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[07/22/08 - 11:13 AM]
NBC Universal's 'Stand Up for Diversity' Begins Its Expanded Search for the Nation's Funniest Diverse Comics with Kickoff in Chicago
In addition, comedian Bill Bellamy has agreed to be the celebrity spokesperson for the tour.

[via press release from NBC]

NBC UNIVERSAL'S 'STAND UP FOR DIVERSITY' BEGINS ITS EXPANDED SEARCH FOR THE NATION'S FUNNIEST DIVERSE COMICS WITH KICKOFF IN CHICAGO

NBC UNIVERSAL'S 'STAND UP FOR DIVERSITY' BEGINS ITS EXPANDED SEARCH FOR THE NATION'S FUNNIEST DIVERSE COMICS WITH KICKOFF IN CHICAGO

Comedian Bill Bellamy to be Celebrity Spokesperson for the Tour

BURBANK, Calif. � July 22, 2008 � Following on NBC Universal's tremendous success in 2007 with the "Stand-Up for Diversity" open calls and showcases, NBCU now begins this year's nationwide search for the funniest comics of diverse backgrounds by expanding its open calls to five major U.S. cities, beginning in Chicago July 27, it was announced by Marc Hirschfeld, Executive Vice President, Casting, NBC Entertainment.

The four other cities are Houston, Cleveland, Baltimore and New York. The New York City showcase will serve as the kickoff event of the New York Comedy Fest. The finalist showcase will take place in Los Angeles in early December at which another talent holding deal with NBC Universal will be awarded and other exciting prizes will be presented.

"Last year was a true testament to NBC Universal's commitment to showcasing and exposing fresh diverse talent to entertainment industry in Hollywood," said Hirschfeld. "Our grass roots efforts have proven to be successful which is why we are adding more cities to the tour, confirming our priority of exposing key industry players to some of America's funniest diverse comics."

In addition, comedian Bill Bellamy (NBC's "Last Comic Standing") has agreed to be the celebrity spokesperson for the tour. "I'm honored to be a part of 'Stand-Up for Diversity.' I'm excited that NBC Universal is making an effort to further their diversity efforts," said Bellamy.

The "Stand-Up for Diversity" tour will begin on Sunday, July 27 with an open call at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago. The process begins with auditions that will start promptly at 10 a.m. at Zanies Comedy Club, located at 1548 North Wells St., Chicago 60610. The first 100 comedians will have the opportunity to perform a one-minute stand-up set (early arrival is strongly recommended). A small group of semi-finalists will be asked to return later in the day to perform a longer set for callbacks, and the finalists will perform their original material at the NBC Universal sponsored showcase the following evening.

Following the auditions, a live showcase will be held at Zanies on Sunday, July 28 at 8 p.m. Chicagoans are encouraged to come out and support their local comics as audience response will be a factor in determining which comic -- or comics -- will be selected for the 'Best of "Stand-Up for Diversity"' showcase to be held in Los Angeles this fall.

Many of the comics from last year's 'Best of "Stand-Up for Diversity"' showcase in New York City signed with top Hollywood agents and met with the entertainment industry's leading casting directors and executives.

The top prize of 2007 went to comedian Maronzio Vance, who was signed with Lee Kernis at Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Vance will now play a new role when he joins the "Stand-Up for Diversity" tour this year as a correspondent capturing highlights from each city's open call and showcase.

Over the course of the next several months, "Stand-Up for Diversity" open calls and showcases will be held at the following cities:

CHICAGO
Zanies Comedy Club
Auditions:
Sunday, July 27 at 10 a.m.
Showcase:
Monday, July 28 at 8 p.m.

HOUSTON
Laffstop Comedy Club
Auditions:
Sunday, August 10 at 10 a.m.
Showcase:
Monday, August 11 at 8 p.m.

CLEVELAND
Hilarities Comedy Club
Auditions:
Sunday, August 24 at 10 a.m.
Showcase:
Monday, August 25 at 8 p.m.

BALTIMORE
The Comedy Factory
Auditions:
Sunday, October 12 at 10 a.m.
Showcase:
Monday, October 13 at 8 p.m.

NEW YORK
Auditions & Showcase:
November 2008
Dates and venue to be announced

Check for details on the next open calls and showcases in these cities by going online to www.standupnbc.com or www.diversecitynbc.com.





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· LAST COMIC STANDING (NBC)











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