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There's never been a time we've so desperately needed to laugh. It feels like the world is crumbling around us, each day bringing some new dire news, usually relating to the new administration. Over the past year, as we've watched out country spiral seemingly out of control, it's been the comedians who have helped us make sense of what's going on—by making jokes of it all, but also by making us think about the world around us.
You're probably already familiar with a lot of the more outspoken jokesters, like Michael Ian Black and Patton Oswalt, but there are a slew of up-and-comers you should know this year. We've compiled 10 comedians to watch in 2017. Because trust us: you're going to need some levity.
Matthew Broussard (@mondaypunday)
Matthew Broussard has built his stand-up routine on the premise that he's aware of the fact he "looks like a douchebag." In fact, the comedian recently took John Mayer to task during Comedy Central's Roast Battle, telling the musician that listening to Mayer's music taught him that "you can be funny while staying true to yourself as a cocky, pretentious douchebag." The L.A.-based Broussard, who got his comedic start in Houston, has appeared on Conan, Comedy Central's Half Hour, and Adam Devine's House Party, and draws weekly puns for his web comic Monday Punday. His stand-up style is jovial, self-deprecating, and very witty. This tweet, from 2015, sums up his aesthetic: "There are no words to describe how badly I need a thesaurus right now."
James Davis (@theejamesdavis)
James Davis has made social media even funnier with his original Comedy Central digital series Swag-A-Saurus with James Davis, which takes on slang terms like "fetty" and "sus." Next up the comedian, who grew up in South Central L.A., is developing a primetime series for the network currently dubbed Hood Adjacent. He also hosts a weekly comedy show called Urban Dictionary at the Nerdist Showroom in L.A., where he's known for exploring the overlap of urban and mainstream comedy. In one of his best known bits, Davis discusses his role as a "token black friend," in which he notes how honored he feels: "I'm their Lebron."
Michelle Buteau (@michellebuteau)
New Jersey-born comedian Michelle Buteau is lively with a big personality, making her appearances memorable—no matter how short they are. She's been on Key & Peele, The Eric Andre Show, Enlisted, and VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live, and she performs stand-up regularly in New York and on tour. Buteau isn't afraid to bring up race or politics onstage, and she has taken some seriously solid digs at Trump on Twitter ("The only tremendous job Trump has created for me is writing jokes about him").
Naomi Ekperigin (@blacktress)
Naomi Ekperigin has written for most of your favorite comedy shows, including the most recent seasons of Broad City and Difficult People. She's appeared on VH1 and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and performed her stand-up around the country. She is vocal about her political beliefs, especially on Twitter, and is good at balancing humor with a social message. Earlier this year she made her goal for 2017 known, tweeting, "I don't want to write comedy anymore, I want to perform it. I'm gonna put that into the universe!" Hopefully that means we'll be seeing a lot more of her—and her jokes—this year.
Kate Berlant (@kateberlant)
Kate Berlant is both a comedian and an actress, and she's appeared on Netflix's sketch show The Characters, as well as The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail. Her most recognizable work might be her collaborative partnership with John Early. The pair have a snarky rapport that skewers both themselves and those around them, and they recently unveiled a five-episode video project called 555. Berlant, who recently moved to L.A. from New York, has a charming, sometimes cutting demeanor that is super compelling to watch (and to read when she tweets things like, "Taking my Trump impeachment gown to the cleaners tmrw").
Joel Kim Booster (@ihatejoelkim)
Joel Kim Booster starts off his Conan stand-up sets by noting, "My name, it's very strange. It does not match my face." He explains it's because he was adopted by a Chicago couple from Korea. Now Booster is based in Brooklyn, where he's written for Billy on the Street and for a Comedy Central pilot called Problematic with Moshe Kasher. Booster is currently developing a TV series called Birthright, which is based on his experience as a gay man adopted by white, Midwestern evangelical parents. His tweets are notably political: "Not really mine to give, but I'd happily cede whatever nebulous definition of 'punk' to the Right if they'll admit he lost the popular vote."
Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman)
You can thank Josh Gondelman for the popular Twitter parody account @SeinfeldToday, which asks, "What is Seinfeld was still on the air?" Gondelman also writes for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, for which he won an Emmy in 2016. His stand-up is gently self-deprecating and tackles subjects like ghosting, old folks, and childhood wisdom. He has a pleasant demeanor onstage, even when he's making fun of himself, and creates the sort of comedy that just makes you feel good. He's also very relatable, recently tweeting, "Sometimes I think I should be more confident and then I meet people who believe in themselves and I'm like...gross!"
Joe Pera (@josephpera)
Stand-up comedian Joseph Pera, who hails from Buffalo and now lives in New York City, currently cohosts a weekly stand-up show called "Dan+Joe+Charles Show" at the NY Distilling Company in Brooklyn. He's performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers and once appeared on Fox 2 Detroit to discuss the importance of Christmas Trees. Pera's aesthetic is charming awkward and he happily embraces his nerdy sensibility onstage. He performs regularly both around the U.S. and in New York, which means you will be able to see a lot of him in 2017.
Ahmed Bharoocha (@AhmedBharoocha)
Last year was a good one for Ahmed Bharoocha. The comedian unveiled his debut comedy album, Almond Badoody, in October, the same day his Comedy Central half-hour episode aired. Bharoocha, who is half Irish Catholic and Pakistani-Indian-Burmese Muslim, has a lighthearted sensibility, even when he's discussing topics like religion (a particularly relevant subject these days). He's performed on Conan and Adam Devine's House Party, and performs stand-up around the U.S. His best recent tweet? "I bet the worst part of the apocalypse will be that people talk about it too much on the internet."
Lauren Lapkus (@laurenlapkus)
Even if you don't know Lauren Lapkus's comedy you may recognize her from movies like Jurassic World and TV shows like Orange Is the New Black and Another Period. The L.A.-based actress is a member of UCB's Asssscat and recently wrote and starred in her own 30-minute episode of Netflix's sketch series The Characters. Lapkus, who you can see on HBO's upcoming series Crashing, has been very vocal about Trump and current politics on Twitter, recently quipping, "Saw something bad on the news."