NBC Universal Announces 2012 'Stand Up for Diversity' Open Calls

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NBC Universal has announced the dates and locations for its ninth annual Stand Up for Diversity open call auditions. Beginning in July, comics in the New York, Vancouver, Phoenix, and Atlanta areas will have the opportunity to advance their comedy careers with help from NBC.

According to NBC Universal, "This is not a show that will air on NBC, but rather an opportunity to be showcased for agents, casting directors, and television executives in consideration for future casting and development opportunities. This open call is for comics of diverse backgrounds who are serious about being funny."

Open calls will be held Tuesday, July 10 at Stand Up Live in Phoenix; Monday, July 30 at The Comedy Mix in Vancouver; Saturday, August 11 at The Punchline in Atlanta; and Sunday, September 9 at The Comedy Cellar in New York City. For more information and audition details for each city, view the full casting notice at BackStage.com. (Subscription required.)

Only the first 100 comics will be seen at each audition location, so early attendance is encouraged. Comics will have one minute to perform at their initial audition. A handful will be invited to callbacks later that day to perform a longer set, and the top comics will be selected to perform in a live showcase the next evening. Comics must have five minutes of polished material to be selected for the showcase.

Selected comics will then be brought to Los Angeles to showcase for NBC and industry pros in the Best Of Stand-Up for Diversity show, sign a holding deal with NBC, perform at the NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) National Convention, join the Stand-Up For Diversity Nationwide College Tour, and more.

Past winners and finalists include Hannibal Buress ("30 Rock"), Eric Andre ("Don't Trust the B– in Apartment 23"), Deon Cole ("Conan"), Brandon T. Jackson ("Tropic Thunder"), Hari Kondabolu, W. Kamau Bell, Brent Weinbach, Sheng Wang, and Calise Hawkins. 2011 winner Tone Bell received a one-year talent holding deal with NBCUniversal.

In addition to its annual Stand Up for Diversity program, NBC is also committed to hiring more minority performers of all types through its ongoing DiverseCity talent diversity initiative, which includes casting opportunities, events, and contests.

Dan Lehman is a staff writer at Back Stage. Follow him on Twitter: @byDanLehman