Kevin Hart’s superstar stamp of approval finds a group of fast-rising comedians in “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level,” premiering June 18 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. The series spotlights seven comedians as they hit a coveted stand-up milestone: the televised half-hour special. Each episode spotlights a single performer, opening on an interview with Hart that leads into a special from the featured comedian.
“On the path to stand-up stardom, the half-hour special is a huge milestone,” said Hart. “The Next Level is all about spotlighting the next generation of stand-up headliners as they make that critical leap.”
Comedians leveling up include:
— Spank Horton, June 18
Spank Horton is a writer, actor and stand-up comedian known for his work on Kevin Hart Presents: Plastic Cup Boyz (2014), Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (2013), and Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain (2011). He has also performed stand-up on BET’s ComicView and Gotham Comedy Live and has appeared in the films Ride Along and Sucka 4 Luv.
— James Davis, June 25
James is a writer and comedian based in Los Angeles whose all-new series Hood Adjacent with James Davis premieres June 28 on Comedy Central. Previously, James has written on The Late Late Show with James Corden and appeared as a regular roundtable guest on Chelsea Lately. James’ parody Baracka Flacka Flames – Head of the State was named the #2 viral video of 2010 by AOL and has over 11 million views on the web leading to notoriety from the New York Times. James’ monthly stand up show Urban Dictionary at the Nerdmelt Showroom in Los Angeles was featured at the 2015 New York Comedy Festival and later inspired the series called Swagasaurus which lived on Comedy Central’s Snapchat Channel.
— Taneshia “Just Nesh” Rice, July 9
Taneshia “Just Nesh” Rice is one of the most high energy acts on the comedy circuit today. Most recently, Taneshia was featured on Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City on Comedy Central. “Just Nesh” has featured for comedy favorites such as Mike Epps, Cedric the Entertainer, and Paul Mooney and is on tour with Deray Davis and the legendary Dick Gregory.
— Vincent Oshana, July 9
Vincent Oshana is an LA-based comedian, actor, and Air Force veteran of Middle Eastern heritage who originally hails from Yonkers, NY. Oshana was most recently seen in the feature film Fifty Shades of Black opposite Marlon Wayans, the MTV series Acting Out, and the comedy series Return of The Mac for Pop. Prior credits include the Fox sitcom ‘Til Death, the Jamie Foxx-produced sketch series In The Flow with Affion Crockett, and as a cast member on Damon Wayans’ Showtime sketch series The Underground. His stand-up has also been profiled on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam as well as the New Wave-produced Comedy Dynamics: Coming To The Stage for Hulu.
— Mario Tory, July 16
Mario Tory is an Atlanta-based, national touring comedian originally from Chattanooga, TN. He made his first network-television debut on Bounce TV’s Off the Chain and recently appeared on Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City comedy series on Comedy Central. Mario was a finalist on NBC’s Stand-Up for Diversity and Shaq’s All-Star Comedy competitions, toured with veteran comedian Sommore and opened dates for Kym Whitley and David Arnold’s He Said She Said comedy tour. Mario was featured in Comedy Hype’s 25 Atlanta Comedians You Should Know and is the standing Saturday night host at Uptown Comedy Corner in midtown Atlanta.
— T. Kingsley, July 23
Currently living in Los Angeles, BT Kingsley hails from Sacramento, by way of Houston, by way of Oakland, CA. In 2016 he wowed hometown audiences on Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of The City on Comedy Central. As an Instagram sketch-comedy sensation, B.T. is also a regular on the LA comedy club scene; as a burgeoning headliner in his own right, he tours the top clubs across the country as the feature act for his mentor Don “DC” Curry.
— Ray Grady, July 30
Ray Grady began performing stand-up comedy in 2002, with early credits including TV One’s Who’s Got Jokes? and Jamie Foxx’s Laffapoalooza. He has toured with fellow comedians Tony Rock, Corey Holcomb and Mike Epps and appeared in CBS’s Diversity Comedy Showcase, the Game Show Network’s Mind of a Man, BET’s ComicView, and Adult Swim’s Black Jesus. He recently landed the lead role in the forthcoming film Then There Was Joe.
“Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level” is executive produced Hart, Dave Becky of 3 Arts Entertainment, Leland “Pookey” Wigington and Neal Marshall. Anne Harris is the Executives in Charge for Comedy Central.
The network has released a preview of episode one of the upcoming series featuring Hart sitting down with his old friend “Spank” Horton to talk about making the transition from audience heckler to professional stand-up comedian: