Auburn Ave Theater

What does it mean to be "TV Clean?" That was the question on our brave competitors on this third night of Preliminary Week One of the 31st Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition--as they traveled to Auburn to perform at the Auburn Avenue Theater. Jim and the staff at the Auburn Avenue Theater run a great room--but it is a room that comes with a catch, when it comes to comedy shows. All shows must be performed as TV Clean--and the competition shows are no exception.

Casino top 5

picture: L-R: Dax Jordan (Tied for 2nd Place), Joe List (3rd Place), Virginia Jones (Tied for 4th Place), Derek Sheen (Tied for 4th Place), Eddie Pence (Tied for 2nd Place), Jan Barrett (Host), Toby Roberts (5th Place), Kortney Shane Williams (1st Place)

Used to taking full advantage of their language, topic and physicality freedoms they find elsewhere they do comedy, how would dealing with the limitations of trying to perform a competition set that would also be perfectly acceptable if it were to be broadcast on American network (not cable) television before 11pm (basically, in prime time) impact these 16 comedians? And how would the beer and wine drinking patrons of the Auburn Avenue Theater take to their efforts?

Judging by the strength of the "encore point" applause from the first performer to the last, the answer is pretty (bleep)in' well! Two of our performers, Dax Jordan and Kortney Shane Williams even managed to snag "perfect" scores from one of the judges scoring the comedians tonight.

In the end, the judges joined the crowd in enjoying this group so much...that a mere five spots in our nightly Top 5 were not enough. The scores came in and we found ourselves looking at a seven person Top 5. (And yes, technically, you'd skip over the people that are tied when compiling a list...but who are we to decide not to give Derek, Virginia and Toby their first time in the spotlight of the nightly Top 5?)

Our winner tonight also makes his debut in the Top 5--although, he did place 6th in each of the two previous nights--and that is Kortney Shane Williams, who truthfully received the loudest and longest encore point cheer of the night.

Top Five:

  1. Kortney Shane Williams (Tampa, FL)
  2. Eddie Pence (Los Angeles, CA) - tie Dax Jordan (Portland, OR) - tie
  3. Joe List (New York, NY)
  4. Virginia Jones (Portland, OR) - tie Derek Sheen (Seattle, WA) - tie
  5. Toby Roberts (Tacoma, WA)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about tonight was the fact that Auggie Smith--the odds-on favorite to win the entire competition this year--did not make the Top 5 for the night. His absence made room for some new faces to get their moment of recognition from the very appreciative Auburn crowd--although, it probably made Auggie mad enough to use some words that you can't say on TV (or in the Auburn Avenue Theater.)

Next Up: 7th Street Theatre - Hoquiam.