After some pretty tumultuous past few weeks in the world, it time for some good laughs, brews, and new friends at the Brooklyn Comedy Festival. With venues ranging from local favorites like Bushwick’s Cobra Club and Pine Box Rock Shop to Williamsburg-famed hotspots The Knitting Factory and Baby’s All Right, an entire week was spent celebrating the thriving comedy community in Brooklyn. The festival was upbeat and hilarious, at some points even reminded of the annual Del Close Marathon at the Upright Citizens Brigade theaters every year. Shows featured a slew of current star comedians, including big names that you can see on on primetime TV shows or web series, while also spotlighting some up-and-coming faces that are going to be blowing up real soon, including some of our faves in no particular order: Michelle Buteau, Matteo Lane, Sasheer Zamata, John Early & Reid Faylor. All photographs courtesy of the comics unless listed otherwise.
#5 Michelle Buteau
A New Jersey native to Caribbean parents, Michelle has a fiery stage presence unlike any we’ve encountered before. When she took the stage, the crowd at Baby’s All Right livened to the snap of her fingers as she tore into jokes dealing with crowd observation, quirky life happenstance, and buttering up any commentary the audience threw her way. A natural-born comedian, she slays crowds with a smile, upbeat laugh, and easily the happiest disposition of any comedian at the festival. She’s been featured on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Lopez Tonight, Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing. She is also a series regular on the VH1 show Best Week Ever and is Jenny McCarthy’s sidekick on her late night talk show Jenny. Michelle’s Twitter can be found here!
#4 Matteo Lane
A 28 year old Italian/Mexican twink from the windy city of Chicago, Illinois, Matteo walked to the stage at Baby’s All Right and hit us full force with some of the best opera we’ve ever heard (from a comedian). Instantly we knew we were in for quite a ride with that coy smile of his. His unique flow brought levity on some taboo subjects, including some of the funniest parts of being gay….as well as having a gay brother. The crowd was roaring only a quarter of the way into his set; we were putty in his talented hands. Highlight of the night? The absolute funniest impression of Britney Spears of singing. When he’s not doing stand up, he’s an illustrator, sings opera, and is even occasionally a stunt double for KD Lang. Matteo’s Twitter can be found here!
#3 Sasheer Zamata
A comedian who should need little introduction, Sasheer is an Indiana native who can currently be seen on New York’s very own Saturday Night Live and has been a veteran of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre since 2009. She also stars in the webseries Pursuit of Sexiness and occasionally appears in sketches for College Humor. Her performance at Glasslands Gallery had me in stitches, hilariously incorporating current issues and suggestions on how the world could bring a bit of levity to them… as well as dealings with a drunken heckler. She presents a calming presence that is welcoming and warming, putting her audience at ease, and a sharp knowledge of current events that is actually informative! Sasheer’s Twitter can be found here!
#2 John Early
A Nashville, Tennessee native, John is a comedian and actor who was previously an artist and curator at NPO theater Ars Nova. As he got on stage over at The Gutter, we were all curious to see what this blonde-haired young man was all about. Immediately as if a switch had been flipped, the energy rose tenfold– somehow his natural comedic energy reminded us of the early years of the late Robin Williams. He was on fire as he talked about his lifestyle as a gay man, snarky remarks about cultural observations, to even how little he used relevant segues in his standup, making it even sillier. You can see him on episodes of 30 Rock as Jenna Maroney’s son Jerome as well as in the short film Sardines Out Of A Can. He is a must see at any venue. John’s Twitter can be found here!
#1 Reid Faylor
An unassuming man from Indiana with dark brown hair and a beard to match, Reid was an absolute delight at The Gutter. He found it easy to win the audience over with some candid and always endearing self deprecation style humor that resonates with everyone. He hit his stride as he began to do some well timed observations on love, forcing the crowd to take a long hard look at who they were going home with that night. He is definitely someone you’re going to want to look out for in the near future. Reid’s Twitter can be found here!