ABFF® Comedy Wings Competition

Presented by HBO

Submissions now open

Comedy Wings


The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Comedy Wings Competition is a national competition to identify outstanding comedic talent and expose undiscovered comics aspiring to careers in film and television to the industry at large. The competition winner will attain access to new industry contacts and an additional live performance opportunity.

Although the competition officially began in 2013, ABFF has a long history of showcasing comedians early in their career. Notable comics who have performed at ABFF include Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Craig Robinson, Earthquake, Bill Bellamy, Ricky Smiley, Sheryl Underwood, Tommy Davidson and Chris Spencer.

The Comedy Wings Competition is open to all persons of African descent. Entrants must be 21 years of age or older and permanent, legal United States (“U.S.”) residents residing in one of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia as of the competition’s deadline of January 15, 2020.


  1. In order to enter, entrant must record themselves performing a 4-5-minute stand-up comedy set of original material authored by entrant and provide the link to ABFF. Recording criteria is as follows:
    • Recording must begin with entrant stating their full name, city and state in which they reside.
    • Only entrant should appear in the recorded video.
    • All backgrounds, clothing and any product(s) that appear(s) in the video must be free of trademarked materials (such as logos, artwork, type treatments, etc.).
    • Entrant’s performance will herein be referred to as the “Comedy Act.” Comedy Act must be transferred into a .Mp4 or .Mov file and housed online (via video sharing sites Vimeo.com or YouTube.com). Entrant must provide ABFF with a URL link directly to the Comedy Act. If the link is private, entrant must also provide the password to access the link.
  2. Entrant must complete one (1) Official Comedy Wings Competition Submission Form, (1) Release Form, and submit, including the URL link, to the Comedy Act by competition deadline, January 15, 2020.
  3. These three (3) items – the Comedy Act URL link, Release Form and Official Comedy Wings Competition Submission Form – will constitute entrant’s valid entry. All entries must be received by the competition deadline of January 15, 2020. Entrants may submit only once. Failure to comply with this or any other official rule will result in disqualification.


  1. All eligible submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts, The Selection Committee, whose decisions are final on all matters relating to this contest. The Selection Committee will determine up to nine (9) semi-finalists based on the following criteria: Performance – 50%, Creative Material – 50%. In the event of a tie, tied entries will be re-judged in accordance with the criteria listed above.
  2. Up to nine (9) semi-finalists will be selected and notified by phone/email no later than March 6, 2020 and be invited to perform at the ABFF Comedy Wings Semi-Finals in April 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. Each semi-finalist will be required to perform an 8-10-minute stand-up comedy routine. A panel of judges will determine up to five (5) finalists based on the performances.
  3. The finalists will each receive a trip prize to the 2020 ABFF in Miami, FL, including:
    • Airfare – One (1) round-trip coach class ticket (if finalist lives outside of Florida
    • Hotel Accommodations – Four nights: June 17 – June 21
    • ABFF Festival credentials – Two credentials, one each for the finalist and a guest
    • and, the opportunity to perform in the ABFF Comedy Wings Finals on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
    • NOTE – Finalists must possess required travel documents (e.g., valid photo ID, real ID, passport, etc.) prior to departure. Finalists must agree to travel on dates specified by ABFF. No substitution or transfer of prize is permitted. The ABFF reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

  4. Finalists will perform in the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition Finals on Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Miami Beach, FL. Each finalist will be required to perform a 10-12-minute stand-up comedy routine. One winner will be determined by the combined vote of the Finals Jury and announced at the close of the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition Finals.
  5. The 2020 Comedy Wings Competition Winner will receive a grand prize to be announced at a later date by ABFF.

GENERAL RULES: Any person who possesses an artist management contract is not eligible to enter the Comedy Wings Competition. By entering the Comedy Wings Competition, all entrants consent to: (a) the use of their original submission, semi-final and final performances as well as their name/likeness and address (city/state only) to be announced in media including but not limited to internet, television, radio, magazines and newspapers for publicity, advertising, consumer voting and promotional purposes unless expressly prohibited by law; (b) ABFF Ventures, its subsidiaries, sponsors and affiliates, has the right to use/broadcast the submission or portions thereof in advertisement and/or in the promotion of the contest, consumer voting and ABFF without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. Acceptance of any prize constitutes permission to ABFF and its affiliates to use winner’s submission, name and/or likeness for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. By accepting prize, finalists and winner agree to hold ABFF, its respective directors, officers, employees, assigns, sponsors and affiliates harmless against any and all claims and liability arising out of use of the content of his/her submission and prize. Finalists and winner assume all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in this competition or use or redemption of any prize. By participating in this competition, entrants agree to be bound by the Comedy Wings Official 2020 Competition Rules and the decisions of The Selection Committee, judges, and jury. ABFF is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the competition official rules, administration of the contest, announcement of the finalists, broadcast of any submission and related details, announcement of the finalists, winner and any related prizes.