Comedy Underground

It is always nice to come home after being on the road for awhile. Not that we didn't enjoy our visits to Bellingham, Hoquiam, Auburn and Lakewood...but there is a comfort found in the brickwalls of the Comedy Underground in Seattle that just can't be found anywhere else. And our sixteen comics of Preliminary Week One of the 31st Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition, drained...both physically and emotionally from the pressure of performing and being judged night after night, found new energy within those walls and on that stage.

The last night of Preliminary Week One is also Industry Night. Our judges are all part of the stand-up comedy industry--a comedy record label owner, an entertainment writer who has written for Village Voice and a representative from one of the broadcast networks. There were also plenty of other industry types there--other studio reps, people representing cable television networks, and lots of comedy club/festival managers and bookers--all of them there to check out the comedians of the 31st Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition.

Comedy Underground Top 5

L-R: Eddie Pence (3rd), Dax Jordan (2nd), Jan Barrett (host), Kortney Shane Williams (4th), Mike Drucker (5th), Joe List (1st)

I'm pleased to report that everyone had solid sets in front of an eager crowd--everyone, I think, represented themselves as exactly the kind of comics that they are...which is all you can hope to do with an opportunity like this. After the judges weighed in with their scores, the week was over...and, for eleven of our intrepid participants, the competition was only five of them move on to the Semi-Finals (which begins, once again at the Comedy Underground, on November 16th.)

And despite the best efforts of all of our comedians this week, there was precious little drama surrounding who the five going to the Semi-Finals might be. Kortney Shane Williams ended his strong week with another strong performance--he'd be moving on. Eddie Pence ended his strong week with another strong performance--he'd be moving on. Joe List ended his strong with with top performance honors for the night--taking first place on Industry Night--and he'd be moving on.

Top Five:

  1. Joe List (New York, NY)
  2. Dax Jordan (Portland, OR)
  3. Eddie Pence (Los Angeles, CA)
  4. Kortney Shane Williams (Tampa, FL)
  5. Mike Drucker (Seattle, WA)

Auggie Smith had a strong week, but incurred a major time penalty by simply doing too much good material on this night. That kept him from finishing in the Top 5 for the night, but doesn't stop him from moving on to the semi-finals. His time management error gave room for Seattle's own Mike Drucker to add another Top 5 finish...but would it be enough to push him from 8th place in the standings going into the night into the Top 5?

Week One Top 5

L-R: Kortney Shane Williams (5th), Jan Barrett (host), Dax Jordan (4th), Eddie Pence (3rd), Auggie Smith (2nd), Joe List (1st)

That depended on Dax Jordan--the only performer who started the night in the Top 5 who was truly in danger of not making it to the semi-finals, due to having to take a 0.00 score when he could not perform the night the competition was in Hoquiam. If Dax slipped up, that would leave the door open for Mike Drucker. Or, perhaps Derek Sheen, who had made three top 5's himself. Or Sean Ottey, who had his best set of the week in front of the industry judges.

But Dax DIDN'T slip up. In fact, he made yet another Top 5 for the night with another strong performance. He shut the door on Mike and everyone else, as Dax walked right through that door and into the Semi-Finals himself.

Advancing to the Semi-finals:

  1. Joe List (New York, NY)
  2. Auggie Smith (Portland, OR)
  3. Eddie Pence (Los Angeles, CA)
  4. Dax Jordan (Portland, OR)
  5. Kortney Shane Williams (Tampa, FL)

Next Up: Preliminary Round Two starts at Comedy Underground - Seattle. 16 new comics compete to advance to the semi-finals.

Only five are going to make it.