Nationwide Search for Comedians of Diverse Backgrounds Awards Winfield with an NBCUniversal Talent Holding Deal
Program Marked 15 Years of Success with a Celebratory Event and Showcase Attended by Alumni Including Tone Bell, Brandon T. Jackson, Langston Kerman, and Amanda Seales
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – January 25, 2019 – NBC has named comedian Mike E. Winfield as the winner of its 15th annual StandUp NBC competition, the network’s annual nationwide search for comedians of diverse backgrounds. Winfield has been awarded a talent holding deal with NBCUniversal and a headlining spot at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) annual convention where he will perform for talent bookers from across the country. He will also headline the regional semi-finalist showcases for the 2019 StandUp NBC competition.
Winfield was chosen from eight finalists including Vincent Bryant, Ali Clayton, Calvin Evans, Sohrab Forouzesh, Jay Jurden, Luz Pazos and Venessa Peruda. They were among 1,600 stand-up comedians who auditioned last year through online submissions and open calls in Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas and New York. Winfield and this year’s finalists join Michelle Buteau (“Isn’t It Romantic?”), Deon Cole (“Grown-ish,”), Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”), Hasan Minhaj (“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj”), Phoebe Robinson (“2 Dope Queens”), and Dulcé Sloan ( “The Daily Show”) as alumni of StandUp NBC, one of the network’s tentpole talent infusion programs (NBC TIPS).
A special celebratory event honoring the program’s 15thanniversary and a finale showcase hosted by comedian and StandUp NBC alumnus Orlando Leyba (“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”) were held at The Improv in Hollywood last month. The finalists performed their sets in front of an audience of NBCUniversal television executives, casting directors, agents, managers and industry tastemakers. Also in attendance were program alumni including Tone Bell (“Fam”), JR De Guzman (Netflix’s “The Comedy Line-up”), Langston Kerman (“Insecure”) and Amanda Seales (“Insecure”) who marked the program’s milestone anniversary.
“Since its inception, StandUp NBC has forged a path for some of today’s most sought-after comedians. Following the program, many of our finalists have appeared in substantial roles on notable TV series and feature films as well as hosted their own stand-up specials on major networks. Their continued success speaks to their undeniable talent as well as the effectiveness of our program to help launch emerging comedic talent,” said Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television.
“StandUp NBC continues to showcase unique talent who have a signature comedic style. This year Mike Winfield stood out to all of us because of his appealing personality and irreverent point of view.” said Grace Wu, Executive Vice President of Casting, NBC Entertainment. “He is a breakout performer whose career we have been tracking for some time and we are very excited to be working with him.”
Baltimore native, Mike E. Winfield is a stand-up comedian and actor. Mike’s most recent notable credits include the Netflix comedy special, “Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo,” the upcoming feature “Pimp,” opposite Keke Palmer and “Liza On Demand” for YouTube Red. Other past TVcredits include “Acting Out,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “BET’s Comicview.” Now splitting his time between New York and Los Angeles, he has also headlined at top comedy clubs across the country and has a one-hour comedy special releasing this year. Winfield is represented by the Gersh Agency.
About StandUp NBC (NBC Talent Infusion Programs)
Now in its 15thyear, StandUp NBC is the annual nationwide search for stand-up comedians of diverse backgrounds. Every year, finalists are selected from open casting calls in various cities across the country as well as from online submissions. They perform at a finale showcase in front of an audience of television executives, casting directors, agents, managers and industry tastemakers at a Los Angeles comedy club. The winner is given a talent holding deal with NBCUniversal and offered a spot on the nationwide tour with the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). Previous StandUp NBC winners and alumni include Tone Bell (“Fam”), Michelle Buteau (“Isn’t It Romantic?”), W. Kamau Bell (CNN’s “United Shades of America”), Deon Cole (“Grown-ish”), Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”), Hasan Minhaj (“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj”), Amanda Seales (“Insecure”) and Dulcé Sloan (“The Daily Show”). StandUp NBC is part of the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS) that promote and encourage people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers. For more information, visit NBCUniTIPS.com.
About the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS)
Since 2000, NBC has been dedicated to discovering and nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS). NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Female Forward, the Alternative Directors Program, the Emerging Director Program and the StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians. Program alumni are celebrated producers, writers, directors and actors in the entertainment industry who have gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards and include Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling, Deon Cole, Lil Rel Howery, Keto Shimizu, Natasha Rothwell, Danny Pudi and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel. For more information, visit NBCUniTIPS.com.
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