Hometown: Hamilton, MA
Style: Hyper teen performing songs in bedroom
Background: Taught himself guitar and keyboard and began churning out YouTube videos — "I'm just a giddy teenager who would like to break into show business anyway I can," Burnham says.
Signature bit: Rhapsodic ode to Helen Keller ("I could walk around the house naked/She wouldn't even know")
Reminiscent of: Adam Sandler
Tough gig: Followed Judd Apatow onstage at Montreal's Just for Laughs festival in 2008
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Style: African-American/Jewish girl from the 'hood
Background: When Haddish was young and in a foster care program, her social worker gave her the option of going to therapy or attending comedy camp. "Before that, I never thought I'd leave the 'hood. I thought that I'd end up with five baby daddies," Haddish says. "It inspired me to be better."
Signature bit: Pulling out her bra inserts onstage ("This is some bullshit right here. I was just trying to get some free drinks later")
Reminiscent of: Robin Williams
High praise: "She can just take over a show," says Jamie Masada of L.A.'s Laugh Factory
Hometown: Ashton, ID
Style: Clean-cut observational humor
Background: Chose New York over Los Angeles because it's "cold and dark." "Being a movie star in L.A. is so passé. I'd much rather work in dark, dingy nightclubs for the rest of my life," Hamilton says dryly.
Signature bit: On the antics of car dealerships ("They've got the searchlights out there, like Batman is going to show up and apply for credit")
Reminiscent of: Jerry Seinfeld. "Look at me — I'm like the illegitimate son of Jerry and Elaine."
Hometown: Succasunna, NJ
Style: Blunt, sarcastic rants
Signature bit: On being praised for dating a black man ("I'm like, I didn't rescue him from Darfur")
Reminiscent of: An apolitical Lewis Black
Wisdom: "It's awesome to relive arguments and just go off. Everyone should get a chance to do it."
Hometown: Coney Island, NY
Style: Conversational routines with social commentary
Background Cut his teeth at Harlem's Uptown Comedy Club, where rapid-fire jokes and one-liners keep the crowd from booing. "I'm in the school of George Carlin — he's my hero," Perkins says.
Signature bit: Cousin who got out of jail ("In two weeks he got a job at a bank! ... I'm just messing with you — he did a bank job")
Reminiscent of: Bill Cosby and Chris Rock