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The Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World competition on Friday revealed the names of its top 20 finalists.
Jamie Masada, who founded the Laugh Factory, a Hollywood-based chain of comedy clubs that have featured some of the most famed comedians in the country, first launched the biennial competition in 2014.
The first event featured comedians from 32 countries who seized the opportunity to educate the audience about cultural relevance while also poking fun at the stark differences and surprising similarities that bind us together.
This year’s competition, set to run Dec. 4-10, features comedians from 56 different countries, all converging in Helsinki, Finland, with the aim of providing inspiration and encouraging world peace.
Masada confirmed that within the first week of the competition’s announcement, over 20 million viewers from all over the globe have tuned in to vote. “The astonishing number highlights the hunger that people all over the globe have for the alternatives to aggression, and it further shows that laughter and our ability to poke fun at difference can be more powerful than tanks or missiles when discussing avenues to peace,” he said.
The weeklong competition will include a gala opening parade, and the final show will stream live for worldwide viewing.
The 20 finalists will each receive $1,000, two runners-up will each get $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, and the grand prize winner will walk away with the festival’s trophy and a check for $100,000.
Masada believes that this event “highlights an alternative ambassador — the kind that brings diplomacy through a belly laugh.”
See the list of finalists below:
Alex Calleja (Philippines)
Bianca Cristovao (Czech Republic)
Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley (Jamaica)
Daniel Simonsen (Norway)
David Kilimnick (Israel)
Fakkah Fuzz (Singapore)
Harith Iskander (Malaysia)
Harri Soinila (Finland)
Katerina Vrana (Greece)
Melanie Maras (Indonesia)
Michael Mittermeier (Germany)
Mino Van Nassau (India)
Murilo Couto (Brazil)
Nikola Todoroski (Macedonia)
Omar Ramzi (Saudi Arabia)
Patrick Indringi (Uganda)
Pedja Bajovi? (Croatia)
Tin Vodopivec (Slovenia)
Umar Rana (Pakistan)
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