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. Finalists will perform live in person for the award honor and cash prizes during the annual ComEx! comedy festival in the spring with feedback from a panel of judges. Students are welcome to have others perform with them in their video submissions and live at ComEx!, but the prize will only be awarded to a single individual.

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 Ilias Clavelli Comedy Award.

Spring 2024 Competition Rules & Guidelines


  • 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.


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 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.
  • Finalists will be informed of their selection by March 28, 2024.

Your Video Submission

  • Submission deadline: March 18, 2024
  • Video length: 3 minutes
  • Upload your video to Panopto, YouTube, or Vimeo and make certain the URL is viewable by others.
  • 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 28, 2024 and have until April 13, 2024 to prepare a 3- to 5-minute performance for ComEx! 2024.

Submit here!

2023 marked the 20th Anniversary of The Jess Award. Past recipients recorded messages of thanks to the Clavelli family as well as encouragement for the competitors.

Thumbnail for 20th Anniversary Jess Ilias Clavelli Video

Past Recipients


First Place

Saskia Penning

Second Place

Scotty Herrera

Third Place

Max Charbonneau


First Place

Cole Alberti

Second Place

Emily Hammond

Third Place

Breanna Nesbeth


First Place

Aileen O’Brien

Second Place

Shelley Gruenberg

Third Place

Faith Saporito


First Place

Alyssa DeVries

Second Place

Nate Shu

Third Place

Lucy Erspamer


First Place

Tova Tencer

Second Place

Zoë Limbrick

Third Place

Jacob Feldman


*Hiatus year


Kaylin Mahoney


Brad Beideman


Talia Heller & Marcos Gonzalez (tie)


Jamie Loftus


Katerina (Kailey) Godoy & Andrew (Andy) Short (tie)


Elenor Monahan & Jeremy Sender (tie)


Julia Mattison


Evan Kaufman


Zach Willis


Dan Perrault


Elisha Yaffe


Jessica Modrall & Drew DeFonzo Marks (tie)


Patrick Baker


Bradley Smith


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

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.