The Jess Ilias Clavelli Comedy Award (aka "The Jess") is an award given annually to an individual junior or senior comic performer. Stand-up, improv, sketch—it's all good! Student comics submit a video sample of their work and a panel will narrow the submissions to a handful of finalists. The finalists’ performances will be shown at ComEx! 2021 with feedback from a panel of judges. Students are welcome to have others perform with them in their video submissions and and final recorded performance for ComEx!, but the prize will only be awarded to an individual. The works that finalists perform at ComEx on April 10 should be created and performed by the comic.

The total award purse is $2,000. The top three performers will be given a cash prize ($1,400 for first place, $500 for second, and $100 for third), with the top performer being awarded the Jess Award.

Rules & Regulations


  • Open to currently enrolled Emerson juniors and seniors.
  • Must be a Comedic Arts BFA major or a member of a SGA recognized comedy troupe.
  • Only videos submitted using the form below will be considered.
  • Students who submit must be available to film a polished performance to be shown at ComEx! on April 10 should their video be selected as a finalist.

Format: Stand-up – Improv – Sketch.  It's all good!

  • This award is for an individual comic.
  • The comic may recruit others to perform with him/her/them in sketch or improv pieces, both in their video submission and live at ComEx.
  • Routines submitted on video and performed live at ComEx must be original and created, written, and performed by the comic.
  • Nominees will NOT be judged on production values. This is about comedy. 
  • Finalists will be asked to film a high quality, polished video to be shown as part of ComEx! for judging.
  • Finalists will be informed of their selection by March 22, 2021.
  • Finalists may perform the same routine/sketch/game for their ComEx! performance as they submitted for first round judging, but they are free to create something new.

Your Video Submission

  • Video length: 3 minutes.
  • Upload your video to Panopto, YouTube, or Vimeo and make certain the URL is viewable by others.
  • Submission deadline: March 15, 2021.
  • Only one video submission per person.
  • Make certain the voices in your video are clear, but video production quality isn't the point; we want to see your skills as a performer.
  • Once you complete the Google submission form linked below, click “Send."
  • Finalists will be informed of their selection by March 22, 2021 and have until April 2, 2021 to submit their final ComEx performance video.

Submit here!


E-mail adam_greenfield [at] (subject: Jess%20Ilias%20Clavelli%20Comedy%20Award%20questions)


Jess Ilias Clavelli was the six-year-old son of Christopher Clavelli (’83). He died suddenly in February of 2003. Even at that young age, Jess displayed a unique gift for storytelling. While other children were creating happy characters, Jess understood how conflict in his stories could help him find the heart of the action and what was humorous about the situation. This award seeks to commemorate and honor Jess and to recognize a student comic who demonstrates the sweet and funny attributes that marked Jess’s short life.