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In the Preliminary Weeks of the Seattle International Comedy Competition, our performers are challenged by playing comedy clubs, small theaters and even a brew pub. (Yes, this year’s Preliminary Week Two DID get the chance to play the beautiful Columbia Theatre in Longview…but, by and large, the rooms are smaller and more intimate.)
In the Semi-Finals, once the first night at the Comedy Underground is over…it is all big theaters and big casino showrooms. And that’s a very different challenge to present to our performers. Who will command those big stages…who will shine in those bright lights…and who will connect with these larger audiences?
On this night, Night Two of the Semi-Finals of the 33rd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition, our ten Semi-Finalists took the stage at the beautiful Edmonds Center for the Arts to perform for over 550 enthusiastic comedy fans and to be scored by five judges.
…and, on their way out, the most overheard comment from those who watched this show was “Well, they were ALL funny…”–which would suggest a ten way tie for first place. Our judges managed to find enough areas to critique and differentiate our performers in order to avoid a ten way tie…but, by and large, they too tended to find everyone funny. Of course, some they found funnier than others…
They certainly found Joe Klocek funny. He went up last on a show that seemed to wring out every laugh that this audience had in them…and he still found major laughs. He finished the night in 6th place–just missing a podium finish–but with a solid score that will help him in the weekly standings.
They also really liked Tyrone Hawkins, who finished just behind Joe for the night.
In the Nightly Top 5 were a few familiar faces as three of our performers made their second straight Semi-Finals Nightly Top 5–including Elliot Maxx, whose act seemed tailor-made for this audience on this night. New faces included Ricarlo Flanagan, recovering from a first night stumble…and our top finisher for the night, Michael Malone. To say that Michael’s act survived the transition from intimate club settings to the big stage would be an understatement. Michael managed, with his material and his physicality, to connect with a crowd that was a little bit older and a little bit further away than most of the crowds we’ve had so far this year–and his act popped for the judges in a way that none of our other fine semi-finalists’ did.
So, here’s the official order of finish.
Semi-Finals Week-Night Two Nightly Top 5
- Michael Malone (Los Angeles, CA)
- Elliot Maxx (Ballard, WA)
- Landry (Atlanta, GA/Toronto, ON)
- Justin Leon (Kansas City, MO)
- Ricarlo Flanagan (Detroit, MI)
And, I should give a big shout out to Brad Upton–who is quite used to the big stages of our industry–who managed to entertain this crowd while we tabulated scores. Give Brad his encore point–he certainly deserved it!
Onward! Another night of the Semi-Finals…another big theater stage–we head to our State Capitol, Olympia…for a night at the impressive Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Will those who did well in Edmonds repeat their success in Olympia? Will those who didn’t make the Nightly Top 5 in Edmonds figure out what they need to do in order to connect in the bright lights and big stages we have for the rest of the week?
THURSDAY NIGHT November 15th
Semi-Finals Week-Night Three (7:30pm)
Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia
779 comedians were considered for this year’s 33rd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition. We chose 33 to participate–and boy, did they participate! Excellent work done by our entire roster this year. Unfortunately, not everyone can move on to the Semi-Finals…so 23 of our roster are now done with this year’s event.
Ten remain. The ten semi-finalists performed, as a group, for the first time on Tuesday night at the legendary Comedy Underground in Seattle’s Pioneer Square for the first of five shows in this Semi-Finals Week. Their set times have stretched from five minutes to ten minutes. They need to earn scores that put them into the Top 5 for the week in order to make it to the Finals…and possibly become this year’s champion!
An enthusiastic crowd greeted our performers (as well as our Producer, Ron Reid and our host for this week, former Seattle International Comedy Competition finalist, Drew Barth) and all of our ten performers on this show earned their “tremendously obvious encore points.” However, our panel of judges on this night felt that two performers were heads and shoulders above the others–as they basically put Landry and Solomon Georgio into a virtual tie for first place on the first night honors. (Only a half a point on one judge’s scoresheet separated them!)
The judges seemed to vary on their personal opinions on the rest of the field, with the same performers getting good from some judges and very good scores from other judges–which lead to very close scores for them all on this night. (Including a tie for 6th place with Ryan Clauson and Michael Malone.)
There are four other shows in this week–but this was the only “club” show this group of performers will have… The next two shows are in large theaters and the final two shows are in big casino showrooms. It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out from here on in…
But, on THIS night for THESE judges in THAT room…here’s who made the podium…
Semi-Finals Week-Night One Nightly Top 5
1) Landry (Atlanta, GA/Toronto, ON)
2) Solomon Georgio (Los Angeles, CA/Seattle, WA)
3) Nate Abshire (Minneapolis, MN)
4) Justin Leon (Kansas City, MO)
5) Elliot Maxx (Ballard, WA)
WEDNESDAY NIGHT November 14th
Semi-Finals Week-Night Two (7:30pm)
Edmonds Center for the Arts, Edmonds