Seattle International Comedy Competition

Reminiscences of Past Winners - John McClellan 1996 (NSFW)

The Truth About The Seattle International Comedy Competition:

The only viable reason I have for telling “The Truth” is to keep me out of the back of a squad car. Everything else that comes out of my mouth is a translation of facts and occurrences designed to land the things I want from minute to minute; booze, girlfriends, car rides and Milky Way candy bars. Every good story needs some extra juice to distract you from whatever my hidden agenda is (in this case, to get you to read and subscribe to my Boozecoma Humor Blog and as the winner of The Seattle International Comedy Competition as well as 2 time host and emcee of the contest, I have several tales that I tell about my experiences that have augmented from actual occurrence to showstopper story. Here are some of the stories followed by what is most likely recorded on the police report.

Interview With A Vampire:


H. Clay Jones was the Seattle Comedy Competition’s minister of cool in addition to being an important part of the operational machine running the contest. Mr. Jones is also a card-carrying vampire .

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Reminiscences of Past Winners - Steve Stajich 1988

steve stajich--champion 1988

Coming in for a landing in Seattle

Nice to meet you on the World Wide InterWeb… my name is Steve Stajich and I was honored to win the Seattle Comedy Competition in 1988.

While I believe that you never quite give-up stand-up (more on that in a moment), I did stop performing comedy on stage about ten years ago. So I can’t speak with much authority on the stand-up comedy business right now. I will say that in living in Los Angeles you observe that there are templates in stand-up and comics find their template and pursue it: Edgy guy, likeable guy, actor guy looking to get roles from club sets, guy pretending to have a mental problem but not really, and so forth. Female comics now seem to have greater latitude in presenting a persona than they did during the so-called “boom” years, but you’d have to talk to them about whether it’s still more difficult to be a female comic.

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Reminiscences of Past Winners - Ron Osborne 1998, Bill Radke 1992

ron osborne--champion 1998

If you win the Seattle International Comedy Competition, you can use it for the rest of your life as your intro at comedy shows. I recommend writing it out for the MC like this: "He also won the PRESTIGIOUS Seattle International Comedy Competition..." Crowds will respect you more if they really emphasize the "prestigious" part.

I put it on my resume, too. I'm not sure if it helped me get all the commercials I do (check out; ), but it sure as hell didn't hurt!

 As a matter of fact, I wouldn't doubt if the title directly contributed to my being cast in this swell new cartoon:

 And I am sure winning it had nothing to do with my Grampa's recent illness.


bill radke--champion 1992

Two favorite SCC memories:

 1) Watching Patton Oswalt abandon his act and goof throught the entire set and still be funnier than any of us, and I'm thinking some day this guy will be a famous French rat.

 2) Coming from behind on the last night to make the cometition finals and driving in circles around a Bellingham mall parking lot, whooping it up.

 Still miss it.

Finals Night 4 Admiral Theatre/Bremerton

Our run of beautiful sold-out theaters continued at the art deco Admiral in downtown Bremerton. David Crowe was once again masterful as the MC, the comics all crushed.

We don't usually comment here on the judging, but tonight the audience and judges were definitely not marching in lockstep, most noticeably when crowd favorite Jose Sarduy was announced in 5th place. Of course, the audience doesn't know that scores often come down to hundredths of a point, since they are only privy to the ordinals and not the cardinals.

When all was said and done, Rodger Lizaola, a San Francisco Comedy Competition finalist earlier this year, grabbed his first first-place finish of either event's final round.

1. Rodger Lizaola 2. Travis Simmons 3. Sean Kent 4. Paul Hooper 5. Jose Sarduy

That means the big Final-Final at the Moore will bring big drama. BIG. Be there.


Rodger "the missing Mario brother" Lizaola

Finals Night 3 Kirkland Performance Center

The Kirkland Performance Center is the longest-running venue partner of the Seattle Comedy Competition, going back to 1999, the year the theater opened. KPC is an intimate 400-seat space that is perfect for stand-up comedy, and the shows do turn-away business. The Competition Finals on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend is now part of the theater's season, along with our New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day comedy shows.

The audiences are red-hot. And this sold-out house was no exception

The brilliant David Crowe ("Crooked Finger," Showtime) hosted, warming things up almost instantaneously in the opening segment, after the intermission, and everywhere in between. And the Finalists kept it up, rocking it, baby, all night long.

As if that wasn't enough we were treated to a closing set by Emmy-winning comic Rick Overton, currently appearing as Pam's dad on "The Office."

And the results were completely different from the previous two night of finals, which means that these last two shows are critically important.

Continuing what has been emerging as a pattern, Paul Hooper went from 5th on Wednesday to 1st tonight; 2nd was Jose Sarduy, duplicating his second-place finish from Wednesday, but who also finished 5th on Tuesday. Travis Simmons, breaking the streak of opening comic finishing last, came in 3rd, to go with his 1st place and 4th place finishes; Sean Kent was 4th, after finishing 2 and 1 the first two night; Rodger Lizaola, always the most consistent, was 5th tonight, following 4th and 3rd place.

That's why we call it a contest.

"Behold the glory that stands before you."

Thanks, Pagliacci!

30 years of great comedy, 30 years of great pizza
(L) Travis Simmons, (R) Sean Kent

Finals Night 2 Vashon Theater

Some good news, some not so good tonight - first bit of good news, 300+ people. First bit of bad news - the theater was broken into and robbed Saturday night. The perpetrators got a digital projector and money, and vandalized other stuff including the surround sound and men's room door (!).

Back to good news. Show was great; theater owners Eileen and Gordon Wollcott and daughter Raechel were in remarkable spirits considering, and the audience, like always on Vashon Island, roared with laughter from beginning to end.

And among the judges - Islanders (and new parents) Alex "Lois Griffin" Borstein and hubby Jackson "Gilmour Girls" Douglass. Yay!

The scoring was almost Biblical - the first shall be fourth and the last shall be second, or something like that.
1. Sean Kent 2. Jose Sarduy 3. Rodger Lizaola 4. Travis Simmons 5. Paul Hooper

Finals Night 1 WAC

WAC stands for Washington Athletic Club; wasn't sure how many years we've been bringing a show here, was told 9. As in nine.

About 3 years ago they built a stage set for us, looks like a brick building exterior complete with street lamps. You kinda expected Tom Waits to appear.

The blue bloods seemed surprisingly partial to somewhat bluer material. Who knew?

Anyway, the judges saw it like this: 1. Travis Simmons 2. Sean Kent 3. Paul Hooper 4. Rodger Lizaola and 5. Jose Sarduy

Sean Kent won the "WAC Choice" award. Take that as you will.

Semi-Finals Night 6 Marson's

For the second year in a row, one comic willed himself into the finals by taking first on the last night of semi-finals. This year's Lars Callieou is named Paul Hooper.

And any of the others had a shot. They had to jump up; and in fact, any two who were trailing could have made it in, assuming Rodger Lizaola had an off-night and dropped down.

But that's not how it played out. Rodger took second for the night, leaving one spot open. Derick Lengwenus had a great set, bringing out possibly the world's greatest Kevin Spacey impression, which was good enough for 5th place; Steve Monroe, in 5th overall going into the night, was only awarded 7th.

That left the door open for Hooper, whose performance was not wildly different from any of his previous shows - other than the fact the judges were in full agreement with the audience.

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For the night! L-R:  Duane Goad (host), Rodger Lizaola (2nd), Paul Hooper (1st), Travis Simmons (3rd), Jose Sarduy (4th), and Derick Lengwenus (5th) 
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The finalists:L-R:  Duane Goad (host), Travis Simmons (2nd), Jose Sarduy (1st), Sean Kent (3rd), Rodger Lizaola (4th) and Paul Hooper (5th).
Photos: Peter Greyy

Semi-Finals Night 5 Lucky Eagle Casino

The Chehalis River fortunately failed to overflow its banks, and our show at the Lucky Eagle, a perennial favorite, went on as planned. Crowd estimated at somewhere between 700 & 800.

Everybody killed it; first time this week that the comedians made some noticeable changes in their acts.

Scores were high - everybody is still in it going into the last night. Only 1.25 points separate 4th place from 10th.

Rodger Lizaola's string of not making the top 5 was broken, as he finished 5th for the night and maintained his overall 4th place. So now every one of the semifinalists has placed at least once.

Also broken was the string of comics going up first and finishing first; Andy Haynes went first, had a great set, judges had him 6th by a tenth of a point.

1. Jose Sarduy 2. Sean Kent 3. Derick Lengwenus 4. Travis Simmons 5. Rodger Lizaola

Nobody has been eliminated; tonight's 7 PM show at Marson's at Club Casino in Everett is hugely important.

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