Kiry Shabazz has been named as the winner of the 14th annual StandUp NBC competition. Shabazz was chosen in a nationwide search for comedians of diverse backgrounds.
As part of his title, Shabazz will receive a talent holding deal with NBCUniversal and a headlining spot at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) annual convention where he will perform before talent bookers from across the country. He will also headline the regional semi-finalist showcases for next year’s StandUp NBC.
Shabazz was one of 1,250 stand-up comedians who auditioned at open calls earlier this year in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. In addition to the open calls, the annual competition accepted online submissions. The 1,250 was then narrowed down to eight finalists including Shabazz, Jourdain Fisher, T. Murph, Dewayne Perkins, Abby Rosenquist, Jess Salomon, Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh, Tom Thakkar and TuRae.
The finalists performed last month a finale showcase hosted by comedian and StandUp NBC alumnus Vladimir Caamaño at The Improv in Hollywood. They performed their sets in front of an audience of television executives, casting directors, agents, managers and industry tastemakers.
A Cleveland native, Shabazz will join the likes of Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Deon Cole (black-ish), Dulcé Sloan ( The Daily Show), Tone Bell (Disjointed), W. Kamau Bell (CNN’s United Shades of America), and Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show) as alumni of StandUp NBC, one of the network’s tentpole talent infusion programs (NBC TIPS).
“StandUp NBC has been a remarkably effective platform to help discover the next generation of great comedic talent,” said Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios. “As with all of our other talent pipeline programs, StandUp NBC was created with the goal of increasing representation of diverse talent in front of and behind the camera, and I could not be prouder that through programs like these we continue to bring new voices to the industry.”
“Kiry’s warmth and relatable humor helped him stand out from an exceptional group of talented comedians,” adds Grace Wu, Executive Vice President of Casting, NBC Entertainment. “We are fortunate to have pipeline programs like StandUp NBC that continue to introduce us to fresh, new voices like Kiry’s.”
Shabazz got his start in comedy in Northern California where h performed at many noteworthy clubs including The Punchline, Rooster T Feathers, and Cobb’s. He won the Rooster T Feathers Comedy Competition, the World Series of Comedy Satellite Competition, and was selected for the Laughing Skull Festival. He is repped by Olivia Doud at Mosaic.