On his afternoon show, Radio 2 presenter Steve Wright unveiled the awards and invited prospective entrants to submit five minutes of material before the closing date of March 27.
The BBC New Comedy Award was cancelled in 2005 after almost a decade in operation, but the scheme will return on Radio 2 this year under a new format, including audience interactivity for the first time.
Previous winners have gone on to be big stars, including Marcus Brigstocke (winner 1996), Josie Long (winner 1999), Alan Carr (winner 2001) and Rhod Gilbert (winner 2003). Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Russell Howard, Justin Lee Collins, Sarah Millican and Julian Barratt have all previously reached the competition finals.
Speaking today, Wright said: "Just taking a look at the roll-call of previous BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award winners and finalists should be all the encouragement anyone needs if they're thinking about entering.
"So go on, give it a go and send us five minutes of your best material. Thanks to Radio 2, you could be the comedy talent the nation has been waiting for!"
Regional heats will take place around the UK in April and May, before the grand final airs on Radio 2 on June 18, presented by Patrick Kielty.
The prize for this year's winner is the opportunity to perform a slot on Radio 2's Comedy Zone, along with development advice and guidance from BBC Radio Comedy.
Kielty said: "Trying to make it as a stand-up comic can be a scary ride, but it can also be brilliant fun. The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who thinks this could be their true calling. And if you don't take the plunge you'll never know."