L.A. comedians to watch in 2020
Los Angeles’s stand-up scene once had a reputation as slick and industry-friendly. But now the scene is large and diverse enough to comprise every style of solo comedic performer imaginable. We’ve tried to capture as much of that spectrum as possible in this year’s list of the up-and-coming stand-ups making a splash here. In Sunset Strip clubs or private garages, delivering jokes or performance art, and whether having 500 or 50K Instagram followers, these ten comics make us laugh—very hard. At our annual live show, they’ll make you laugh, too. Photographs by Mandee Johnson Photography | @mandeephoto
Comedians to watch in 2014: Eleven up-and-coming local performers
We’re experiencing a golden age of comedy—and living on its ground zero. Since Los Angeles has Hollywood, the best and brightest comics eventually head West to work or find work, and meanwhile ply their trades onstage, providing local audiences with a vibrant, diverse and cutting-edge comedy scene. While it’s thrilling to catch bona fide celebrities when they return to the live stage, it’s more exciting to witness the moment your favorite up-and-coming performers blow up. So click through the slideshow and peek into the minds of 11 local comedians who are hitting it big, right now.
L.A. comedians to watch in 2019
L.A. abounds with clubs and bars where comedians work relentlessly, night after night. Whether they bomb or kill, they improve, slowly. It’s grueling work and pays off for only a handful—and we’re betting that’ll be the case for these local standouts. Here’s our annual list of the best talent breaking through right now. See our picks perform onstage during Time Out L.A.’s Comics to Watch LIVE. Photographs by Mandee Johnson Photography | @mandeephoto
L.A. comedians to watch in 2018
From stage bulbs at the Laugh Factory to clip lamps on ceiling beams in dim Silver Lake bars, Los Angeles is always shining lights on comedians. Although once considered to be a stepchild of the New York scene, Los Angeles’ comedy community is now a world-class incubator, churning out tomorrow’s marquee talent. With so many performers (whether stand-up, improv, podcast or YouTube stars) and countless and constantly shifting venues, how does a fan locate the best up-and-coming talent? Start here, with our annual list of breaking talent. Wherever these 10 comics go in 2018, the light will follow them. See our picks perform live during A Night with Time Out L.A.’s Must-See Comedians of 2018. Photographs by Jakob N. Layman.
L.A. comedians to watch in 2017
Los Angeles has long been a breeding ground for great young comics who go on to hit it big (whether stand-up, improv, podcast or YouTube stars). These 10 comedians are poised to be the cream of 2017's comedy crop; here's who to keep an eyes on this year, and where to do it.
LA comedians to watch in 2016
This was a banner year for the local comedy scene. In clubs, sketch and improv theaters, and the back rooms of dive bars all across Los Angeles, new voices have earned and claimed the responsibility of shaping the way we laugh for many years to come. If the career trajectories of the comedians on our 2014 and 2015 lists are any indication, you'll be seeing the following 10 faces on billboards soon. First, though, since they each spend so much time being funny in LA, we asked them to tell us what, in their opinion, is the funniest thing about LA. Enjoy! RECOMMENDED: More 2016 predictions
The best local charities to donate to in LA
Although the world may see Los Angeles as a city obsessed with wealth and celebrity, we locals know how philanthropically minded most Angelenos actually are. There are dozens of exceptional local charities to donate to in LA, and although they're all worthy of our time and donations, it's inevitable that some get more press and attention others. We are thankful for the work done by the Los Angeles Mission, the Downtown Women's Center, Homeboy Industries, LA Food Bank, Baby2Baby, LA Conservancy and the so many other volunteer opportunities that you're hopefully already involved with in LA. But if you want to spread the wealth during the holiday season or year-round, here are 10 fantastic local organizations in alphabetical order that your radar may have missed.
Comedians to watch in 2015
It's clear that 2014 was a banner year for comedy. The comics we told you to watch last year saw even more successes, and a whole new batch started blowing up, too. Here's our annual list of who to know about, laugh at (with, whatever) and follow obsessively. And hey, laughter is ab work, so consider this list one of your New Year's resolutions. RECOMMENDED: 12 local bands that will hit it big in 2015 Also, check out the rest of our predictions for 2015
Listings and reviews (11)
Joel Kim Booster
Booster is the sort of comic who gives the impression he was destined for the stage. Here from Chicago, by way of New York, he won over the indie scene with a skeptical point of view, tight jokes and a quiet charisma—all of which he’s now taken to the big screen.
Youssef’s comedy is about much more than his Muslim American experience. But it is his iconoclastic honesty on that topic that landed him a lauded show on Hulu, Ramy. Meanwhile, his work as a comedic writer competes with a budding acting career.
If not for her explosively popular 2010 song/short, “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury,” about a sexy sci-fi nerd, Rachel Bloom might not have shaped a career around singing. Bloom created and starred in the Golden Globe-winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which followed the misadventures of a woman who drops her life to stalk an ex. One never feels as if Bloom is capitalizing on sex, or pandering with it. It’s simply a topic she enjoys and isn’t afraid to tackle.
You may not know Quinones, but you probably know Creeper, one of his characters from his viral faux work-out video “Cholofit.” Quinones’s characters (mostly based on family members) are subtle, specific and not the least bit cynical—and are all the more funny that way.
The word “raw” gets misused in comedy to describe an act that is either ribald or politically incorrect. But Gill’s act feels raw in its refreshing lack of affectation or veneer. In a town where many performers tune their instruments to an industry standard, Gill doesn’t seem to be performing for anyone’s gaze. It is refreshing and rare.
Ross is a patron saint of the L.A.’s indie stand-up scene, running some of its most iconic shows, including Good Heroin and the now-defunct Holy Fuck. His humor is simultaneously despairing and hopeful, offering lessons from someone who calls himself “loud and smart and dumb.” See him record his first album with a pair of shows at the Echo in February.
James Austin Johnson
Johnson pairs supremely silly conceits with deadpan delivery (his impression of Bob Dylan’s cell phone will stay with you). But he has the depth of perspective and unique experience to back up the high jinx—he is currently shopping around a show about his background as a Christian comedian in the South.
Weldon’s first album, the seven-minute vinyl record Uncomfortable at Best, is aptly titled. This so-called unease is part of the skewed perspective that makes her observations so funny. Look for the Temecula native on the upcoming Heathers reboot and grab her next album, Girlfriend at the Time, coming out later this year.
Zach Noe Towers
If you recognize Zach from his short film “Killer Friends” (which won the overall audience award at Dances with Films), know that he is not the infuriatingly undermining character he plays. Rather, his stand-up mostly makes fun of himself—and of aging gay men in Palm Springs, which may one day be himself.
The South L.A. and Inglewood native says he moves easily between urban stand-up rooms and indie shows because he has juggled those two worlds his whole life. His endearing stand-up tackles the experience of being a kid in gang culture who liked comic books and punk rock instead.
American Town Hall
Mary Grill, Matt Hobby and Cass Bugge write, produce and host the three-years-running character showcase American Town Hall. Each show is a fictional town hall meeting set in a different city, and all of the show's guests perform as imagined people making requests or airing grievances. The three hosts play officials leading the meetings, always with goofiness and tenderness.
Meet the L.A.-based comedians behind these animated characters
Meet some of L.A.'s top voiceover actors, who help us guess which local comedy shows would have their animated characters in stitches. Though these local comedic voice actors are technically allowed to work in their pajamas, they still love to get out of the house and explore L.A.—just like we imagine their animated characters would. Hit up the comedy shows that would undoubtedly be these characters' favorites. Granny, Squidbillies (Dana Snyder) Photograph: Shutterstock; Illustration: Courtesy Adult Swim's Squidbillies Snyder got his break when Dave Willis, co-creator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies, called their mutual friend to ask "if she knew anyone with a voice that sounded like 'his mouth writes checks his body can't cash'" recalls Snyder. The voice of MasterShake (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and Granny (Squidbillies) adds, "The rest is history." Prediction: Granny is a total nymphomaniac. We could see her eating up the real-life sex stories at Stripped Stories. And then, wanting things to get even dirtier and sillier, she would swing by Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction. Louise Belcher, Bob's Burgers (Kristen Schaal) Photograph: Frank Micelotta/FOX; Illustration: Courtesy Bob's Burgers The character Louise Belcher on Bob's Burgers is a small child with a big attitude, which Schaal perfectly captures. Schaal, who also stars as the voice of Sarah Lynn on BoJack Horseman, has a unique sound that was destined for fame; once you're familiar with her voice, you
L.A.'s funniest comedy shows are happening in regular folks' backyards, not clubs
Yep, you read that right. L.A.'s most innovative new comedy shows are happening in regular folks' backyards, as organizers seek out unique alfresco venues across the city, from Silver Lake to Venice. The beer and laughs flow freely, and there's always a house party to close out the evening—even the opossums are invited. Here are four of our favorites. Brunch On the first Sunday of the month, comedians Peggy Sinnott and Zach Noe Towers host comics in the cozy backyard of a Los Feliz artists' collective, where muffins, pastries and mimosas are available by donation. Furthering the afternoon brunch theme is the relaxed vibe of the show: Only four or five comics fill the bill so that each can do a longer set, while several in the audience lounge on blankets or in beach chairs they bring from home (about 40 chairs are also provided). Facebook.com/brunchla. Nov 6, Dec 4 at 1pm; $5. Brew Haha You don't have to play each night's prescribed drinking game ("drink whenever a comic does an impression!") to enjoy this always-packed and three-years-running show, but joining in does add to the whole parents-out-of-town vibe. Comic Brad David Silnutzer hosts stand-ups in front of 120 seats in co-producer Marissa Gallant's Silver Lake backyard; the show also screens via projector to 40 more seats stationed in the front yard. Beer and liquor are on offer (and tips are welcome), or you can BYOB. Facebook.com/brewhahacomedyshow. Oct 15 at 8:30pm; free. BYO'B When Joe O'Brien noticed his
LA's cutest comedian couples who perform together
Couples who joke together stay together. Avoid the schmaltz in Valentine's Day this year and celebrate by checking out these five local comedian couples who share in each other's shticks. Rhea Butcher & Cameron Esposito This recently married duo of stand-ups hosts a showcase together every week. One of the most popular tickets in town, Put Your Hands Together, regularly sells out, and we'd bet Butcher and Esposito's charming, almost vaudevillian banter is part of the reason why. "We're sort of like Burns and Allen," Butcher says. "But with two Allens." The two even have their own self-styled menswear pin-up calendar, Butch Up. See them every Tuesday at 8pm at UCB Franklin, and listen to their weekly podcast. Matt Hobby & Mary Grill While onstage, Hobby and Grill are usually pretending to be other people. They cohost (along with Cass Bugge) the character showcase American Town Hall. But in their intimate, stripped-down web series, Matt and Mary Forever, you'll get the real deal on their marriage—or at least the funny parts. See them perform once a month at the Copper Still, and listen to their web series. Kurt Braunohler & Lauren Cook Although Cook is an actor and storyteller and Braunohler is a stand-up, the two have found several ways to collaborate. Both are bracingly honest, and you can learn more than you're comfortable with about their marriage by listening to their funny and insightful podcast, Wedlock. They have also conceived of and designed an upcoming stunt that is
9 things I took from 'On the Road: Gloria Steinem in conversation with Melissa McCarthy'
Last night, Melissa McCarthy admitted to having drawn little hearts throughout her copy of Gloria Steinem's latest book, My Life on the Road (Random House; $28), assigning the doodles to quotes or thoughts that resonated with her. The two women sat in conversation last night inside the stunningly renovated Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. If you weren't among the wide range of women or the sprinkling of men in attendance, here is your highlight reel. 1. Best exchange: McCarthy: "I've got 45 years of questions for her, guys." Steinem: "It's OK because I have 81 years of answers." McCarthy: "I wish she'd dropped her mic and walked off stage." 2. Best plans for vandalism: While speaking of her interest in and admiration for ancient cultures, Steinem admitted that on every Columbus Day, she is tempted to hang a sign that reads Murderer on the statue in Columbus Circle. McCarthy pledged that whenever Steinem decides to make good on this plan, she will help. 3. Funniest form of activism: McCarthy shared that she called Merriam-Webster earlier this week in response to reading in Steinam's book that the venerable dictionary includes very different definitions for adventurer and adventuress (the latter of which is "a female adventurer; especially: one who seeks position or livelihood by questionable means"). First, she asked Stephen Perrault, the dictionary's humorously titled director of defining, if he wears a wizard hat. Then she promised to call back every six we