Comedian Ali Siddiq has the rare ability to bring a light, optimistic touch to stories that in most people's hands would come off as bitter. His true story for Comedy Central's acclaimed series This Is Not Happening, about how he was forced to participate in a prison riot on his first day behind bars, sounds pretty terrible on paper. Siddiq quickly learned that prisoners segregate themselves by race, and that he needed to find a knife to protect himself. Coming to terms with new surroundings is made hilarious by Siddiq's comedic timing and emphasis on the absurd, as he remembers wandering aimlessly around looking for a knife salesman named C.C. "I can't see C.C.!"
Siddiq is also an expert at using his body, mimicking his younger self practicing with the knife, looking almost nerdy as he bobs and weaves. In his latest half-hour special for Comedy Central, Siddiq again makes impressive use of his body humor, as he makes even the simple act of eating trail mix with his new all-white, gated-community neighbors hilarious. Siddiq clearly has a warm heart, and an ability to find humor worth exploring in any setting. —Reid Kurkerewicz