Photo of the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition 4 finalists (L-r) Kareem Chapman, Tyree Elaine, Anton Shuford, and Del Harrison selected last night at the HaHa Cafe, which was hosted by comedian Guy Torry. Photos by Maury Phillips.
New York, New York, (May 11, 2016) – The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced today their selection of five finalists who will compete for the top honor at the 4th annual Comedy Wings Competition, presented by HBO, during the American Black Film Festival in Miami from June 15G19. Each finalist will also receive an allGexpense paid trip to Miami and a meeting with HBO talent executives.
The semiGfinals competition took place on Tuesday, May 9th in Los Angeles at the Ha Ha Café Comedy Club and was hosted by comedian and actor Guy Torry. The finalists were chosen out of nine semiGfinalists and were judged by accomplished artists and industry executives, including producer, actor and comedian Chris Spencer, HBO Executive Aida Chiaghana, 2014 Comedy Wings winner Amberia Allen and “Def Comedy Jam” producer Bob Sumner, Warner Bros. Studios executive Monique Kelley, comedian and television host Amanda Seales, talent executive Kendra Carter, talent booker Claudia Kagan, The Humor Mill founder Frank Holder, along with American Black Film Festival founder Jeff Friday.
“As a founding sponsor of the ABFF, we are extremely proud to continue to grow our longG standing commitment with an organization that not only celebrates but encourages the advancement of aspiring content creators, actors and filmmakers, said Dennis Williams, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, HBO. “The Comedy Wings competition is always a highlight of the festival. We [HBO] love being a part of this exciting tradition in discovering and cultivating new comedic talent. A key component to our sponsorship is having executives from our Programming groups join fellow industry professionals on the judging panel as we meet the next generation of comedic voices.”
Photo of the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition Judges Panel from last night at the HaHa Cafe, (l-r) N Ada Chiaghana (HBO), Guy Torry (Host), Amberia Allen (2014 Comedy Wings Winner), Frank Holder (The Humor Mill), Monique Kelley (Warner Bros.), (Unknown), Claudia Cagan (Producer, The Arsenio Hall Show), Amanda Seales (Comedian, Actress, TV Host), Bob Sumner (HBO’s Def Comedy Jam) and Jeff Friday (ABFF/Comedy Wings founder). Photos by Maury Phillips.
These aspiring comedic finalists come from across the United States and their backgrounds vary. See our complete list of contestants below:
Pictured here is Anton Shuford on stage. Photo by Maury Phillips.
After college, the armed forces, and enough work experience, Anton Shuford realized that he and the 9GtoG5 world would never happily marry. Once he stepped on stage for the first time in Philadelphia’s Laff House Comedy Club, he knew he was finally home, finding an inner peace and drive that nothing else had yet provided. In under two years, he was working on professional shows for comedy clubs around Philadelphia, going on to open for the biggest names in the comedy business. Showing his talent, he became a feature act shortly after at Philadelphia’s acclaimed Helium Comedy Club, working with comedians like HBO’s Louis CK and has gone on since to feature in comedy clubs across the United States.
Pictured here is Daphnique Springs on stage. Photo by Maury Phillips.
Daphnique Springs is a standGup comedienne who has featured for Martin Lawrence (2015) and toured with Katt Williams on his Born Again…Again Tour (2014G2015). She is the 2015 Winner of the SheGDevil Festival in New York City. MultiGtalented comedienne, Daphnique Springs is a Florida native living in LA. She is bursting onto the comedy scene with wit and versatility. Springs has been featured in a variety of roles on shows such as, “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS), Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) and “Laughs” on FOX.
Pictured here is Del Harrison on stage. Photo by Maury Phillips.
Del Harrison or Del, as most people call her, is an excellent stand up comedian, writer, actress, host and one hell of an entrepreneur. Del’s sketches have reached a combined total of over 2 million views online. And that’s not all. This past year, Del was featured comedian on Fox’s new standup show Laughs, Arise’s Entertainment 360 and NickMom’s new webseries Actual Housewives of PTO. In 2005, Del was named one of the Best New Faces of Comedy at Jamie Foxx’s “Laffapalooza.”
Pictured here is Kareem Chapman on stage. Photo by Maury Phillips.
A native of East Point, GA., Kareem Chapman, aka Plug Chapman is a natural born comedian, writer, and actor, with a knack for revealing the funny like a flashlight in the dark. In addition to opening up for headliners like Killer Beaz, Jodi Miller and Chris D’elia, he is a hit with audiences and has performed in venues such as The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory and John Lovitz Comedy Club just to name a few. Plug recently was selected to film a show Kevin Hart is producing on Comedy Central set to air this summer/fall.
Pictured here is Tyree Elaine on stage. Photo by Maury Phillips.
NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” SemiGfinalist, Tyree Elaine has been seen on Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes? (TV One), The Xperiment (BET), and Laff Mobb’s We Got Next (Aspire). She has also performed all over the country, from clubs, casinos, and colleges to churches and benefits. Currently, you can find her at one of the many world famous comedy venues in LA, such as The Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, Hollywood Improv, and The Comedy Union.Born and raised in Los Angeles, Tyree is fast becoming one of today’s most visible upGandGcoming performers.
“The Comedy Wings Competition is a partnership with HBO to create a pathway to opportunities within the industry for emerging comedians. Over the past four years, we have discovered talented comedians whose careers have catapulted because of the competition,” says ABFF founder Jeff Friday.
ABFF’s 4th annual Comedy Wings Competition, sponsored by HBO®, is a national search to identify outstanding comedic talent GG people who demonstrate a natural ability to be funny. The Comedy Wings Competition has been created to showcase talented yet undiscovered comedians and introduce them to the industry at large. Zainab Johnson is a Comedy Wings alum, who has appeared on television comedy shows, tours and film and was a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. ABFF has always participated in and will continue to support 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.
Join the conversation on social media by logging on to ABFF’s multiple social media platforms: • On Twitter by using hashtag: #ABFF20, #ABFFBackToTheBeach; @ABFF • On Facebook by liking the fan page, American Black Film Festival • On Instagram by liking the fan page at Instagram.com/AmericanBlackFilmFestival • On YouTube,
Sponsors for the American Black Film Festival are HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor), Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (Host and Presenting Sponsor), TV One, Cadillac, and McDonald’s (Presenting Sponsors); BET, Comcast NBCUniversal and Prudential (Platinum Sponsors); AARP, American Airlines, Kwese Media, Coors Light, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Time Warner, and VH1 (Official Sponsors); 21st Century Fox, ASPiRE, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), SAGIndie, Walter Kaitz Foundation (Industry Partners); Black Enterprise, Ebony Magazine, MIA Magazine, Upscale and TheYBF.com (Media Partners); and Blacknoir.com (Promotional Partner).
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. The festival is committed to the belief that Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. ABFF founder Jeff Friday, conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the motion picture industry, and strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Today, the ABFF is recognized as the preeminent pipeline to new Black talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. The ABFF is a property of ABFF Ventures, LLC., which is a partnership between Film Life, Inc. and Black Enterprise.
Photo of the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition, backstage featuring Chris Spencer (Executive Producer of Real Husbands Of Hollywood), Chadwick Boseman (of Captain America:Civil War), and Jeff Friday (Founder of American Black Film Festival and The Comedy Wings Competition) last night at the HaHa Cafe, which was hosted by comedian Guy Torry. Photos by Maury Phillips.