2016 Looks as though it’s going to be a big year in comedy, as today’s new faces in the scene are trying stand-up material and methods unlike we’ve seen before. This list of 30 Comedians to Know in 2016 names the comedians (some new, some old) that are bound to break out this year.
“Fired from New York! It’s Saturday Night!”
Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, stand-up comedian, writer, and actor Brooks Wheelan began performing stand-up in his late teens in his home state, and then went to Kansas City and Chicago before eventually moving to Los Angeles to perform stand-up comedy full time. Wheelan is definitely a comedian to watch out for in 2016, as his first on-camera appearance happened fairly recently. His career however, really began to pick up in 2013 when he became a writer and regular cast member on Saturday Night Live. Since then, he’s continued to stay busy and work hard in order to expand his audience even more.
Brooks Wheelan spent one year working on SNL. Although he was not extremely well-known on the show due to his short time on the mega-popular sketch comedy show, what he was most known for was his many impressions of Jared Leto, Rand Paul, Harry Styles, Kid Rock, Matthew McConaughey, Uncle Sam and Slash, along with recurring guest appearances on SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment. In 2013, Wheelan was hired as a writer for SNL and then was made a cast member the week before season 39 began airing. Unfortunately though, he was let go from the cast before the season wrapped up in 2014…but at least he can poke fun at the situation, announcing his own firing from SNL on Twitter—“Fired from New York! It’s Saturday Night!”
Wheelan was even willing to talk openly about his time on SNL, and why he thinks he got fired. He also mentioned that he is “trying to make as much hay as possible about his firing, and using it to feed his comedy”. In a 2014 interview, Wheelan told The Wrap, “I gotta make light of it. Make it like, ‘Yeah, I’m not bummed out.’ I’m gonna move forward.’” He also talked about the positive aspects of the being fired.
“This is great career advancement for me. I’m just gonna go back to stand-up. I don’t have any ill feelings toward the show at all. They were really cool for putting me on it. But I’m going to make fun of getting fired, for sure.”
The reason Wheelan believes he was fired is the same reason many people believe he was fired: There were just too many cast members.
“I feel like I was hired because they hired so many new cast members,” he told The Wrap, “and I feel like I was let go because they hired too many cast members. So I really can’t fault them. That’s part of the reason I was there and that’s part of the reason I was let go…They do their own stuff and they clearly knows what works.”
Therefore, the reason why Wheelan was fired was not because he is untalented. In fact, his achievements, success in stand-up, and his fairly extensive resume (especially considering how new the comedian’s career is) prove that he is in fact, very talented—and very funny. At only 29-years-old, Wheelan has
- Been a writer and regular cast member on SNL
- Had the #1 comedy album on iTunes with the release of his debut album, “This is Cool, Right?” (Which was hailed by many outlets as one of the best comedy albums of 2015).
- Released a Comedy Central Half Hour special in 2015.
- Appeared on Conan
- Appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers
- Appeared on MTV’s Ridiculousness
- Appeared on @Midnight
- Appeared on Comedy Central’s Adam DeVine’s House Party
- Was named one of Comedy Central’s 10 Comics to Watch
- Performed in Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival
- Was named as one of the top 45 acts from the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival by Rolling Stone.
- Was described by The A.V. Club as performing stand-up material that is “absurd and honest” saying, “Wheelan is a considerable talent with a unique voice and perspective”
- Performed at Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival, SXSW, Sasquatch Music and Arts Festival, Moontower Comedy Festival, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and many others
Wheelan will be touring in the U.S. January. Click here to view the list of these performances in detail, which includes venues, dates and show times.