Candid Portraits of Comedians Before They Go On Stage

Photographer Joseph Fuda captures the vulnerability of comedians including Hannibal Buress, Jim Jefferies and Maria Bamford.


When your job description is feared more commonly than death, it’s hard to imagine the type of people it attracts. Stand-up comedy takes public speaking to the next level and demands the performers are funny, vulnerable, honest and full of energy. With just a microphone and a spotlight, they perform for hundreds of people and watch out for hecklers.

Photographer Joseph Fuda (@fudagraphy) captured the candid portraits of the world’s funniest comedians just before they went to work. These professionals don’t look nervous. Instead, it’s a vulnerability that Fuda expertly documents. The stark black and white photographs are artful and intimate—they’re less goofy and more soulful.

“The festival was hectic but exciting,” Fuda said. “I used a direct, unfiltered flash to give the effect of a mugshot or Weegee-style photo when the image is processed in black and white. Also, whenever possible, I tried to use a brick wall for that classic comedy feel.”

The series—which features Jim Jefferies, Maria Bamford and Hannibal Buress, among others—was taken at Just For Laughs comedy festivals in both Toronto and Montreal locations. The multi-city event also hits Vancouver, Canada and Sydney, Australia.

See more of Joseph Fuda’s photography at

Want to add famous faces to your portfolio? Read our How to Photograph Celebrities: An Insider Guide.

Craig Robinson

Maria Bamford

Andy Kindler

Chris D’Elia, Anthony Jeselnik

Natasha Leggero

Louie Anderson

Nick Thune

Jim Jefferies

Jimmy Carr

Mary Lynn Rajskub

Tom Henry, Trevor Noah


Tig Notaro

Lewis Black

K Trevor Wilson

Hannibal Buress

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