tomlinson began doing standup at age 16 and has appeared on “Last Comic Standing,” “Conan” and “Last Call with Carson Daly.” She recently sold a show based loosely on her life to ABC and her quarter-hour Netflix special will be seen later this year.
Julio Torres – As a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” Torres is responsible for the “Melania Moments” digital shorts, among others. He’s been seen on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers”
Jaboukie Young-White – A writer on “Big Mouth” and “American Vandal,” Young-White has been seen on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and in the movies “Rough Night” and “Set It Up.”