Washington native to compete on NBC comedy show

Published 7:04 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019


Washington Daily News

A new series on NBC will have comedians competing for a cash prize, and locals may recognize one of the contestants.

McKenna Cox, the newest member of the New York-based sketch comedy troupe Room 28, will perform alongside her fellow members in an effort to win a $250,000 prize on NBC’s new series, “Bring the Funny.” A native of Washington, Cox found a love for comedy during her time at East Carolina University.

“A lot of friends were on the improv team there (ECU), called Swish, and they talked me into auditioning,” Cox said. “I was so terrified because improv is no-script. I ended up auditioning after, I think, a year or two of them convincing me to, and it kind of opened me up to the comedy world.”

Cox was born and raised in Washington and was always interested in acting. She graduated from ECU’s Theatre Arts BFA program in 2012, and moved to New York that year to pursue her acting dreams.

“When I moved to New York … I ended up doing an off-Broadway showcase, called The Actor’s Project, to try and get representation. It ended up introducing me to more sketch comedy, which is more what I do now.”

During that same showcase, Room 28’s Andrew Casanova asked her to audition for the open spot on the comedic troupe and, despite the troupe being Latino-based, she joined the team in 2016.

“One of the girls in their group had to leave because she booked a regular role in ‘Orange is the New Black,’” Cox said. “I ended up getting the spot in the group. I think it’s made it more multicultural.”

Room 28 has gathered several awards for their sketches, including Best Actor at the 2017 Latino Short Film Festival and Best Emsemble Cast, Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at the 2018 NY Indie Film Festival. The team has consecutively sold out shows since 2014, and now they have the opportunity to showcase their talent on national television.

“Bring the Funny” is a new series on NBC where comedic acts compete for a chance to win the $250,000 prize, including YouTubers, sketch troupes, magicians and more. Judged by Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen and Jeff Foxworthy, the comedians’ goal is to make the audience, and judges, laugh the most in three minutes.

The show premieres July 9 at 10 p.m., and according to Cox, the show will not only showcase humor, but also the authenticity of each performer.

“The really cool thing about the show is that there are comedians and comedic acts from all over the world … and everybody was so nice and supportive of each other,” Cox said. “I think you’re going to see how fun and good these people are. Someone can be funny, but if they’re not fun to work with, what’s the point?”

Although Cox has had extensive success in her career in sketch comedy, she has not forgotten the people of Washington, and the role the town played in that success.

“If I didn’t have the childhood that I did, and the upbringing that I did … I wouldn’t have been able to have the skill set to follow my dreams,” Cox said. “I’m just very grateful for the people in my life that helped me become who I am.”

Cox is also a member of Bragging Rights, a monthly sketch comedy show, and Comedy Derailed, an all-women comedy show. For more information and updates on Cox, visit www.mckennacox.com.