“You make people laugh growing up and stuff,” says Bargatze in his signature laid-back drawl, talking about his first forays into performing. “And you just hope it translates over to people you don’t know.” Bargatze was 23 years old with no standup experience, reading water meters in Nashville, Tenn., when a friend asked if he wanted to move to Chicago and take Second City classes. Bargatze remembers thinking — insert shrug here — “all right, I’ll go.”
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 native Angeleno has been called a lot of names, including “an absurdist” and “an avant-garde theater artist,” since she started doing standup at 17. “It’s all flattering, but I definitely identify as a standup comedian before anything else,” says Berlant, whose act showcases a unique mashup of styles that include the physical comedy of Lucille Ball (one of her idols) alongside more cerebral, stream-of-consciousness explorations of various personas.
YouTube Star Breaks Stereotypes About German Humor
The 33-year-old YouTube star is single-handedly demolishing any lingering misconceptions the world may have about Teutonic stiffness in the humor department. The hyper, hip German comedian-actor-DJ-musician has over 70 million YouTube views and his channel (600K-plus subscribers) features such wacky vlogs as an Auto-Tune cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” (3 million views and nominated for a Streamy last year).
Not every comic gets the opportunity to reinvent himself. For Roy Haylock, that chance came a year ago when he won the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a coup that propelled the scathingly funny standup from cabaret act to arena superstar, selling out venues all over the country on his hit “Rolodex of Hate” tour. But the real change occurred 19 years earlier when New Orleans-raised Haylock, the son of a Cuban mother and Honduran father, was reborn onstage as Bianca Del Rio: big hair, heavy makeup, major attitude — which Haylock describes as “a cross between Bozo and Joan Crawford,” only funnier.
The Kansas native, who describes her style as “punk-rock cabaret, last-call-getting-to-know-you,” says she “stumbled” into comedy. “I’m more of a cabaret performer and singer who happens to be funny,” she explains. “I still think of myself as primarily a singer.” Pals and supporters like Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow obviously think otherwise. Schumer regularly showcases Everett’s comedic talents on “Inside Amy Schumer,” and Apatow cast her in “Trainwreck” — “I play a drunk, horny suburbanite,” she reports proudly.
A tall blonde with a dark sense of humor, Glaser doesn’t pull any punches onstage. “I like to talk about sex, my romantic life and being a woman,” she says. “And I’m not trying to shock — I’m just being honest.” The 31-year-old Ohio native’s no-holds-barred approach is paying off big this year. First up, she’s in “best friend” Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck,” playing a “Stepford Wife type, who’s disgusted by Amy.” Then she stars in her first one-hour standup special this fall for Comedy Central, showcasing material she’s honed on the road over the past three years.
If you’ve ever seen a comicbook character swear, then you know what a “grawlix” is: That’s the technical term for those wonky symbols (e.g. “$#@%!!”) that appear in place of profanities in cartoon talk balloons. It’s also the moniker Denver standup trio Adam Cayton-Holland, Ben Roy and Andrew Orvedahl chose when launching an online sketch-comedy series to accompany their live shows. “It’s obscure and pretentious, just like us,” jokes Cayton-Holland (the one with the beard).
“The videos were originally intended just to be filler during our live show,” adds Roy (the one with all the tattoos), “and then it eventually became the reason people were coming.”
Guerrilla Gamers ‘n Geeks Troupe Blew Up on Internet
When San Diego high school friends Rocco Botte, Derrick Acosta and Shawn Chatfield started a local public-access TV show in 2003 to showcase their comedy skit videos about classic videogames, they also unwittingly became Internet video pioneers. “Public-access was our only outlet,” Acosta recalls. “There was no YouTube back then; we thought, ‘Let’s promote our TV show by putting our clips on the Internet.’” When those clips blew up, the trio quickly realized that the Internet was the way to go. Since then, Mega64 has released DVDs and created a wide range of podcasts, promos, faux-promos and commercials, all bearing its stylistically unique take on things.
With his New York-centric stoner humor (see his “finger-in-my-pocket” subway bit on YouTube) and born-and-raised Queens accent, it’s no wonder the actor (“Rapturious”) and standup is known as one of New York’s funniest. He’s a regular at clubs and was featured in the New York Comedy Festival’s fifth annual Comics to Watch list. And now, as a new correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore,” Velez has also made the jump to “Cuba expert,” at hand for expert foreign relations analysis as needed.