Once upon a time, Fahim Anwar made the leap that not many actors have had to make: he traded in a career in aerospace engineering for stand-up comedy, and he hasn’t looked back. Since then he’s been a mainstay at LA’s Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store, guest-starred on shows like Chuck and Lie to Me, and performed stand-up on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He’s got odd, in-your-face humor and isn’t afraid to riff on his Afghan heritage.
What to watch: Binge on this playlist of Anwar’s Laugh Factory stand-up videos.
Kate Berlant’s stand-up — and Twitter feed, for that matter — is a little like free-form poetry, loosely stitched together with nuggets of profound and strange wisdom. You may already recognize her from Funny or Die with fellow comedian John Early, her tour with Father John Misty, or her profile in the New York Times. Catch her onstage at ‘CommuniKate,’ her monthly show at UCB Franklin in Los Angeles.
What to watch: For starters, this Ars Nova promo clip from 2013, where Berlant masters a cadence not unlike a self-help guru stuck in an Old Spice commercial.
For a Canadian transplant, Georgea Brooks has a drawl that sounds surprisingly at home in Southern California. She’s delivered her observational humor at comedy events around the city, always having a visibly good time on the mic. When she’s not doing the stand-up circuit, Brooks co-runs Strip Comedy out of a house in Hollywood.
What to watch: This clip from The Meltdown, where she muses on summer, dating, and women’s history museums.
Dadourian’s stand-up relies heavily on kooky non-sequiturs. Just when you think you’re following his line of inquiry, he comes at you full-tilt from a bizarre and otherworldly region of his mind. Dadourian hails from Los Angeles and co-hosts a weekly comedy show called Sauce in East Hollywood.
What to watch: His stint at The Meltdown, where he keeps the audience in stitches with his enthusiasm and flamingo-like body language.
You can’t help but fall in love with the self-styled ‘kindest diva‘ of comedy. From Ethiopia by way of Seattle, Georgio dispenses street smarts cultivated in the service industry and LA stand-up scene to combat the world’s injustice and stupidity, one sassy remark at a time. He just made his big TV break last February with back-to-back appearances on Conan and Carson Daly.
What to watch: On his Conan appearance, Georgio reveals what really goes best with Himalayan sea salt.
This comedy wunderkind is only a few years past drinking age and already getting talked up, performing at Just For Laughs and on Comedy Central’s The Meltdown. Knight is like the funniest possible version of your high school class clown, cracking jokes on Kanye, Cosby, and the WNBA. He regularly hosts The Hang at the Improv Lab.
What to watch: Knight makes pop culture commentary in this clip from The Meltdown.
Randy Liedtke might look like the love child of Conan O’Brien and Zach Galifianakis, but the redheaded comedian pioneers his own unique brand of absurd. He’s appeared on Conan and Comedy Central and released his debut album this past October. Lately, Liedtke has teamed up with Brendon Walsh for The Bone Zone podcast and battled Target over the name ‘Ginger Breadington.’
What to watch: This totally bonkers emotional roller coaster of a routine in which Liedtke kind-of-proposes to his maybe-imaginary girlfriend.
Aaron Weaver lays out his no-frills societal observations in a thick, signature drawl. Having climbed the comedy ranks in Chicago, he was named a Comedy Central ‘Comic to Watch.’ Now, Weaver regularly appears at the Laugh Factory and co-produces Comedians You Should Know, a weekly stand-up event at the Hollywood Improv.
What to watch: CYSK performers acting out Weaver’s goofy Fowl City rant, where he laments about cramped and antisocial city life.
Allen Strickland Williams
Williams’s humor is a goldmine for jokes under 140 characters. He clearly loves the short and the sweet; it’s not surprising that his claim to fame is getting a standing ovation for a single joke. Williams is a member of the four-man sketch group Women Comedy, whose sketches have been featured on shows like Tosh.0 and IFC’s Comedy Crib.
What to watch: Williams’s marvelously succinct 2014 Conan stand-up, which he caps at just ’11 jokes.’
A curvy comedian with a megawatt smile, Jenny Zigrino delivers embarrassing jokes that often make her the punch line. This likable comic was rightly named one of Comedy Central’s ‘Up Next’ Comics to Watch last year. These days Zigrino tours often, appearing in Marlon Wayans’s Fifty Shades of Black and hosting the month-old Midollo Comedy event in downtown LA.
What to watch: Zigrino’s stand-up on Conan; she covers dating-related woes from plus-size body types to Hitler youth haircuts.
By Mayura Jain