TONY approved: Marina Franklin and Paul W. Downs

Two more to watch at the New York Comedy Festival.

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Marina Franklin

Who she is
A staple stand-up in New York’s club scene who earned success by getting behind countless microphones.

What she does
Dispatches correspondent videos for Leno from the streets of Harlem that are both funny and sweet; is okay with white people moving into her ’hood because now she “can get a salad.”

Why we love her
Whether lamenting her initial effort to be like the sassy comics on BET or her tendency to date the wrong men, Franklin has a voice that is self-investigating and honest. Her act is her personality, and it’s an endearing one.

Marina Franklin plays the Blue Water Grill Comedy Show on Wed 4.

Paul W. Downs

Who he is
A versatile and electric master of characters, and a rising improv star who fills the stage with his smile.

What he does
Plays a family of eight on the funniest YouTube clip we’ve seen this year; examines Ian McKellen’s angst over a rejection from Paris Hilton’s birthday party.

Why we love him
Downs disappears into the people he portrays—a peppy, teenage Disney star; Sonia Sotomayor—but you’ll never miss the singular wit behind the characterizations. Also he kisses babies inappropriately.

Paul W. Downs performs in the Deconstruction Thu 29. He also performs on most Tuesdays with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre house team Penthouse Riot.

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