I am in no means an expert, but I love comedy. My goal is to introduce young people to comedians who have given a consistently good performance.
I probably went to about 30 to 40 stand-up comedy shows in 2014. I spent the summer after I graduated college interning for a stand-up comedian, and I have been volunteering for a comedy based non-profit since last May.
To make this list of must-see emerging comics in 2015, I set a couple rules for myself: I had to see them perform live at least once and I only went to a club if I got a free cover, for the most part. I go to a show almost every time I can get in for free, but this has limited the number of comedians I have seen. On the bright side, you can probably see all of the following comedians pretty inexpensively.
1. Joe List
On Sale Soon: ‘Elderly Joe List Action Figure’ $109.99 pic.twitter.com/emQeYqh8Fj
— Joe List (@JoeListComedy) January 12, 2015
@joelistcomedy Keep your eye on Joe List because 2015 is his year. List’s comedic charm is that he is relatable. He has anxiety, self-doubt and hates meditation as much as the next person. He seems like a genuinely likeable guy and has a great ability to make fun of himself.
His jokes are all well-crafted, hysterical and filled with laugh after laugh. “He writes more punchlines than he does nervously blink, which if you’ve ever seen him face to face, you know it’s a lot,” fellow comedian Dan Soder told The Interrobang, an online publication covering comedy, last month.
Be sure to follow him on his Instagram for pics of New York City. He had a hysterical set on Late Night with David Letterman this past year and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
2. Matteo Lane
— Matteo Lane (@MatteoLane) July 5, 2013
Matteo Lane has the strongest opener I have ever seen (he has since retired this joke). I don’t want to ruin it for you when you watch it below, but he engages the audience right from the start. With Matteo Lane you are getting a true performance. His comedy is just as incredible as his singing (which he will incorporate into as many jokes as possible).
Matteo Lane has been a finalist at New York’s Funniest, a stand-up competition that is part of the New York Comedy Fest, for the past two years. It is no wonder why.
His set is always flawless and he can adapt to nearly any setting, even though every audience is different. I have seen huge names do miserably at the wrong audience. I have seen the same joke, performed the same exact way, and only work 60 percent of the time. Not with Matteo Lane. He is the most consistent performer on this list. I have never seen him have an off night. You are guaranteed a good show when he is performing. He performs frequently at NYC comedy clubs.
3. Brooks Wheelan
Brooks Wheelan is a former SNL cast member who would hate that introduction. Brooks reminds me of who I would be if I had a serious drinking or drug problem. Most of his jokes recount times from when he was high, stoned or wasted, while in a desert, in his apartment or at Bonnaroo.
Writing material is incredibly difficult – most comedians will recycle material for a long time before retiring it – maybe adding new jokes here and there, or tweaking the punch-line. That is not the case with Brooks. While some of his jokes have been consistent, most about how much he hates New York City, there is always new material popping up.
A few weeks ago I saw him on a Sunday and then on the following Tuesday. His set was still full of surprises. It is incredibly difficult to write material. I saw a show last week where one of the comedians was making fun of George Bush as president – not what I would call topical. It was clear he had been using this joke for at least eight years.
Brooks is constantly writing, rewriting, editing and improving his material. If you think he nailed a joke the first time, wait until you hear it the fourth. It is fascinating to see the progression of his jokes. Wheelan also gets my vote for funniest Twitter. Brooks Wheelan’s debut comedy album, This is Cool, Right? is available on vinyl and digital download now.
4. International Pick: Joel Dommett
Am I on a boat or is this a very casual waterskiing selfie? pic.twitter.com/poOuzbr8rp
— Joel Dommett (@joeldommett) January 23, 2015
Joel Dommett is a British stand-up comedian most famous for his role on the television show “Skins” (full disclosure: I have not seen this show). I saw him while I was in London this past winter and he is the only comedian on this list that I have only seen once.
I saw him at a small club in Kilburn called The Good Ship. He understood that you have to be able to address what the audience is thinking in order to move on with your set, which he nailed when talking about the “double denim” look he was wearing.
(Pro-Tip: When traveling in London, skip over comedy club chains which are catered to tourists and go to a smaller club such as this one to get the true British comedy experience).
I can’t even begin to tell you how hilarious he is. I literally could not sleep after I saw him because one of his jokes would pop into my head and I would begin to laugh out loud (much to the dismay of my hostel-mates who were trying to sleep).
Is there a way to set up a Google alert for when he is performing in the States? If so, can someone sign me up for it. He may not be able to tell the difference between a.m. and p.m., but his jokes are well-written, smart and impossible to repeat without laughing.
If you are going to be in the UK soon make the effort to see him perform. In the meantime, clips can be found online.
So there you have it, these are the comedians you need to see in 2015. Feel free to reach out to me for information on getting free tickets to comedy clubs in New York City.