Filipino American JR De Guzman beat 600 other comedians in this year’s StandUpNBC, a talent search for stand-up comedians throughout the country.
As a musician and teacher born in the Philippines and raised in California, De Guzman was thankful for the opportunity. “I really hope this is a win for the Filipino community and people of all diverse backgrounds,” he said in an interview with the Asian Journal. De Guzman frequently mixes music in with his performances and engages his audience with a guitar.
The winner first auditioned for StandUp NBC in 2013, but did not feel as prepared. When he returned in 2016, he said that he had a “really good feeling about doing [it].” In the final round of the competition, De Guzman and other finalists performed stand-up comedy in front of an audience of television executives, directors, agents, managers and industry tastemakers.
“JR [De Guzman] is a unique comic talent who impressed us with his presence and genuine optimism,” said Grace Wu, vice president of casting at NBC Entertainment, the Asian Journal reports. “I am grateful that our pipeline programs like StandUp NBC continue to introduce us to fresh new voices who will widen the breadth of talent for our shows.”
De Guzman has traveled around the world to perform. Among other comedy events, Guzman has performed at the Stand-Up Tokyo and ROR Comedy in Japan, the Jokers Ball in Indonesia and the Edmonton Comedy Festival. His own debut comedy album Dual Citizen will come out on February 24.
“I think it’s important for other Filipinos interested in [comedy] to see someone else doing it and see that it’s an option,” he said. “Being Filipino on the comedy side of it motivated me to hopefully one day be a role model for other Filipinos, like [those] striving to be comedians, entertainers or performers in some ways.”
De Guzman has been awarded a year-long talent holding deal with NBCUniversal and a headlining spot at the annual convention of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). As part of his win, he will also headline the regional semi-finalist showcases for StandUp NBC.
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