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He describes it as "the most terrifying moment of my life" and remembers that "every liquid in my body was volunteering to leave my body from fear and terror." Since then, those nerves have clearly calmed down and he's become a way more confident performer, which you can hear for yourself on his comedy EP, "The Human Being." Even though Mia Jackson's first stand-up performance back in the early 2000s earned her "a bunch of sympathy laughs" from friends and family, it was enough to propel her to a career that includes opening for Dave Chappelle, appearing on about her first-ever gig -- while holding down a corporate job, she made the transition to full-time comic in 2014, 10 years after breaking into Atlanta's clubs.
Now, she's telling her jokes about the pains of being a too-tall lady and fighting over a Popeyes biscuit with an ex around the country.
During one of his stand-up performances at Philadelphia's Helium Comedy Club, Brandon Jackson tells the crowd he's from Delaware and interrupts them when they start to applaud. It's a small moment, but it's reflective of the performer's low-key, self-deprecating approach to comedy.
A University of Delaware graduate originally from Wilmington, Jackson has worked at a youth prison and as a teacher, two experiences he incorporates into his material onstage.
Some of our choices are on the cusp of breaking out nationally, while others seem perfectly content with making locals laugh in less populated areas.
In certain cases, we picked comedians who didn't grow up in or who no longer live in their respective states, but they all identify and maintain strong connections with the place in question.
"I need to be an advocate for other shy people and speak on their behalf because they can't do it for themselves," she quips in a taped performance for the .
As an Avon resident, her first-ever show was all the way out in Los Angeles at The Improv, a stage where all the biggest names have performed.
It's enough to make you tired just reading about it, but Kayla's anything-goes approach has also made her a popular figure in the thrumming Arkansas comedy scene.
Augie Tulba, who performs under the stage moniker Augie T, may not be a household name on the mainland, but he's been a comedy mainstay in Hawaii for more than a quarter century, ever since doing 10 minutes of open mic work at the Honolulu Comedy Club.
In the ensuing years, Augie's work has been recognized by publications like , and he won two Na Hoku Hanohano awards (the Hawaiian Grammys, as they're known) for Best Comedy Album.
New York and Los Angeles have long been the hubs of American comedy, with Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and a handful of other major American cities acting as regional beacons for hopeful stand-ups.
But we wanted to know, because no one ever seems to ask: Who's hilarious in Hawaii, funny in Florida, killing in Kentucky, and slaying in South Dakota right now?