Shane Gillis gives off post-jock energy—like someone who used to play a sport in school, then had the self-awareness to realize he wasn't cut out for it and stopped—but he isn't bitter about it at all. His friendly demeanor distracts you, while he sneaks in just a whiff of social insight within a barrage of self-deprecating sex jokes.
Shapel Lacey walked on stage emitting a doe-eyedness that was a perfect setup to talking about anger issues. He is relatively new to the comedy scene in Los Angeles, having come from Phoenix, Ariz., and a lot of his material comes from that dissonance—he closed with an alternate version of Oasis' "Wonderwall" that perfectly captures how out-of-step he feels.
A description of Dan Licata's stage persona would include the words nervy, overconfident, Italian American, dumb and scheming, but the order depends on whatever Licata needs at the moment to keep the momentum going. It's an absurdist tack that Licata runs through with enough charisma that you even start to feel for "Dan Licata."
Taylor Ortega's best character was a 911 phone-sex hotline operator for white people to call in to complain about people of color going about their day. It's also probably the only premise from the New Faces: Characters sets that might actually be a good idea?
You know those confusing laughs where a comedian brings up a horrible fact of reality that we all have to deal with daily (some more than others)? The ones where your mouth and stomach make the laughing motions while your eyebrows curve up, maybe worried about the fact that you're laughing? Rachel Pegram got two of those.
The two-word punchline to Dewayne Perkins' joke about the exact moment he realized he was gay absolutely crushes. It's an awkward-sounding phrase that's difficult to get your mouth around, but just evocative enough that you can just ... taste it.
Lael O'Shaughnessy self-deprecating humor would come off as a bit much if she weren't so confident about it. There's a way she throws her voice and arm into a joke about what kind of person is allowed to give what kind of handshake that is so assured that you forget for a second how hard she's roasting herself.
There was an endearing stiffness to Andrew Stanley's set. He told the audience he was home-schooled for the first 10 years of his life and still involved with his church, but he doesn't lean strongly on the gee-whiz-golly of it all. Instead, he takes his shots at the same Christian institutions that usually hire him.
Petty revenge stories are great because everyone can agree that nobody comes off great here, and we can all just enjoy the ride. Except Tacarra Williams' bit is her enacting some sort of revenge on her three kids, and she's more than happy to luxuriate in playing the heel.
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