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2022 is right around the corner. But, before Jan(uary) comes and crashed our party, we wanted to put some really hot and fun and cool faces in front of you. These are our 22 comedians to watch in 2022.
1. Murray Hill
As of Thanksgiving, 2021 was definitely NOT Murray Hill’s year. That day—also his birthday—a four-alarm fire destroyed the New York “Showbiz!” legend’s longtime apartment (and his neighbors’), including most of his massive collection of kitschy memorabilia and signature plaid suits. The GoFundMe launched by bestie Bridget Everett and friends has raised nearly $178,000—and the many Murray shows will go on, including A Very Murray Christmas at Joe’s Pub to eps of Amy Schumer’s Life & Beth and Everett’s Somebody Somewhere. 2022 is yours, Murray—the universe owes you! – Lynn Harris, @harrislynn
P.S. Fun fact: Murray performed at GOLD’s PRIDE show this year!
2. Grace Kuhlenschmidt
Eff. Grace is so funny. I find myself drawn, often, to comedians doing something that I just…can’t. Grace is doing something that I simply don’t have the rockstar alt-comedy chops to do. Her character is a little gross, a little sad, but mostly just completely hilarious. – Maggie Scudder, @maggiescudder
3. Sara Contreras
If you don’t know her already, The Latin Diva of Comedy, Sara Contreras, is one comic you’ll never forget! She’s a veteran standup with undeniable stage presence and hilarious jokes. Sara’s one of those comics that leave you at the edge of your seat from the minute she starts her set.
She’s outgoing, witty, and fearless on stage. And! She’s a Puerto Rican from Brooklyn, like me! So duh, I’m gonna talk about her. She reminds me so much of my family, from her delivery to her word choices. Every time she says “papa” I feel like I’m home. It’s inspiring to see her tell her story on stage because it’s so real.
Her act-outs kill me, “I know the coco-puffs are dry, Papi. Dare to be different, put some OJ.” Oh boy, GOOD STUFF. You can all witness Sara’s genius LIVE at The Comedy Strip in NYC on February 5! She’s bringing back her one-woman show, Freak of Nature! Follow her on Instagram @latindivacomedy and watch out for this queen! – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
4. Sydnee Washington
Sydnee Washington’s comedy is quick on its feet. Get with the program (as in, start watching her now if you haven’t already) because she is about to get bigger. I feel it in my gut and in the fact that she just recorded an hour long special and has been named one of “Just For Laughs”‘ New Faces of Comedy (so maybe its not so much intuition as much as it is just plain fact). – Trina Sanyal, @TrinaSanyal
P.S. Fun fact: Sydnee performed at GOLD’s PRIDE show this year!
5. Maria Decotis
Maria DeCotis performs standup all over NYC and is known for her viral impression of Andrew Cuomo (pre-scandal). She’s opened for Mike Birbiglia on Broadway, is a UCB pro, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, Vogue, New York Magazine, and more. I’m a huge fan of Maria’s after watching her steal a show chock full of dudes—she was fearless and funny! (Read her Q&A with us here. She also joined us for a live Q&A in the GOLD Club.)– Miranda Fayne, @mirmitthefrog
6. Rae Sanni
Let me put you on to my girl, Rae Sanni, real quick. I LOVE HER and you will too. First of all, she’s written for some of my favorite shows including HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, The Good Place, and MORE. Second, she claims to be, “a terrible person who loves reality television,” but what that says to me is that we would vibe over some wine and Bad Girl’s Club season 9 (I bought it! LMK).
Lastly, Rae is a true inspiration to me because she’s the only woman comic I know from my hometown, East New York, Brooklyn. Seeing Rae doing all the things I hope to do inspires me to keep going! <3 What?…Oh right! Comedy! Rae cracks audiences up with her unique commentary on things like gender, being a millennial, and race relations all peppered in with some hilarious imagery.
She says things like “lil black baby lung” and we all laugh cause it’s hilarious! I think her casual somewhat awkward delivery is what makes her punchlines so punchy. Her comedy seems to be lighthearted and then BOOM–political punchline. That’s what makes Rae so great! She tricks me into thinking about social issues all while making me LAUGH, that’s a comic!
Thanks to GOLD, I had the honor of meeting Rae at one of our Q&As, and she’s so funny and nice! Everyone stop what you’re doing now and follow Rae on everything! @RaeSanni on Twitter @Rafizzle87 on Instagram. Trust me! She’s one to watch. – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
7. Ruby Karp
Long-time friend of GOLD, Ruby Karp has been in the comedy game since she was a tot, and you can tell by the killer shows she puts together! Her monthly show, We Hope You Have Fun, always hosts NYC’s funniest stand-ups, and the overlap between her guests and comics we’ve had visit the club is spooky (Hannah Pilkes, Jes Tom, Samantha Ruddy, Catherine Cohen, Marcia Belsky, to name a few). She wrote her book, Earth Hates Me, when she was still a teenager, and it got praise from Amy Poehler herself. Though she’s still in college (my alma mater Emerson!), Ruby is one to keep an eye on. – Miranda Fayne, @mirmitthefrog
8. Tess Gattuso
Tess blew up on TikTok and Twitter this year. I could go on and on about her very funny pieces in Reductress and the Newyorker. But, she’s here because I just think she makes damn funny TikToks. The Toks are biting, they’re queer, and they have a very charming sensibility.
This is what it takes to be funny in the year of our Lord 2021. Not just funny, but also trust that you’re being funny …for good reasons? I hope that makes sense. If not, check out her vids and forgive me for my rambling. You’ll get it then. PS- I’d start with Gay Best Friends. – Maggie Scudder, @maggiescudder
9. Elsa Eli Waithe
I’m so excited to talk about one of my favorite comics, Elsa Eli Waithe! They are an activist and truly are a comedian to watch. Elsa is a wild card because you never know what they’re going to say but you know it’s gonna be hilarious. Whether Elsa is talking about race, identity, or weed; they make comedy look easy. (Jerk!) They could read the phone book and it’ll be hilarious.
Perhaps I’m biased because I had the pleasure of taking Stand Up 101 with Elsa as my teacher. But I can say with my whole chest, Elsa is one of the most inspirational voices in comedy today. Their vulnerability and unique point of view on life leave audiences laughing and moved.
When you watch Elsa you just know they were destined to make the world laugh. You can catch Elsa performing stand-up all over NYC! Trust me, we love Elsa and you will too. – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
10. Ladies Who Ranch
The Ladies Who Ranch is a sketch group comprised of comedians/actors Kelly Cooper, Caitlin Dullea, Maya Sharma, Caroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker. As a collective, they have a dynamic that puts the audience at ease; they trust each other, their timing is on point, and they create space in their shows for each group member to shine. Their content proves they can conquer every type of comedy—shows are peppered with moments of group improv, fast-paced video sketches, wacky impressions, musical outbursts, and breaking of the fourth wall, one-woman show style. Watching them perform is like getting invited to a sleepover with a group of best friends who have decided to let you in on their inside jokes. – Miranda Fayne, @mirmitthefrog
11. Bridget Everett
Singer-comic-actor Bridget Everett is a tornado on stage and a marshmallow off*—and now she’s on your small screen in the lead role on HBO’s Somebody Somewhere. Far as we’re concerned, she’s somebody everywhere. *How do we know? Join the club and watch the recording of her sweet, candid, and inspirational live Q&A! – Lynn Harris, @harrislynn
What was once a small, niche theatre for comedy nerds (and regular nerds, tbh) is now one of the hottest alt-comedy clubs in New York. The city’s best improv show, RaaaatScraps (formerly UCB’s Aaaascat!) has found a new home in Caveat.
Pre-covid, I attended a few shows and workshops in the space. It’s intimate and effortlessly cool. It has been a cool spot for people “in the know” for a long time, so it’s only natural that when the post-covid hole, left by UCB’s mass exodus, opened up–Caveat became the place.
Keep an eye on the talent coming to this theatre in the next year. It’s a great spot to see some of your favorite weirdos! – Maggie Scudder, @maggiescudder
13. Yamenika Saunders
Oh boy, Yamaneika, where do I even start? She’s just f*cking hilarious. It’s undeniable how funny she is. @Netflix, Why doesn’t she have her hour special yet? (I KNOW…she has an episode in Netflix’s The Degenerates but I WANT MORE!) I can watch her all day. Yameneika’s energy is infectious and she is the queen of act-outs! If you watch Yameneika, you will laugh. I don’t make the rules! She is fearless, honest, and overall, a bad b*tch!
Her material is very personal and that’s why audiences love her. She’s very candid about her family, sex life, and all her frustrations, and we eat it up. From the minute she opens her mouth, you know Yamaneika was born for the stage.
I don’t have anything else to say besides I’m obsessed. There are no words to properly describe her. You just have to witness all her genius for yourself ^, I promise you’ll become an instant fan. *BRB manifesting her new special <3* Go follow her on everything @yamaneika! – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
14. Allie Rubin
Allie Rubin is a satirist. They’re a former managing editor at The Belladonnas and they contribute to top online satire publications like the Onion, Reductress, and McSweeny’s.
They’ve also nabbed one of the coveted Jackbox writers’ gigs! (The competition was steep, which I know because it’s all that comedy-writer-twitter could talk about for a few weeks!) Not to even mention they made a really dope, original Murder Mystery game. As a boardgamer, this is enough for me to geek about for another 8 paragraphs.
But, the reason they’re really one to watch is that as they move ever forward, they’re turning their eyes back to help those coming up! They recently hosted a Pipeline workshop for Trans and GNC satirists. They’re writing a ton, and they’re putting their community first. This is what it looks like to be the next big comedian, to me. – Maggie Scudder, @maggiescudder
15. Tooky Kavanaugh
If there’s one queen on this list I need you to know, it’s the very funny Tooky Kavanagh. Tooky (rhymes with cookie) is a sharp, witty, and charming comedian whose taking over the New England comedy scene. Tooky’s chill demeanor on stage is what really drives her punchlines home. She seems sweet but her punchlines will sucker punch you. Her sense of humor is a bit dark, sarcastic, and silly.
Her recent credits include opening up for the Atusko Okatsuka (BIG!) and headlining a full weekend at Boston’s iconic Nick’s Comedy Stop! Not to make this about me BUT…I owe my stand-up career (what lil career it is) to Tooky. I always dreamed of performing stand-up but I didn’t think there was a place for me in comedy. So when I saw a woman of color was teaching stand up I thought, “THIS IS IT!” And even though I almost quit (because comedy is hard and my white cis-male classmates did NOT understand me), I’m so grateful I didn’t.
Let’s be real, if Tooky wasn’t my teacher, probably would’ve quit. But learning from her expertise really empowered me to get on stage, take up space, and own my silly jokes about Dominos pizza. If it wasn’t for that class, I wouldn’t have found GOLD Comedy! IMAGINE. So everyone, go follow Tooky on Instagram @Tookymonster and catch her live shows before Netflix calls her! I’m telling y’all, she’s one you want to watch! – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
16. Glo Butler
I had the pleasure of seeing Glo host Joke Sistas: Black Women in Comedy Laff Fest during the New York Comedy Festival, and her incredible hosting skills have been on my mind ever since. Right before she went up, she struck up a conversation with me—I asked if she was performing that night, and she shrugged, saying they were giving her a few minutes. Then the lights dimmed, she winked at me and said: “Just kidding. I’m the host of the show!”
Not only was she a fantastic standup—engaging, personal, hilarious—but her crowd work was impeccable. At one point, while the waitress was getting 70 people their checks, she held the room’s attention by asking us our birth signs one by one. But my favorite moment was when she asked the audience, as a collective, to guess “what kind of gay” she is. If you want to find out the answer, you might just have to come to Glo’s monthly POC Queer Comedy show Glo in the City Live. – Miranda Fayne, @mirmitthefrog
17. Liz Miele
This year, I discovered one of my new favorite comics, Liz Miele!
I’m mad it took me THIS LONG to find her; why isn’t anyone talking about her?! I know she has a fanbase because she has over 50k followers on Instagram but she deserves more praise. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
She’s a veteran stand-up and I think it’s time she got her big sparkly special. *Cough Cough* Netflix! I love Liz’s comedy and I wish was her friend IRL. She’s a feminist who isn’t afraid to talk about her love for cats. (#longlivepasta <3) Her jokes are intelligent, personal, and told in an understated style that really illustrates her dark humor. I take notes when I watch Liz.
Her sets are PUNCHY and she knows how to walk you through a longer joke. Her persona is sarcastic, playful, and completely fed up–in the best way. If you haven’t seen her stuff yet, subscribe to her Youtube Channel! Go down the rabbit hole and become a Liz fan! THEN go buy tickets to her shows, buy her book, Why Cats Are Assholes, and pay her bills because comedy is WORK and she deserves it! – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
18. Liza Treyger
Liza isn’t a newbie by any means but I love her, so we’re gonna talk about her. When I saw Liza on Netflix’s The Degenerates, I knew she was a comedian to watch.. and party with. Liza is so unapologetically herself on stage, it’s like she’s the only person you’d ever be ok with oversharing. I love when a comic is so comfortable on stage that it doesn’t feel scripted. That’s how I feel when I watch Liza.
Her comedy reminds me of the stoner friend my mom always warned me about. She’s sarcastic, raunchy, a bit of a pessimist, and always has the craziest stories you can’t wait to hear. What I also love about Liza is her delivery. She’ll start her set with the usual, “so happy to be here” yet she sounds unimpressed the whole time and I’m here for it. But don’t let her casual style fool you, Liza’s jokes are hard hitters thanks to her specificity and playful word choices. Her punchlines are so unusual that it makes you wish you said that first. Because “seaweed paper” is way funnier than “seaweed.” Her content is both relatable and shocking to me.
I love her jokes about being a stoner because (same) but I started smoking in college, ya know? Like, I’ve lived but I’m still afraid of cocaine. So when I wanna feel wild and seen, I watch my girl, Liza. Hey Netflix, you gave her a 30, where’s her hour?! – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
19. Sabrina Wu
Full disclosure: I real life know Sabrina. She’s very funny and cool and nice! We met in a class, very academic, it was Evolutionary Biology at Princeton. JK- Princeton is for hacks and it was a UCB Sketch class. This year Sabrina basically blew up and became awesome(r than she was already)!
She’s coming off a sold-out show at NYCF and swinging straight into DEADLINE headlines! According to The Other Two and life as a 20-something in this business, Deadline is the only publication that can really make or break you. Lucky for Wu, she’s been made!
After being a very awesome TV writer, she’s moving away from the small screen and onto the big silver ones that you still have to pay to look at. Catch her teaming up with Adele Lim (the genius behind Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon) in 2022. That’s right, Sabrina Wu is in features, now. Hear that, world??? BOOK HER! – Maggie Scudder, @maggiescudder
20. Gina Brillon
I’m sure you guys have heard of my Puerto Rican queen, Gina Brillon! She’s the first Latina comedian to make it to the top 10 of America’s Got Talent. She made SIMON laugh! America fell in love with Gina because what’s not to love? Her comedy is so refreshing and personal, it feels like you’re meeting her at a party for the first time. To me, “pacifically”, she feels like home. Gina is what you would call a “23-years-in-the-making-over-night success”. She’s been doing comedy since she was 17 and it shows!
She has a certain confidence about her that makes audiences feel at ease. After Gina’s opener, it’s clear to the audience, “oh this is gonna be good”. Her persona is silly but tough. Gina is a great storyteller because you can tell she’s having fun and PLAYING on that stage! The audience is with her the whole time and it’s lovely to see. Her act-outs are so delicious to watch and her punchlines always deliver satisfying big belly laughs that you’d never see coming.
As a Puerto Rican from New York, who also laughs at farts, seeing Gina succeed is a true inspiration! It’s like seeing my family up there! (@Gina, but actually…are we family? lol) Watch her specials on Amazon Prime Video and become a stan like the rest of America! – Kristina Feliciano, @kristinaiscomedy
GOLDies about town and on fire! Just a sampling: Avery Lender is on stage in NYC and Boston and an editor on the Bunion (I see what you did there, B.U.). Meghan Hayes hit her first mic and is crushing it on TikTok. Catch Bonita Elery telling jokes at joints all over Louisville, including but not limited to Red Top Hotdogs (win-win). Rebecca Washam is bringing her signature mouth of the south to clubs in Dallas and beyond. Kelly Kenlon is all over NYC stages, night after night. Liv Talley broke out of mics into show-shows in New York. Kristina Feliciano is now hosting our mics AND GOLD Comedy LIVE. Kaitlin Goldin is funny-ing all over the place. Gwen Coburn is writing a book! Jeanne Litt is using comedy to make waves in science. Maggie Scudder is getting bylines left and right and has 2.5M views on a tiktok (that’s too many!). Megan Phillips is joking all over Vancouver. Em Haverty just got laurels and will NO DOUBT score more. Tess Abedon has a forthcoming podcast! Paula Aceves is published! Miranda Fayne is not just a newsletter name anymore, but a name about town in NYC. Trina Sanyal just signed an NDA. Sophie Zucker is, like, already wicked famous. – Lynn Harris, @harrislynn
BONUS BOY: Taika Wattiti
My bonus boy for this list is Taika. Yeah, he doesn’t really need me talking about him. He’s doing fine…well, great. He’s doing objectively great.
He’s charming, he had that hot make-out moment with Tessa Thompson and …Grimes? Rita Ora? Rita Ora. (But also, wait, who is that?) But, he’s also the man behind the curtain of two of the best shows this year: What We Do in The Shadows and Reservation Dogs. Two more different shows are hard to list. But, there’s a sensibility, a queerness, a timeliness, a joy that weaves through both.
Taika is making projects that he loves, and that I love. So, let’s hope he keeps making massive Marvel movies so that he will have endless money to make the most incredible and sensitive little shows. These shows make my heart sing.
Are you a comedian? Should we be watching YOU?? Tweet @GOLDComedy to let us know!