The American Black Film Festival and HBO Announce Finalists for the 3rd Annual Comedy Wings Competition

New York, New York, (May 5, 2015) – Last night, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) held their Comedy Wings Semi-Finals at the New York Comedy Club. Hosted by actor and comedian Earthquake, the judges selected who will compete at the 3rd annual Comedy Wings Competition, presented by HBO, during the American Black Film Festival in New York City June 11 – 14 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Each finalist will also receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City and a meeting with HBO talent executives.

The finalists were selected by an esteemed panel of accomplished artists and industry executives, including Director, Special Events and Programming at HBO, Aaron Spina, Innovative Artist comedy agent Annie Lauter, “Def Comedy Jam” producer Bob Sumner, Natasha Eubanks founder of, Comedian and Television Host Amanda Seales, along with American Black Film Festival founder Jeff Friday.

“Last night was an amazing showcase of comedians from around the country. Each comic exemplified talent and unique style, which made the competition very tough and close to judge. We are excited for the 3rd Annual Comedy Wings Competition Finals and to see these four comedians take to the stage on June 12th,” says ABFF founder Jeff Friday.

The 3rd annual Comedy Wings finalists, who kept the audience laughing all night long, come from across the United States and have varied backgrounds. See the talented Comedy Wings finalists below:

Chastity Washington is a comedian and actress whose career has spanned over twenty years. A former teacher and coach, her stand up career highlights include BET COMIC VIEW, HBO DEF Jam, 50 Hot Women in Stand Up,, History Channel, How the States Got There, Shape, and Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. Chastity is a NBC DIVERSITY FINALIST.

Dino Vigo is one of today’s most refreshingly pure comics, with uncompromising wit and a minimalist’s approach to the mic. Born of a mixed race union, Dino says his make-up was a huge influence to his comedic outlook given his access to both his Father’s Black/Latino culture and Mothers' Russian Jewish decent, enabling him a broad comedy palate that has only augmented his natural abilities. A skilled writer, as well as performer, Vigo seems poised to take the comedy world by storm and yet remains remarkably grounded in his approach to his craft. "I just want to be one of the ones to preserve comedy in its truest form - to have people say he did it the way it was to be done!" Seeing him on stage it is doubtful anyone could argue this point.

As a three-time champion on Showtime at the Apollo, Kareem Green is a multi-faceted entertainer and comedian whose talents include Stand-up, Improv, Acting and Writing. Kareem’s relatable comedic style has earned him television appearances on BET Comic View, TV One’s Bill Bellamy’s “Who’s Got Jokes,” Comedy Central’s “Russell Simmons presents the Ruckus” and Gotham Live.

Mike Merrill has performed internationally at 15 locations throughout the world, as well as multiple clubs throughout the US. He has performed in the World Series of Comedy, Stand Up For Diversity and was voted best of the fest at the 2014 SLO Fest. He’s also performed at a lot of open mics. He’s had a comedy sketch, which he wrote and performed in featured on the Just For Laughs site portal. When he’s not performing, some of his activities and accomplishments include resting, speaking Spanish poorly and volunteering as an assistant Life Coach. Love his skin.

The Comedy Wings Competition is one of several platforms innovated by the ABFF designed to uncover talent and introduce them to a broader audience. ABFF has always participated in the cultivation of Black talent and has provided a stage over the years for dynamic performers such as Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, Craig Robinson, Tommy Davidson and Bill Bellamy.

Sponsors of the 2015 American Black Film Festival, to date, are: HBO® (Presenting & Founding); TV One and Cadillac (Presenting); Comcast NBCUniversal and Prudential Financial Services (Premier); AMC Theatres, American Airlines, McDonald's and TNT (Signature); Macy’s (Official); ASPIRE, Motion Picture Association of America and UPtv (Supporting); RLJ Entertainment, SAGIndie and The Walter Kaitz Foundation (Industry Partners); Uptown Magazine, EBONY and The YBF (Media Partners); and, New York Urban League Young Professionals, Madiba Harlem, MoMA and The JDot. Agency (Promotional Partners).

For festival passes, tickets and other information, visit

About ABFF:

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Annually held during the month of June, the ABFF is committed to the belief that black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. ABFF fFounder Jeff Friday, conceived the idea for the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the motion picture industry.

Today, the festival is widely recognized for showcasing established and new black talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. The ABFF is produced by Film Life, Inc. and black enterprise.

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