New York's Funniest Up and Coming Comedians
Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 01:15 PM | Brad Mielke
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Let's face it, comedy is a hard business.  Even the Jerry Seinfelds and Jon Stewarts of the world have their share of hecklers.  Hell, Louis C.K. made a career out of telling people how much his life sucks.  So it's a wonder that there are any newcomers who want to join the club.  Lucky for us, New York has always been the epicenter of standup, and after all the abuse, an exciting new crop of comics have arrived on the scene.  So if you can't score the Chris Rock tickets, rest easy.  These are New York's up and comers:

 

Harrison Greenbaum

For most of us, putting up with one boss is difficult enough. Harrison Greenbaum has a new audience to please each night, often pulling off multiple shows per evening.  Estimating that he performed 1,600 times in the last few years, the New York Daily News has named him the "hardest working man in comedy."  In the last year, he's been on a tear, taking home the Andy Kaufman Award for best performer and first place in the Magners Comic Stand-Off.  His smart, witty, and lightning quick punchlines might be a sign of his ridiculous schedule...or it might be a result of his Harvard degree.

 

Jena Friedman

If you haven't seen her perform,you've probably seen Friedman's work by now: she was hired to write for Letterman this summer.  If you're not into CBS (read: old people) humor, you might enjoy her other exploits -- she's constantly making sketch videos (like this one, starring Jon Hamm) for Funny or Die and Atom.com.  She's based in New York, but if you have a chance to see her, don't miss it.  Between her writing gigs and touring schedule (she was featured at SXSW this year), she's a busy lady.

 

Pete Lee

If you go to Lee's home page, you're greeted with a clean-cut, smiling young man.  If you drag your cursor around the page, though, you're treated to images of him getting savagely beaten up by a girl.  This encapsulates most of what you need  to know about Lee -- he's a self-effacing nice guy, with just enough edge to surprise you.  Unsurprisingly, after getting tapped to film a standup special for Comedy Central in 2009, things started happening quickly.  He earned a semi-final berth on NBC's Last Comic Standing, won Country Music Television's award for Next Big Comic, and is currently touring nationwide.

 


Kara Klenk

She might have gotten her start from the NBC Page Program, but she's much better looking than Kenneth.  A comic, actor, and improvisor, Klenk has appeared on Spike TV and Nickelodeon, as well as Comedy Central.  Her brassy and sarcastic brand of comedy can be seen in person as she hosts her own weekly show at UCB East (better known as "UCBeast,"155 East 3rd Street).

Tags: david letterman, sketch comedy, Culture Club, jerry seinfeld, comedy, standup comedy, louis ck