Born: Louisville, Kentucky
Idols: Shari Lewis, the Marx Brothers
Signature Joke: “I was really different growing up. People used to tease me for wearing makeup and dresses. But now that I’m a female, no one seems to care.”
Photographs by Jake Chessum
Comes From: Madison, New Jersey
Idols: George Carlin, Louis C.K.
Signature Joke: “I get invited to a lot of parties. I don’t know if it’s because I’m really likable or if it’s just because I own a fog machine.”
Comes From: Karachi, Pakistan
Idols: Woody Allen, Zach Galifianakis
Signature Joke: “I was in Coney Island, and I rode the Cyclone. Terrifying. When I got off, I found out that it’s one of the oldest functional roller coasters in the world. Do you know what year the Cyclone was made? 1927. They should change the name of the ride to ‘1927,’ because that fact is way scarier than any cyclone.”
Comes From: Washington, D.C.
Idols: Chris Rock, Sam Kinison
Signature Joke: “When we watched sports growing up, my parents always rooted for the black guy: the black coach, the black quarterback. You can’t do that anymore because there’re so many black people in sports. So now they root for the black guy—with the black wife.”
Comes From: Chicago
Idols: Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K.
Signature Joke: “I saw two Hasidic Jews walk past each other without speaking. I thought that was weird. If I saw someone with the exact same outfit as me from head to toe, I’d at least stop and say. ‘That’s a nice hat.’”
Age: Let’s just say I’m becoming a lesbian that guys don’t want to watch.
Comes From: New York
Idols: Sandra Bernhard, David Letterman
Signature Joke: “Until the financial crisis, I thought a 401(k) was an unusually long marathon. I couldn’t understand why my co-workers kept signing up. To me, it was just a way to mess up a Sunday.”
Comes From: Calgary, Alberta
Idols: Woody Allen, Tina Fey
Signature Joke: “When the economy fell apart I thought, Oh no! What’s going to happen to me? And then nothing happened. Because I have … nothing. No savings, no investments, no mortgage. It’s like the world is rewarding me for being a transient screwup.”
Comes From: Diamond Bar, California
Idols: Bill Hicks, Eddie Izzard
Signature Joke: “I can’t wear vanilla-scented lotions, ’cause I can’t be the fat bitch that smells like Rice Krispies treats.”
Comes From: Boston
Idols: Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K.
Signature Joke: “The sentence my dictionary gives for ‘whale: to beat or to hit’ is ‘Dad went upstairs and whaled on his son.’ Not, ‘Dad went to prison for whaling on his child.’ It’s basically, ‘Dad, apropos of nothing, walked upstairs to the one room his son felt safe in to whale on him for no other reason than his knuckles were thirsty.’”