Lloyd Bishop/NBC/Getty Images
Kyle Anderson
June 29, 2012 AT 01:00 PM EDT

This week’s cover star Louis C.K. is often referred to as a comedian’s comedian, the kind of guy who considers the stand-up form sacred and takes his form and craft very seriously. In carving out his own personal area of the comedy world (one worth millions of dollars without a short term loan), he has not only cast himself as a singularity but also paved the way for a new wave of dynamic stand-ups who have thrived in today’s multi-platform environment mostly by tapping into their purest selves — just like Louis did.

So take a look at these five comics, all of whom seem ready to break out at a moment’s notice. You may not know them now… but you will.

John Mulaney

As a writer for Saturday Night Live, Mulaney co-created Stefon, Bill Hader’s trend-hunting nightlife correspondent on Weekend Update.

Obsessions: Pop-culture nostalgia; run-ins with New York weirdos; Law & Order

Key Bit: Gags about airlines are a dime a dozen in comedy clubs, but Mulaney’s extended absurd riff about airport woes dials up the silliness to excellent effect.

Find Him: Both of his albums, 2009’s The Top Part and 2012’s New In Town, are excellent, and his awesome Tumblr mixes observational comic bits with strangely sweet diversions — like when he took photos as all the Friday Night Lights filming locations on a recent trip to Austin.

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