Welcome to the second semi-annual edition of The Next Wave, Splitsider’s roundup of exciting new comic voices from around the country.
Though Los Angeles and New York City are home to the country’s biggest comedy industries, they aren’t the only cities with thriving comedy scenes. In recent years especially — thanks to the rising popularity of locally-focused festivals, and ofma course, the internet — the following cities have become destinations for new comics looking to grow, and for bookers and agents looking to discover emerging talent. Here are a few must-follow cities, and the comics who are on their way to becoming The Next Wave.
We reached out to some of the most informed comedy bookers, festival producers, journalists, and industry insiders from comedy’s biggest scenes, and asked them to share their current favorite up-and-comers with us. The Next Wave was compiled with input and guidance from:
• $9,250,000; common charges: $4,246; taxes: $2,041
• 3 bedroom; 3.5 bathrooms
• Interior: 3,018 square feet; exterior: 600 square feet
There are three penthouses in architect and developer Cary Tamarkin’s newest West Chelsea building, on West 24th Street. Penthouse North is already under contract. All of the other units in the building have been sold as well, and the ground floor retail space—sold to an investor—has been leased. Tamarkin’s buildings, with their boxy, post-industrial outlines, are scattered across the West Village and Chelsea, where many less graceful imitations have sprung up as well. Tamarkin “is widely credited with having reintroduced the fashion for raw-space loft development in New York,” the Times wrote in 2001.
On Tuesday, listing agents at 508 West 24th Street were holding an open house for brokers to see the two remaining penthouse apartments. One visitor had apparently been involved in a landmarking dispute with Tamarkin on the Upper East Side in the early aughts. Tamarkin’s initial proposal had called for a seventeen-story condominium building; the building plan that passed, two years later, was nine stories. “Tell her I hate her,” Tamarkin scoffed.
Tamarkin, who is from Long Island, studied architecture at Harvard and led his own firm, in Boston, for ten years, before moving back to New York in the early nineties to become a developer. “My whole life I had identified as an architect. That’s what I did since age twelve,” Tamarkin told me. “But I wasn’t prepared to be a starving artist my whole life.” In 1992, when he was thirty-five, he invested with a friend who, conveniently, had just gotten a job running the real estate fund at Oaktree Capital, in an abandoned warehouse in the West Village. A building at 140 Perry Street, which had been vacant for five years, Tamarkin said, cost 1.6 million dollars. “Even if the building made no money, I’d make twice as much money as if I’d just been hired as an architect, because I was also getting development fees,” he said. “In fact, the building sold out, and I made a million dollars. I had never seen a million dollars. So, this was definitely the right idea.”
The hard work of appearances disappears
into the apparent effortlessness, and the loose three-quarter sleeves
of trying to become what other
people, your friends, your real friends, are convinced that you already are,
like trying to follow the pale fleck of a small plane,
or a big plane far away.
Sweatshirts big enough to hide half a person
hide behind their modular words,
and leggings. Where two or three strangers gather
together, sandbar: we are migratory birds,
temporarily almost aloft, almost fluorescent, in a 1983
of lemon-yellow possibilities,
things I might very insistently wish to be.
Only an eyelash separates me from reason,
from the coveted role of pretty-to-geeky liaison.
To be good, to be
a good girl, is to pile up
credit you have to use up
before nobody else remembers you earned it.
There was a lesson in variability here, and in the history
of stencils, but I am not the girl who learned it.
When I got here first I looked around, and around.
I would like to compare my own growing up
to sand, and you and you to solid ground.
Ken Camden’s gradually accumulating blips are no ordinary gradually accumulating blips: he uses “a steel slide and e-bow technique… to bridge the textural gap between guitar and synthesizer.”
“[O]n the internet, your declaration of interest says something
about who you are. This says: I am progressive and I follow
politics with a keen sense of irony. And I fancy Ed Miliband.”
—There is some fucked up shit going on in Britain right now.#
★★★ Blue made a promising start, then surrendered abruptly to gray and a sudden shower. The three-year-old, headed out to preschool, had to be brought upstairs again to fetch boots. The air was suffocating. When the sun did come, the light was all the more dazzling off the wet surfaces. The dampness became refreshing as an evaporative breeze blew. Up on the office roof, the chairs were dry and the sun sent a blurry image of the computer logo through the front of the screen. Sweet, liquid birdsong carried along Prince Street. The maple canopy was thin but in place, nascent green-gold. Blossoms announced trees that had been previously inconspicuous against scaffolding. Sunset was slow, the sky passing through shades of pink, the clouds through purples.
My son Kunal is biracial. Multiethnic might be more accurate—he is part white American from my husband Kris, part Indian from me. When he was born the first thing I said was, through the grin that had spread across my face, Wow, he’s really white. I was being funny, but no one in the operating room laughed. Maybe there was something in my voice that said to them that I wasn’t joking, at least not entirely.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had been worried about Kunal not looking like me. I would look at white teenagers hanging out in the ice-cream shops where I live, and think—what if he ends up looking like that, or liking a girl (or a boy) who looks like that? Would I see myself in him? Would he see himself in me? Out loud, to friends, I’d say, “I hope the baby gets all of Kris’ genes!” And that wasn’t a complete lie; Kris has good genes. But I worried that people wouldn’t know immediately, without a doubt, that my son was mine, that they would scan the crowd to find the parent of the crazy kid running in the park and look right past me. Sometimes that fear crawled into my throat and closed it up.
Sweet bordering on sickly; the sort of slow, assured track you might find between two singles on a pop record released in 1999.
Tommy Wiseau and his cult-classic film The Room are two of the greatest mysteries of the entertainment industry. Since its release in 2003, traditions have formed around midnight screenings of The Room that are similar to those that surround The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Most notably, at each viewing, fans come dressed as their favorite character, bring along with them an arsenal of shoutouts, and engage in various act-outs such as throwing spoons at the screen. Wiseau and his origins are the subject of great debate, to such an extent that co-star Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell teamed up in 2013 to publish the widely acclaimed book The Disaster Artist, which documents the development of Wiseau’s enigmatic six-million dollar film and posits some theories with regards to Wiseau’s history. Fans can look forward to the film adaptation of this book by Seth Rogen’s production company, Point Grey Pictures, with none other than James Franco portraying Wiseau.
More recently, Wiseau has been developing his new sitcom, The Neighbors. The series is available on Hulu, and follows the mishaps of various tenants in an apartment complex. Wiseau portrays two of the show’s characters: Charlie, the protagonist and ‘manager’ of the complex, and Ricky Rick, the show’s main antagonist. The other characters in the series range from a woman who spends much of her time screaming and running around the apartment with a live chicken, a stoner, women in bikinis, a muscular repair man, a basketball-loving youth who rarely makes good on his debts, and countless others that could only be born from the mind of Tommy Wiseau.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Wiseau about the significance of some of the elements of his series, his expectations, and the questions that he wishes people would stop asking. Wiseau promised to award me with medals for my final two questions.