Photo caption: Comedian Deon Cole | Photo Credit: ABFF website
Comedians will Face Off for the Top Spot in Miami on Friday, June 14
LOS ANGELES, April 17, 2019 – ABFF Ventures announced today their selection of finalists who will compete at the 7th annual ABFF Comedy Wings Competition, presented by HBO. Last night, nine comedians competed in the ABFF Comedy Wings Semifinals Showcase held at the HaHa Comedy Club in Los Angeles, hosted by Chris Spencer.
The contestants were judged by accomplished artists and industry executives, including “Def Comedy Jam” Producer Bob Sumner; Comedian and Actor Jay Phillips; Television Executive and Producer Rikki Hughes; Comedian and Actor Guy Torry; Comedian and Actor J.B. Smoove; Comedian and Actress Kym Whitley; Manager, Talent Development Robert Patla; Comedian and Actor Red Grant; ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday, Founding Partner at Curated By Media Cameron Mitchell and Comedian and Actress, Erica Ash.
The finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip and (2) festival passes to the 23rd American Black Film Festival from June 12-16. Each finalist will then go toe-to-toe in a comedy battle on Friday, June 14th at the New World Center in Miami for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize and attend an informational meeting with HBO talent executives. Comedian Deon Cole will host this highly popular night of hilarity at its best.
The Comedy Wings Competition is one of several platforms innovated by the ABFF that is designed to uncover talent and introduce them to a broader audience. ABFF has always participated in the cultivation of Black talent and has provided a stage over the years for dynamic performers such as Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, Craig Robinson, Tommy Davidson and Bill Bellamy.
“The Comedy Wings Competition highlights emerging comedians and allows us, through our long-time partnership with HBO, to showcase this talent to the entertainment industry. We’re very excited about this year’s lineup of finalists and expect one or more of them to a break out star,” said Jeff Friday, CEO of ABFF Ventures.
“HBO has been proudly supporting The Comedy Wings competition since its inception,” said Dennis Williams, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO. “It has become one of the highlights of the festival and we are thrilled to be able to open doors and provide opportunities to diverse, groundbreaking comedic voices. HBO has a longstanding reputation for discovering and nurturing talent and we are excited to laugh with the finalists that will grace the stage this year at the ABFF!”
This year’s five finalists are emerging comics from across the United States, with diverse styles and sensibilities. The 2019 ABFF Comedy Wings finalists are:
Comedian Allan Cunningham is one of the last great storytellers. His laid-back demeanor allows him to paint a hilarious picture so vivid you can hang on the wall. Off stage you can catch him mastering his craft as an actor, director and writer.
From humble beginnings in Atlanta Georgia, Brian Tucker also known as B-Tuck, began his stand-up comedy career in 2013. He started regularly hosting at the Original Uptown Comedy Corner. As well as touring comedy clubs all across the east coast including Comedy Zone, Stardome, Zanies, Stand Up Live, and Atlanta Comedy Theater. Since starting his career, he has worked with major acts such as Ricky Smiley, Michael Colyer, Mark Curry, Kountry Wayne, Karlous Miller, and TK Kirkland.
Kevin D. White
Comedian Kevin D. White is an American stand-up comedian and writer that loves poking fun at cultural stereotypes one joke at a time. Being a native of Chicago, IL and with over 15 years in stand up, his creative content is undeniably funny. He has shared the stage with some of today’s leading legends such as, Katt Williams, Lil Rel, Hannibal Burress, Damon Williams, Faison Love and Deon Cole just to name a few. White is more than ready to become one of your favorite comedians.
Reg Thomas has been moving across the country with his brand of smart comedy, in which he focuses on his upbringing and experiences in life. He is simply a productive stoner living in a crazy world, trying to make sense of it all. Thomas has produced content for media companies including BuzzFeed, Atlantic Records and KicksOnFire.com. He has written for Complex Magazine, been on Trutv for their show Jobs Unlisted and, also produces the touring comedy show Productively Stoned. He has toured with Amanda Seales, Chris Redd and Jordan Rock.
Tyana Davis, known professionally as Ty Davis, is a comedian, radio personality, writer, producer and actress. She is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina but resides in Maryland. After her mother retired from the military in 2001, she moved to Baltimore where she started her comedy career almost five years ago. Ty frequently performs at The Baltimore Comedy Factory, DC Improv, various venues in the DMV and along the upper east coast. She is the host of The Morning After Show on DTLR Radio Monday through Friday 11 am – 2 pm ET.
Festival passes are on sale at www.abff.com, and offer five (5) different levels of access to Festival events. Registration ends May 22nd for discounted rates. Questions regarding registration may be directed to email@example.com.
Sponsors of the 2019 American Black Film Festival are HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor); BET Networks, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Comcast NBCUniversal (Presenting Sponsors); Capital One, Hilton, Prudential, Turner (Premier Sponsors); American Airlines, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Sony, TV One (Official Sponsors); Accenture, Gentleman Jack, OWN, truTV, Warner Bros., Urban Movie Channel (UMC) (Supporting Sponsors); SAGIndie (Industry Partner); and Black Enterprise, Blackfilm.com (Media Partners).
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The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to empowering black artists and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the black filmmaking community by encouraging resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration. He ultimately envisioned it as a cornerstone of diversity in Hollywood. ABFF is the pre-eminent pipeline for black artists in front of and behind the camera, and has significantly expanded the range of talent working in entertainment. For more than two decades the festival has been a platform for emerging black artists — premiering the early work and showcasing the talent of many of today’s most successful actors, producers, writers, directors and stand-up comedians. As “the nation’s largest gathering of black film and television enthusiasts” the festival attracts a broad audience of A-list talent, emerging artists, upscale consumers and industry stakeholders. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people travel to Miami Beach each year for the event. The five-day festival opens with the premiere of an upcoming Hollywood release followed by independent film screenings, master classes, panels, celebrity talks, live entertainment, and a variety of networking and hospitality events.
HBO® is one of the most respected and innovative entertainment brands in the world, serving iconic, award-winning programming to 142 million subscribers globally. A subsidiary of WarnerMedia, HBO is the world’s most successful pay TV service with an extensive array of programming that includes some of the most notable titles to be on television including Game of Thrones®, Big Little Lies®, Westworld®, The Sopranos®, Sex and the City®, Band of Brothers®, and The Wire®. In the United States, HBO® and sister network Cinemax® are available across multiple platforms including HBO On Demand®, Cinemax On Demand®, HBO GO® and MAX GO®, as well as HBO NOW®. Internationally, HBO branded services, including television networks and the standalone streaming product HBO GO®, are available in more than 70 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. HBO and Cinemax programming is also sold into more than 150 countries worldwide.