3rd Annual SymmyS Award Judges
- Ron Funches is a stand up comedian and actor who plays "Shelly" on the NBC hit sitcom "Undateable." He is currently appearing in the hit movie "Get Hard" with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell. Ron, a slyly smart comic with a very likeable style, also has recurring roles on Comedy Central’s KROLL SHOW and Disney’s CRASH AND BERNSTEIN. He has performed his comedy on TBS’s CONAN O’BRIEN SHOW, and Comedy Central’s JOHN OLIVER’S NEW YORK STAND UP SHOW.
- Socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell has emerged as the post-modern voice of comedy. Named an Ambassador of Racial Justice by the ACLU, his weekly half-hour FX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, premiered in August 2012 and became a critically acclaimed but criminally short nightly show in September of 2013 on FX’s new comedy network FXX. The NY Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” The show was nominated for “Best Talk Series” at the 2012 NAACP Image Awards and Salon.com listed Kamau on their “Sexiest Men of 2012” list, calling the series “surreptitiously revolutionary in its effortless diversity and humanism.” The San Francisco Chronicle raved, “it makes The Daily Show seem like something your dad watches.” Totally Biased was executive produced by Chris Rock, who became a fan after seeing a performance of Kamau’s one man show.
- Myq Kaplan is a comedian named Mike Kaplan.
He has been seen on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, the Late Show with David Letterman, and in his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents special. He has been heard on his albums "Meat Robot" and "Vegan Mind Meld" (which was one of iTunes top 10 comedy albums of the year), his podcast, "Hang Out With Me" on the Keith and The Girl network, and also thousands of other podcasts and things that aren't podcasts. In addition to being seen and heard, he has been smelled and tasted and touched. In May 2014, his one-hour special, "Small, Dork, and Handsome," debuted on Netflix, and all kinds of other things will probably happen in the future, but bios are mainly about the past. Check out myqkaplan.com for more information, and/or live your life however you choose. Thanks!
- MC Mr. Napkins (aka Zach Sherwin) is a comedian and rapper based in Los Angeles. His television credits include “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell” (FX) and “The Pete Holmes Show” (TBS), as well as appearances on E!, VH1, and CNN Headline News. He also writes for and performs in the blockbuster YouTube series “Epic Rap Battles of History,” playing such characters as Stephen King, Sherlock Holmes, and Egon Spengler, and he was awarded an RIAA-certified gold record for the “Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking” single. Zach’s own music videos have been viewed millions of times online, and his latest album, "Rap!," will be released June 9, 2015 on AST Records.
- Will Shortz is NPR’s Puzzle Master and the New York Times’ Crossword Editor. He is the star of the documentary film "WordPlay."
- Margaret Malone is a fast-rising literary star. Her brilliant and very funny debut book of short fiction, "People Like You," will be released by Atelier26 Books in November, 2015 and will be available at bookstores and online at the A26 Books website and at Powells.com. Malone’s writing has appeared in The Missouri Review, Oregon Humanities Magazine, Coal City Review, Swink, Nailed, latimes.com, and the Forest Avenue Press anthology The Night, and the Rain, and the River.
- Ben Zimmer, executive producer of VisualThesaurus.com and Vocabulary.com, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal
- Jack Rosenthal, Pulitzer Prize winning editorial writer, retired from the New York Times,
- Tim Van Ert (aka Timi Imit) of the biggest palindrome website, MockOK.com
-- Jeff Grant, legendary New Zealand palindromist (Word Ways magazine).