Penn State alumnus Joe Machi, born and raised in State College, is downright hilarious. And he’s put that talent to good use, as he’s currently competing on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and doing quite well for himself — he’s advanced to the top eight of the American Idol-style comic-search show.
He’s got a very unique style of stand-up, combining a nasally voice with some forced awkwardness and a deliberate presentation for a weird but spot-on comedic effect. The Centre Daily Times did a question-and-answer with the former supermarket customer service manager, in which he says that he learned lessons from open mic nights at the Skeller, the Dark Horse and the Phyrst. He moved to New York City to pursue stand-up in 2006, and has only been gaining in popularity since. He must be, since his bio says that his influences include “everyone he’s ever talked to.”
Machi’s resume isn’t shabby to this point. He performed stand-up on Jimmy Fallon in 2012, and won New York’s Funniest Stand-Up competition as part of the New York Comedy Fest in 2013.
“Even when things go well, I’m like, ‘yeah well, I still have work to do,'” Machi said on the show. “And that’s a good thing for a comedian, because that makes you self-aware and you keep working hard.”
Here’s his semi-finals routine that propelled him into the top 10:
“Last Comic Standing” airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m on NBC if you want to root him on.