With all the incredible comedic talent that has emerged in the past few years, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. You probably know comedy powerhouses like Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer and Louis CK but there are so many more talented, funny people that you should be aware of. In recent years, more and more people have gotten exposed to a new generation of comedians by watching specials on Netflix and listening to podcasts. This has created a sort of comedy boom wherein comics are capable of cultivating a fan base using their various social media platforms.
The following list includes a variety of hilarious stand-ups who deserve real, wide-spread acclaim. Some of these comics are more well-known than others and some are truly on the precipice of breakout success. The selected comics come from a variety of backgrounds and employ a variety of comedic styles. Check out the list to have some laughs and get familiar with this awesome group of stand-up comedians.
10. Beth Stelling
Beth Stelling is a Los Angeles-based comic with a really bright future. Originally from Ohio, Beth got her comedy chops in Chicago doing stand-up and studying improv at The Annoyance Theater. In 2010, she was named “Best Stand-up Comedian in Chicago” by The Chicago Reader and later she was selected as a “New Face of Comedy” at Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival. Beth has appeared on a bevy of late night TV shows, including Conan, The Pete Holmes Show, @midnight, Chelsea Lately and, recently, Jimmy Kimmel Live. Beth is an unassuming lady with an acerbic, biting wit. Judging from her resume, expect Beth’s career to really take off in 2016 (much like Amy Schumer’s did in 2015). Check out Sterling’s set on Jimmy Kimmel below.
9. Ron Funches
Ron Funches is an incredibly-talented and funny guy. Aside from his burgeoning stand-up career, Funches also stars in the NBC sitcom Undateable. He has also contributed to the Kroll Show as a writer and actor and starred alongside Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in Get Hard. The Southern California-based Funches is a regular guest (and winner) on the comedy gameshow @midnight and a huge fan of professional wrestling. Funches can be described as a gentle giant, a big guy with an even bigger heart. He recently recorded his debut album, The Funches of Us, live at Denver Comedy Works. Check out Ron’s performance on Conan below.
8. Jerrod Carmichael
This year has been a stellar year for Jerrod Carmichael. After releasing his Spike Lee-directed HBO special Love at the Store, he inked a deal to create an original sitcom based on his life. The show, aptly titled The Carmichael Show, is set to premiere on August 26 on NBC. But don’t get it twisted, the Winston-Salem bred Carmichael is first and foremost a stand-up comic. Carmichael has a fearless and visionary comedic mind (though some purists fear that a network sitcom may sterilize his voice). Nonetheless, expect to see big things from Carmichael in 2015 and beyond.
7. Brandon Wardell
After being featured on Bob Odenkirk’s album, Amateur Hour, Brandon Wardell’s career has really taken off. Shortly After dropping out of college and moving from D.C. to L.A., Wardell has cultivated a particular comedic brand.
In addition to doing stand-up at a variety of L.A. hotspots (Meltdown, UCB), Brandon also contributes to Vice, writing articles with titles like Brandon Wardell’s Guide to Sex with Millenials. In all fairness, Brandon is a millennial icon-in-the-making and it’s no surprise that he’s also one of the most consistently-funny stand-ups on Twitter. Aside from comedy, Brandon is a connoisseur of rap music and an avowed Drake super fan. He also has a rap crew (with his friend Drew Millard) named Nice Boys. Their debut mixtape, Yeezus 2, was due out this summer. In addition, Brandon DJ’s under the name Teen Party.
6. Phoebe Robinson
Phoebe Robinson is an incredibly smart and talented young comic. She has appeared as a contestant on Last Comic Standing and, more recently, as a guest on Late Night with Seth Myers. This past year, Phoebe toured as the main support for Broad City’s nationwide tour (she has appeared on the show, as well). Phoebe also manages her website, www.blaria.com, where she helps readers see “the world through the eyes of a Blaria (Black Daria).” In addition to the site, she also hosts a podcast of the same name. Robinson is a dedicated comedian and social commentator who is primed for huge success.
5. Nate Bargatze
Nate Bargatze is a true darling of the comedy world. The Tennessee native and Vanderbilt super fan has been a respected stand-up for years – he’s had a Comedy Central Presents special and has done almost every major late night show. Marc Maron, comedian and host of the WTF podcast, has called Bargatze a “comic who should be big.” It comes as no surprise that Bargatze has won both the New York and Boston Comedy Festival (in the same year). Despite all of this praise, and a successful record, Bargatze still primarily performs on the club circuit. He’s also a huge supporter of US troops, having performed in Iraq and Kuwait on multiple times.
4. Rory Scovel
Rory Scovel is a rare comedic talent. He perfectly mixes his impeccable joke writing skills with an absurdist, almost Kaufman-esque twist. Although Rory has gained a lot of notoriety within the comedy world, he has yet to find any real, mainstream success. His TV credits are limited although he has been invited to perform stand-up on a variety of major late night shows (Fallon, Ferguson, Conan). This makes sense though, Rory is easily one of the funniest contemporary comedians in the country. His live shows are regularly lauded as pure comedic bliss. Rory has this special skill of deeply connecting with his audiences. During his performances he seems very present and in the moment, often doing off the cuff bits. The Greenville, South Carolina native has shared the stage with the likes of Louis C.K. and Daniel Tosh. Check out Rory killing it on Conan.
3. Geoff Tate
Geoff Tate is a hardworking touring comic who has yet to get much mainstream exposure. But that doesn’t mean he’s not incredibly funny. Geoff is a frequent (and favorite) guest on Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies podcast as well as one of comedy’s funniest lesser-known stars. Geoff tackles mundane issues and everyday concerns in his perfect aloof, stoney voice. He uses his tumblr page to write blog posts about a variety of subjects, ranging from movie reviews of Dane Cook’s Good Luck Chuck to Derrick Rose buzzer-beaters. Geoff is a pure stand-up who truly deserves a new level of notoriety.
2. Pete Davidson
If you know Pete Davidson you probably know him as the gawky teenager who did a few stand-up bits on Weekend Update last year. Pete was actually hand-picked to become a featured player by SNL patriarch Lorne Michaels and is the youngest member of the current cast. Although the Staten Island native wasn’t elevated to superstar status after his first year on SNL, he was able to score a great role as a result of that casting. Davidson played a small part in this summer’s breakout comedy, Trainwreck, as Bill Hader’s super stoned patient. Pete also performed as part of Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber this past year. At the taping, Davidson was so starstruck by Bieber that he broke down and admitted to being a big fan of the singer’s. Expect more great things from this very talented 21-year-old as he’s primed to begin his second season as part of the Saturday Night Live cast.
1. Junior Stopka
Junior Stopka is a Chicago-based comedian who has been working hard for years. Unfortunately, he’s still relatively unknown. Stopka looks like he could be in a metal band and he talks like a sure-minded midwestern tough guy. He’s so good that his comedy remains laugh-out-loud funny even when he’s cheering Ron Paul after talking about slitting women’s throats (I know, right?). His alternative material is undercut by his impeccable delivery and stage presence making his often off-putting subject matter seem accessible and effortlessly funny. Stopka hasn’t had much mainstream exposure, although he has been featured on Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground on Comedy Central. Junior can also be seen every Tuesday night at The Celtic Crown in Chicago.